January 4, 2024

The Hirewell Hot Corner: 2023 Recap: Sports and Recruiting

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Episode Highlights

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 In this week’s episode Dan and Louie recap the roller coaster that was 2023.  They start by talking about the College Football Playoff games from this past weekend, leading into the NFL playoff scenario that will shake out this upcoming weekend. Dan’s Steelers miraculously still have a chance to make the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl, while Louie’s Bears hope to play spoiler and ruin the Packers chance at the playoffs. The guys segue into recruiting by recapping the things they learned in 2023 and how to utilize that in 2024, which is looking to be a huge bounce-back year for the market. They also stem back to their fantasy football sleeper predictions and how those panned out from the start of the year.  The two-minute drill has them talk about their 2024 goals so tune in to learn what they have in store for the New Year.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner, where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host, Dan Spittel, joined, as always, by my Ironman co host, Louie Morici. Louie, happy 2024. Great to see you again. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today? Lot going on. Well, first off, Happy New Year, 2024, ready to rock.

As far as sports go, you know, we had the college football playoff, first two games, and they were very exciting. You know, we saw Michigan defeat Alabama. We saw Washington beat Texas. Headed to the national championship. We had lots going on with NFL. NHL is up and running, so it’s been a great time to be a sports fan.

We are off and running for 2024. Both games of the CFP semi finals came down to the wire. Washington got a little too close for comfort and the other one went to an overtime game. Some would say the committee got it right. Everyone but the University of Georgia would probably agree, given how they kind of walloped a very somber FSU team, but we digress.

The national championship will happen on Monday. Personally, I’m rooting for the Huskies, but I can’t say I care that much either way. On the NFL side, we got one more week of football. A lot’s gonna happen as far as playoff picture. Technically, the Steelers can still win the Super Bowl this year with Mason Rudolph guiding the way towards a Christmas, New Year’s, whatever miracle to the playoffs.

It’s 2024 and Joe Flacco is going to be playing in the playoffs for the Cleveland Browns. Very interesting storyline that’s happening in the NFL. I mean, I can say those first two Steelers potentially still going to the Super Bowl, odds are not great. And Joe Flacco being in the playoff for the Browns, like we’re not in our bingo cards, that’s for sure.

Something a little bit more likely is the Bears missing the playoffs. But in the final week of the season, we get to play the Packers and maybe play spoiler to them not getting in. Again. So I know that Aaron Rodgers came out and said, you know, this is our Super Bowl. Well, it’s not wrong. This is our Super Bowl.

Beating the Packers and doing it so they don’t make the playoffs, as big a game as I can remember for the Bears. Not to mention you can do so without jeopardizing your number one pick in the next draft. Absolutely. We got that locked and loaded. Sounds like a win-win for Bears fans.

Consolation prize, if you will. Absolutely. I mean, we got nothing but potential. You saw what our GM, Ryan Poles, did with the number one pick last year, turned it into D.J. Moore, Darnell Wright, and a few more picks. We can do it all again. And apparently this time it could be even better. I would say that Caleb Williams or whoever they choose at one is probably a superior quarterback to Bryce Young.

As far as a prospect standpoint, you were going through a couple of pie in the sky scenarios and what the Bears could do with that. And the sky’s the limit, I guess, right with Ryan Poles. Yeah, he’s pulled off getting us D.J. Moore and this year’s number one pick. In addition to the last year, a top, I think 7 or 12 pick.

I don’t remember what Darnell Wright ended up being. But, the fact that this quarterback field with Drake Maye and with Caleb Williams is looked at as, I guess, higher end at the top of the draft compared to last year should make for some fireworks. Like I’m talking, getting the first round this year, our first round next year.

And I threw out the hypothetical, send it to the Raiders in Vegas. Get us their one pick. Get us Maxx Crosby and get us Davantae. And that’s just a pipe dream, but crazier things could happen. That would be absolutely wild. Among the quarterback prospects that you did not name are the Heisman winner, Jayden Daniels.

Michael Penix Jr., who’s going to be playing for the National Championship Monday. I believe J.J McCarthy is also in this draft class, from Michigan. And Bo Nix from Oregon. We’ve got a stacked quarterback class. I think that plays in pretty well to what we want to talk about. Let’s do a 2023 recap now that we’re into the New Year, and all things sports and recruiting, both sides.

Well, we made it first and foremost. It was a very down year in recruiting for the most part. I think quarter four, we actually saw a huge ramp up, which was a nice little way to boost some numbers. A little bit, I’m not going to say easier, but in a different pattern than they were the first three quarters.

So, you know, what did we learn? You know, we learned that a lot of it’s not in our control. The market dictates a lot, first and foremost. You know, we saw a lot of companies not going to say being frugal, but could not afford to make a bad hire. We were, you know, months out of covid. Budgets were still pretty tight. And investing in someone that they’re not 100% sure on, was not something they were willing to take the risk on where maybe they would be before. They needed a 100%, you know, home run hitter if you will.

So, yeah, I mean, that was one thing that I think we learned from 2023 is, you know, do your due diligence, when it comes to talking with clients, do more discovery.

Are they serious? Because one thing you can’t waste, is time. That’s our limited resources, our time and our energy and, you know, want to make sure we’re putting it towards clients that are serious about moving forward. I think that was a general theme that I think we had a lot more conversations that led to less business than we’re used to, especially given how the market was in 2022.

I do think that will extend back to 2024 as we continue to see the market ramp up again. So far, even in the first couple of days had a lot higher hit rate, if you will, as far as the conversations I’ve had with prospective clients, it’ll come around. And I think that leads into what do we learn from 2023?

We learned to be resilient. There was a lot of not happenings, happening. We learned to be a little more creative. I would say that the market shifted a bit. We, as a company, had to shift. I know we talked about this in a previous episode, talked about, you know, the changes organizational standpoint that we did in order to stay on top of the market, in order to stay competitive. Just within my own world, you know, the change from the on-demand world into more of a tech and more of a growth focus, changes in leadership, changes in structure, changes in the roles we were seeing. Among some of the clients I’ve worked with and the positions I filled in 2023, we’ve got, let’s see, administrative coordinator for a plumbing company, we’ve got client liasons specialists for an insurance company, we’ve got a credit underwriter. Things I wouldn’t associate with the roles that I had been working on to start 2023, mainly working in the tech world. So, different for sure. I mean, what we were doing in January 1st of 2023 and what we’re now doing on January 1st, 2024, hypothetically.

We’ve learned to be resilient, but adaptive as well. And taking more on taking new responsibilities, going to uncharted waters with our careers and our abilities. And I think it’s made us grow, and as recruiters and our profession, to be more versatile and be harder to replace. Quite frankly, I mean, ultimately, that’s what we’re doing.

We want to make sure that there’s that job security and being a yes person where, you know, you’re willing to take on things that you didn’t before and excel. It goes a long way. And it usually gets rewarded. So we’re hoping to reap a lot of that reward in 2024. And I think, that’s one thing to take in, you know, the work ethic in order to produce in 2023 was pretty astronomical. You know, it was a lot of work for not as much reward as we’re used to seeing, carry that over into 2024, and you should have a monster year.

Like don’t let, you know, the lay of the land dictate how hard you work. Work as if it’s a bad market and overachieve, because I think you’ll see that payoff tenfold. We touched on it in a recent episode, that in December, there’s this lull, despite the fact that a number of our clients and potential clients said they were looking to hire, and they kind of pushed it off to the New Year.

It’s going to happen, January, February, it’s going to be busy. And, I completely agree that work ethic, the continued focus, you know, approach to how you handle your day, it’s going to be a big part of it. You know, resiliency and being willing to take on additional things, let’s just touch on that from a sports standpoint again.

Look at the Heisman race this year. Look at the top finalists, we’ve got Michael Penix Jr., who battled through injuries, transferred to Washington. Bo Nix transferred to Oregon. Jayden Daniels transferred to LSU. Something happened in their situations where they were, and it wasn’t the original path they thought they’d be on.

But look at them now. They’re all first round prospects going to the NFL. They’re all Heisman finalists. If that’s not a testament to being willing to go somewhere else, do something else, and make it work for yourself, I don’t know what is. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, sometimes you kind of have to be a chameleon and adapt to a culture.

And again, it’s not always the path that you thought, but, or the path most taken or whatever that phrase is, but, you know, everyone’s situation is different. But being able to adapt, and kind of show your worth and create a need for your services and your abilities, and your ability to be a team player, I think that speaks to both recruiting and very much to football. And be an All Star at it and be a top performer.

So, you know, I think that’s definitely a way to attack 2024. And, you know, I think it’s funny, we actually, before this, we started looking at our predictions for this year or for the football year of 2023 with our fantasy. And how did that shake out for us? I would say, a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

I think I nailed it right on the head when I said that Aiden O’Connell would in fact get to start for the Raiders at some point. I did think he would have the chance to jump over Jimmy G and he has successfully done that. Now, the rest of the things I said, maybe not as strong. I said that Deuce Vaughn would kind of jump into that Tony Pollard role for the Cowboys and he has been largely irrelevant, but so has their whole run game because Dak Prescott having an MVP type season.

I think I also said that CJ Stroud would not be a very good quarterback in the NFL, and that is clearly already very wrong. So, what about you, Lou? Yeah, my prediction, I just made the one, was Dameon Pierce, the running back for the Texans, would have just a monster year. You know, their team was not very good, but we saw CJ Stroud absolutely gunsling the ball to Tank Dell. You know, we weren’t seeing that as a one two punch that would kill it. And then as soon as Dameon Pierce got hurt, Devin Singletary stepped in and was amazing. Probably from middle of the year on, Dameon Pierce was 6, 7, maybe tops 9 points a game. And that’s not cutting it when he’s supposed to be a top two running back on a fantasy team.

So, was I wrong? Yes. I’ll admit that. Talk about adapting and rolling with the punches, we see Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew, Mason Rudolph are competing for playoff spots with the Houston Texans this coming weekend. Nobody said that was going to happen in this season. Yeah, Baker Mayfield having a nice little season as well, just like guys that people have written off, you know, flashing the pan type guys that were good once, maybe had hype and went to new scenarios, and this football season has been entertaining.

Like, it’s coming down to the final week. Like, it’s a log jam at the wild card spot. Teams winning, teams losing, are going to change the landscape pretty heavily in the last week here. So, you know, it’s an exciting time to be a football fan, whether it’s the Bears who although can play spoiler and don’t have a shot at the playoffs or your team that could win their last game and make it in.

It’s just a great time to be a fan of the sport. It is a great week to be a football fan with the upcoming games. Louie, two minute drill. What are you looking forward to most in 2024? What are you taking into the New Year with you? I’m looking forward to kind of getting back on track, you know, the work to reward sort of ratio, you know, going more our way.

And in addition to that, self improvement. Just looking to, you know, make strides in my personal and in my professional career to help me become better in life and at my job. I know that’s very vague, but I think that’s the ideal goal. I love it, man. Personal self improvement is important.

It’s certainly high up on the on the list for me in 2024 as well. You know, looking career wise and let’s go pie in the sky, you’re wearing what looks like an LA Dodgers hat. Shohei Otani just got a 700 million contract. Anything is possible. We can earn it if we try hard enough and that’s what we’ll be shooting for.

We’re shooting for record numbers this year. We can’t all be Mike Lipinski, but we can certainly sure as hell try. Shout out to Lip. Shout out to Lip. Well, Louie, on behalf of you and I, it’s going to be a great year. Thank you all for tuning in to the Hirewell Hot Corner. We hope to see you again all throughout 2024 and beyond.

Please do join us again in two weeks for our next episode. And as always, stay classy, LinkedIn.

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