The Competitive Edge

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There are many life lessons that sports have taught me over the years; how to win, how to lose, how to work within a group and most importantly, how to compete. Nobody goes into a situation or a game without preparing, scouting, doing their homework, and understanding all the players involved. This approach and attitude in the sports world also carries over to the corporate recruiting environment.

The time has come for a high-level consulting role that not only requires traditional recruiting know-how but also a tremendous amount of soft skills and polish. For instance, if I’m preparing to work on a deal I have a checklist:

1) Do my research: know the background of the company and other players involved

2) Know all the required and “nice to have” skill sets they are looking for

3) Understanding the corporate politics, the interview style and approach of every team member that has been put on the list

4) Be clear about the manager’s budget and the point at which his boss starts throwing the heat at him if we do not have a person in place

5) Learn the candidates wants and needs and prepare them for the interview accordingly

At this point, I know that I have done everything in my power to try to close the deal with both parties involved. I have negotiated rates and understand what each candidate’s interest are (money, opportunity, interest). I have prepped each person, giving them the confidence of a superstar so they can put their best foot forward.You see the best candidate does not always win; it is the person that interviews the best.

As you do your final trial run with each candidate, feel good about the process that you have followed. Even if the deal falls through, you’ve gained the confidence and mutual respect of the candidate and the manager because you came in prepared and ready to win.

“To be a successful coach you should be and look prepared. You must be a man of integrity. Never break your word. Don’t have two sets of standards. Remember you don’t handle players–you handle pets. You deal with players. Stand up for your players. Show them you care–on and off the court. Very important–it’s not ‘how’ or ‘what’ you say but what they absorb.”

—Red Auerbach

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