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What Small Business Can Learn from the NFL Draft

Written By: Mark E. Goodman | No Comments

the right candidateThe NFL draft was in Chicago this past weekend. Commentators were rife with analyses of draft selections. Players were being compared with past choices and team needs.

Every team asks four questions when choosing a draftee:

  • What does the team need?
  • Does this person have the capabilities to do the job?
  • What is their character, will they fit into my environment?
  • What is the long-term potential?

General managers get judged on how many of picks are still on the team 3, 5 – even 8 years after the draft.

So, what can you as a small business owner learn from the draft?

Have the right job description.

First, from a hiring perspective, what do you need? Be honest with yourself and match the requirements with the needs. Look at job descriptions that are posted online. With so much match making being done virtually, the first pass at possible candidates will be sorted online.

Be careful about obtuse descriptions like “social media guru” or “customer evangelist.” They may sound intriguing, but the search engines don’t know what to do with them.

The job description also will outline what capabilities you are looking for. It should align with the salary that you are willing to pay.

Be careful about loading up the description with a long list of your “wants” with the idea that if you could find someone who could do half of them at the price, it would be great.

Determine the right fit.

If you have a position where you feel that someone can be tested, take advantage of those services. Companies such as Aurico offer testing in addition to background checks.

How do you judge character? What are your criteria to see if someone will fit in your environment? These are difficult questions.

First, look at your current staff. What are the behaviors that you prize? Examine especially people who you feel are high performers. Consider having your final choices interviewed by the people that they will be working with.

A good second opinion can come from the person you have tasked with training the candidate.

And you may want to tell the interviewee that you will have a background check done to give them an opportunity to adjust anything on their resume.

Evaluate the long-term potential.

What about long-term potential? Look at your high performers again. What is it in their backgrounds that has enabled them to be successful?  This could include degrees and academic performance, but don’t forget soft skills such as going the extra yard or being a great team player.

Take the time to find the right person with the right skills and personality traits. That way, both your company and your new employee will be happy with the decision.

Every manager has had successful hires – and an “oops” or two. What stories can you share? 

Article written by
Mark Goodman is the President & CEO of e-Conversation Solutions. He is also past workshop chair at SCORE Chicago. Prior to founding e-Conversation, Mark held numerous positions as a technology executive, including Director of Business Development at Motorola, where he was the first business manager in the cell phone group. In addition to Motorola, Mark was an executive for a Silicon Valley company and a film buyer for General Cinema Theatres. Mark holds an MBA from Boston University and an MA in radio/TV/film from Northwestern University.