fantasy sports recruitment

Guest Blog | Can Fantasy Sports Help Recruitment?

Fantasy sports: building a team of all-stars whose performance is based on their real-world achievements. It’s a fast-growing hobby for millions of players. But can it also help recruiters to unearth resourceful and self-developing candidates? Our guest blog discusses the use cases.

eBoss recently published an article about how video games can help with recruitment. The general premise was that video games possess a larger userbase than many “old school” recruiters perhaps realise. They can – at least in theory – be used to determine a candidate’s relevant skills.

There are various ways in which gamers can gain skills which translate to the jobs market; in this piece we’re asking if fantasy sports can be looked at similarly.

Fantasy Sports As Big Business

In case you didn’t know: fantasy sports are those games where players build a “dream team” of current sporting stars. The players’ real-world match performance is then used to determine the success (or otherwise…) of the fantasy sports team. Though they have been around for decades, fantasy sports have become big business thanks to the internet.

A 2018 article citing data from Nielsen Scarborough indicated that in 2017, 6.2% of the adult population played some kind of fantasy sport in the United States alone.

That number as a percentage may not jump at you, but when you consider it in the context of growth and raw data, it’s fairly extraordinary. The same study put the number of adult fantasy sports participants in the U.S. in 2012 at roughly 8.3 million. In 2015, that figure had risen to just under 12.4 million.

So, by 2017, that 6.2% of the population equates to an impressive 15.5 million. It means that the population of fantasy players nearly doubled in a five-year span. And it is not just the other side of the Atlantic that has caught the fantasy sports bug. The official EPL Fantasy Premier League boasts more than 3 million registered users. This means that there is a massive pool of fantasy sports players. Chances are, you will crossed paths with one or two of them in any recruitment process.

Fantasy Players As Analysts

To an outsider, fantasy sports may look like little more than an organised fan club. And, to some players, that’s more or less what it is. You can play fantasy for real money or for fun, simply by taking random stabs at success. You can select players that you like, or those who seem promising. It can be fun, and it’s possible to win this way. But there is more than a little luck in this betting-adjacent form of professional sports.

However, there’s another side to fantasy sports that involves advanced and detailed analysis: and not just of the games that a player watches.

American football fantasy players consume hours of podcast material each week, and subscribe to high-end statistical breakdowns from proven industry experts. Football fantasy players might tune into sites dedicated solely to scores and stats rather than just watch the matches, or, again, listen to industry experts’ detailed breakdowns of statistical trends. In America, it is the baseball fantasy players who have a reputation for being the most meticulous of all. They are known to study dense books and build their own analytical systems to better read and interpret real-life results.

In short, the serious fantasy player often becomes a self-taught statistician – with at least some perspective on analytics, in one form or another.

The Business Application

So, what to do if you discover a candidate who lists “fantasy sports” in the list of interests? While we can’t guarantee that each player will be a master tactician or a hard-nosed decision-maker, we should not be quick to dismiss hobbies like fantasy sports gaming. In many cases, a follow-up on a candidate’s interests may unearth applicable skills that are just as relevant as past work experience.

Is the candidate evidence-based and analytical? Has your fantasy coach candidate shown initiative in learning new approaches to number-crunching and statistics. Data scientists are among 2019’s most recruited roles. If you have discovered a self-taught talent, then they could be worth their weight in gold to a waiting client.

DISCLOSURE: This article is an affiliate article by Nathan Landers.