Recruitment: How Employers Can Learn from Professional Sports Teams

Seth Marsh, CUED-IN Seth Marsh, CUED-IN Oct 01, 2019

Recruitment has taken many shapes and forms over the past decade. From newspapers to TV ads, employers will try it all to get their job noticed by all. According to, some ways that recruitment has changed is job board evolution, the rise of the social, a more personable job search, and giving candidates what they want. I believe the last two reasons are really starting to be forefront to recruiting than ever before. At CUED-in, we are hyper-focused on making the job search more personable, not only for the applicant but also for the employer. 

With current low unemployment numbers and a dire need to recruit talent, CUED-IN sees that future recruitment models will be vastly different from past models. Recruiting will always start with relationship. That may be a conversation, a phone call, or even an email because the best employees come through a relationship that happens at the ground level. Engaging conversations build relationships built on trust and understanding, and it’s these conversations that are the core of successful recruiting.  However, new recruitment strategies will need to involve growing your team and setting your company up for success in the near future. We see that the future of recruiting is going to be the recruiting model that a professional sports team uses to find future talent.

You take football, soccer, baseball, or basketball and you will find that these professional sports teams start the recruitment process earlier than the general public expects. Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball”, later turned into a movie in 2011, breaks down how Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A’s from 1998-2016 saw a way to gain a competitive advantage, even on a lean budget, by using statistical data to help place value on and choose future players that would build a successful team. Unfortunately for the A’s, the recruiting team wouldn’t approve this non-traditional method, but the Boston Red Sox saw the merit in Beane’s recruiting idea and began to use Beane’s process and won the World Series in 2004. These professional teams’ recruiters are watching videos, analyzing stats, going to games, or bringing them into their lower league teams all to help their professional team grow. They are building relationships early. They know where to pull the next catcher, goalkeeper, or quarterback when their current one is struggling. They are spending large amounts of time on this, even though the general public is typically unaware. 

I am a fan of soccer and played it growing up. These professional leagues have U-12, U-14, U-16, U-18 teams (the number correlates to the age of the oldest players on the team), which help the professionals identify and build talent from an early age. Conversely, the players gain a deeper understanding of the time, energy, work, and talent needed to make it in the professional leagues. In an article entitled “How data analysis helps football (soccer) clubs make better signings”, (link) it’s all about how the data game is changing the way coaches coach and make decisions on who might be the best signing for the most reasonable cost. Maybe Billy Beane, a minority owner in Barnsley F.C soccer club, showed the coach how to use the same technique. These teams use the data points to save time and cost so that the team makes the wisest decision. 

If employers want to build their pipeline with viable talent, they no longer can rely on the generic recruiting websites that may bring in large quantities of applicants, but not quality applicants. Employers can’t rely on staffing agencies that search far and wide to help meet quota. It’s all coming down to LOCAL connections,  and CUED-In allows employers to recruit from various local organizations. Employers can catch the attention of middle schoolers interested in welding or those who enjoy construction or are fascinated by programming. They can engage a high schooler that is interested in their industry. They can help raise awareness about what other industries they have internal to their company. Adults are able to see if they are on the right track to switch careers. When employers engage and connect with students early, they have a better chance of developing talent and deepening a student’s understanding of the industry.  

To learn more about how we can help you recruit like a professional sports team, please contact us at