It is transfer deadline day in the world of football. It means that – for 24 hours – recruitment becomes the most talked-about topic for millions of people. With our industry basking in this (incredibly fleeting) Cool Factor, we wanted to find the top lessons that consultants can take away from the madness that is #DeadlineDay. Here’s what we found.
1. Address your weaknesses
A good hire is one that improves your operation in some tangible way. But the best hires are the ones that solve an existing flaw or weakness in your operation, rather than boost what you’re already good at.
Football fans, like expert recruiters, understand this on an instinctive level. When Arsenal club manager Arsene Wenger held onto cash reserves for consecutive seasons rather than improve the team’s killer instinct, fans became frustrated. A prolonged campaign to remove Wenger from his role ended with the manager departing in 2018 – a year before the end of his contract.
2. Use recruitment software
Did you really think that recruitment software was only relevant in the corporate world?
Think again. Sports analytics programs are already big business: everywhere from the EPL to the NFL. And the industry is going to grow in the years to come.
The power of Big Data informs the hiring decisions of HR departments across every industry.
Perhaps your client wants a winger with a knack for supplying goal assists using their left boot in the 89th minute. Or maybe they are just looking for a UX developer with flawless public speaking skills. Either way, the process of spotting unique combinations of talents is the same.
A semantic search provides recruiters with unmatched scope for specifying combinations of attributes, and narrowing a field of possible candidates down to a single ideal match.
If you are trying to scout talent – either on the pitch or in the boardroom – then you are no longer competing among the top flight of recruiters if you don’t have recruitment software working for you.
3: Screen your candidates
The best placements create a cultural match. This is true for any business. But you can never ensure a correct fit without proper candidate screening.
Peace of mind in the workplace is directly linked to performance. And even a highly talented prospect may misfire if they cannot get comfortable in their new workplace. When Andy Carroll arrived in Liverpool from Newcastle in 2011 (for £35mn) he failed to make an impact. A combination of health and personal issues stopped the forward from performing to the best of his abilities. But how much of the difficulty was home-sickness? Born by the Tyne, and Newcastle’s youngest ever goalscorer, there was a suspicion that Carroll may have never wished to have left his boyhood club.
But there may be a happy ending on the horizon. Carroll has been linked with a return to the Magpies in the 2019 window.
4. Offer the right incentives
Back in 2009, Arsenal almost missed out on Russian international star Andrey Arshavin, due to a pay dispute.
The north London club – which had offered a record fee of £15 million – failed to complete the transfer within the allotted time.
In the end, the transfer was completed to everyone’s satisfaction – albeit 24 hours after the official deadline had expired. It was therefore up to league officials to rule on the validity of the hire.
The lesson here? It highlights the importance of knowing what a prospect is worth – and what a business is willing to offer for top talent.
5. If you think you will forget the paperwork, set a reminder
Back in 2015, Spanish giants Real Madrid attempted to sign goalkeeper David de Gea from Manchester United. But the calamity of late faxes and lost paperwork reads more like a Carry On film than a contract negotiation.
An agreed player exchange (that would see Madrid keeper Keylor Navas heading to Old Trafford), collapsed seconds after the deadline.
The reason? The Premier League club had neglected to return signed documents in time. As the transfer deadline expired, both players remained trapped in contractual limbo. A lot of fingerpointing and blaming took place, with the Spanish club releasing their own diary of the day’s events
“Manchester United put the data regarding the David De Gea transfer into the TMS but not that of Keylor Navas at 00:00 Spanish time, while remitting to Real Madrid the signed transfer contracts at the same time. Real Madrid received that complete documentation at 00:02 and tried to access TMS but it was already shut down.”
It meant that a multimillion pound hire fell through because the paperwork was sent merely a few seconds too late. The lesson for recruiters here? If you have an important task, and you think you might forget, set a reminder for yourself!