How to Recruit like the NFL

By Ben Utecht, Super Bowl Champion, Chief Culture Officer for Sunbelt Business Advisors

In 2021, 6.1 million viewers tuned into the NFL Draft. Why? Because with a Super Bowl win hanging in the balance, everyone knows recruiting the right players is critical to producing a winning team. Companies, corporations, schools, and non-profits also recruit, or hire, with the hope of a high-performing team.

Sadly, the statistics on recruitment and retainment of employees don’t always show the hoped-for success:

  • CareerBuilder found that 43% of hiring managers said they made a bad hire because they needed to hire someone quickly.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average cost of a bad hiring decision is at least 30 percent of the individual’s first-year expected earnings.
  • With nearly all industries struggling to fill positions and keep the people they hire, businesses are suffering through lost revenue, decreased productivity, and significant burnout for existing employees.

The “Great Resignation” has given more choices and power than ever to employees. What can be done?

Strategy #1: Attract talent by shifting to a marketing mindset

For many athletes, lucrative contracts, fame, and the appeal of competing on one of the world’s biggest stages makes working for the NFL a very exclusive and desirable job. 

Take a page from the NFL playbook by establishing yourself as a desirable employer brand. From first impression, offering a flawless candidate experience matters:

  • A strong employer brand reduces cost per hire by 50% and turnover by 28%.
  • Companies with a strong employer brand see 50% more qualified applicants and hire 1-2x faster.
  • 54% of Gen Z candidates say they won’t even submit an application if recruiting methods are outdated.
  • 72% of job seekers that had a bad experience told others about it, either online or in-person.

Strategy #2: Quickly filter candidates to put the right person in the right position 

Every moment of every day in the NFL is caught on video, analyzed, and quantified so that management can make the best hiring, development, and strategy decisions. The obvious considerations are physical attributes like size, speed, and strength, however, mental requirements like IQ, problem solving, processing speed, and even emotional qualities such as integrity, work ethic, and leadership are equally if not more important.

Every team in the NFL has a different culture, and when the leadership hires and develops to this standard, it allows a team of individuals to act on the field as though they have one unified mind. Every business is the same way!

Having a diagnostic tool, such as Behavioral Essentials, for hiring to a culture fit benchmark is essential and often overlooked in the hiring process. Not only can you identify whether an individual is the right hire for the role, but you can also discover with accuracy if their beliefs and behaviors will mesh with those of your organization. Culture is the human condition at work, so choose an objective, championship culture that uses elite tools to acquire and develop the best corporate athletes. Believe in this culture and win!

About Ben

Ben has always chased his dreams, finding his way from the river town of Hastings Minnesota to a Super Bowl championship field. After experiencing firsthand the transformative power of high performing culture under the leadership of Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, Ben went on to become a prominent corporate speaker and coach in the areas of organizational Championship Culture and Leadership.

Ben combines his unique perspective on leadership from one of the world’s biggest and most competitive stages, with his training as a Behavioral Essentials certified coach to help companies choose a high performance culture.

Ben currently serves as the Chief Culture Officer for Behavioral Essentials, True North Mergers & Acquisitions, Sunbelt Business Advisors, and Conquer Ninja Gyms.

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