December 14, 2023

The Hirewell Hot Corner: College Football Playoff / Hiring and Recruiting Selection

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Episode Highlights

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In this week’s episode Dan and Louie welcome Don Effler and Chris Lawrence to the show to discuss the upcoming College Football Playoff. Don, a fan of the Michigan Wolverines, and Chris, a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide, are set to face each other in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. The show kicks off with the guys discussing their fandom and how their teams got to the playoffs after a very tough committee decision. They then segue the CFP and Committee selection into recruiting by discussing how companies choose their hire and how sometimes the candidate with the perfect background doesn’t get selected. Insert the undefeated Florida State Seminoles, who were left out of the College Football Playoff. Chris then speaks to his role on the growth team and segues into Nick Saban’s approach to being “Elite”, and how Chris displays Hirewell’s ability to stand out amongst other agencies. Tune in for the Two Minute Drill to get the panel’s college playoff predictions!

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 Iron Man co-host, Louie Morici. We have two obvious guests today. Based on what they’re wearing, I think you’ll know what we’re going to talk about. But Louie, great to see you again.

Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today? Well, a lot of positivity in Chicago surrounding the Chicago Bears. Winning a couple in division games, Justin Fields looking great. Offense, defense kind of coming together. So despite, you know, the weeks prior, it’s not been great, but positive outlook right now. Playoff contention in the hunt, not something I thought I’d be saying anytime soon.

Somehow the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in a playoff spot. We’re going to pass on talking about them right now, because I don’t want to do it. So let’s talk college football. We’ve got the college football playoff field is now set on, albeit, a controversial selection, Sunday, recently. Joining us today from Hirewell are Don Effler and Chris Lawrence.

Welcome to the show guys. Thanks for having us. Same. As you can see, Don is a University of Michigan fan and, Chris is proudly Rolling for the Tide. So, if the two of you want to introduce yourselves, you know, who you are, what you do, and a little more about your fandom, that’d be great. I’ll go first.

My name is Don Effler. I’ve been with Hirewell for about five years. Over five years at this point, I’ve been doing technology recruitment for the last 10. I’m a director here in our technology practice and recruit for software engineers, things like that. I have been a lifelong Michigan fan.

I went to the University of Michigan, my brother went to the University of Michigan, my cousin went, my uncle went, my grandmother went, both of my grandfathers went, and my great grandfather all went there. So, always been a Michigan fan. Excited for this year’s playoff.

Wow, that’s a long lineage going to Michigan. Wow. So my name is Chris Lawrence, I’m managing director with the business. I’m on both the leadership and growth teams. And my role with the organization is working with my client base and helping them outsource recruiting solutions via our practice areas with IT, corporate functions, and go-to-market teams.

I grew up in Alabama, South Alabama – Mobile, Alabama. And, if you’re from Alabama, you’re either raised as an Alabama or Auburn fan. And, I have a picture of myself when I’m still in my crib, Alabama garbed out, Alabama cowboy hat. So I’m born and raised Alabama fan.

Oddly enough, I’ve been in Georgia since 2000. My wife, my sister in law, my sister, and brother in law, all went to Georgia. I have two kids at Georgia. And, there’s a lot of Georgia fans here. But, tried and true, I’m not going to wear Georgia shirt, hat, or anything of the like. I’m really looking forward to this game against Michigan. I think we’ve played five times in the past. And, I think we’re three and two against you guys and I’m excited about it.

I think it’s going to be a great football game. Awesome. As I mentioned, certainly one of the more controversial selection Sundays for the college football playoff recently. Michigan was an easy one, you know, going undefeated, defeating Ohio State, winning the big 10, going as the number one seed. Washington, also pretty easy choice.

Last two spots were a little bit up for grabs. So the two of you were in very different seats, I suppose, on that Sunday. With Alabama sneaking into the four spot, over what many considered to be a superior “resume” of Florida State going undefeated as a Power Five champion.

Yeah. And we were talking about this earlier, and, you know, I don’t really have an opinion. And I’m going to be honest with it, about the selection committee, and the selection that they made.

Very comparable in the way that recruiting goes for organizations. Whether you’re on the candidate side or the organizational side, making that hire.

Don brought up a really good point earlier about how the selection committee is just like the committee making the hiring decisions for their organization. And, you know, FSU has got a perfect stellar record, and then you’ve got Alabama. And the decision was made. The committee was asked to make that decision on who they thought would be the best performer in that top four, and oftentimes that’s what happens in recruiting.

Sure. Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. And Louie, he’s stealing your thunder, already, in his first time on the Hirewell Hot Corner, taking your segue moment. But relating this to the world of recruiting, you know, talking about the hiring process. It’s not always the best resume that gets you the job, you know, the process of the CFP committee, as well as the hiring team.

So Louie, you want to jump a little more into that. Yeah, I mean, you can evaluate based on a piece of paper, but we all know that there’s an actual recruiting process. There’s several interviews, people you meet with, and sometimes even the person on paper, they come off a certain way compared to someone who might be missing or not checking one of the boxes that needs to be.

But you go with them just based on personality, or maybe culture fit, or something along those lines. So it isn’t always the FSUs that are all guaranteed lock to get in. Granted, FSU lost their quarterback, so that may have played something into it. But, you know, there’s something to be said, who are the actual best, compared to what’s just on paper. Yeah. And as recruiters, you know, there’s lots of times when we go out and I think FSU feels this way, but we go out and we find something that checks all the boxes. Every single thing is checked.

This is the perfect resume that was described to us, and the hiring manager passes. And why? Everything is perfect here. It seems unblemished. But there is sometimes that factor that’s outside of, what’s on a resume that’s outside of that’s on a profile, that’s eking at the decision makers. And, you know, they go, this-

We know it’s good, but there’s something else here that, you know, is a little bit intangible. And, you know, exact same thing with FSU, their quarterbacks hurt.

That’s the thing. That’s the thing that makes them not quite perfect, even though on paper, they should be. I’ve made the joke that Jordan Travis should have been a Heisman finalist, if nothing else, given how important he clearly is to that team, since they didn’t make it to the CFP, but, I’ll stand on that rock myself.

Me just being a salty Notre Dame fan here, just like throwing shade at everybody else around us at the time until next season comes around. You know, but Don, you bring up a great point, as Chris mentioned, the CFP committee kind of operates like a hiring team does. You know, it is very subjective, you know, we’re humans.

It’s kind of how it works. Do you feel like they got it right? Do you feel like they got it wrong? Feels like a similar scenario with an interview process. Granted, in most interview processes, there are way fewer people involved and kind of interested in what happens in the outcome. Yeah, Chris, you know, I’d be happy to kind of respond to that.

But like, did they get it right? I don’t think so, but I’m also-

would rather play FSU. So maybe that speaks for itself, you know, so maybe that proves the point. But, you know, again, as a recruiter that’s submitted that FSU resume before and gotten rejected, I do understand. My point, you know, I’m indifferent, as an Alabama finisher.

I want my team in there, but it’s really hard to watch FSU go through what they’ve gone through. My heart’s out to them, their players, their coaches, their university. You know, and I read somewhere that they were one of the ones that didn’t want to go to the bigger Playoff Picture this year.

Right? And I’m not swinging mud. Right? But, you know, there’s repercussions for decisions that we all make. And I’m glad that Alabama’s in, I think to Don’s point, when you see the video of Michigan realizing they’re playing Alabama versus FSU, you know, whether or not there was truth in that or not, the media surely made it to sell it.

That, oh, we got Alabama, right? So I appreciate your candor, Don. I mean, Notre Dame, nowhere near the playoffs. So, my thoughts are pretty much unbiased, but. From an eye test, I would have liked to see both your teams in Georgia and then one of maybe those Washington, Texas.

I would have even considered Ohio State. Granted, no one wants to see those games again because we’ve already watched Ohio State play Michigan. We’ve already watched Alabama play Georgia. But if it is truly based on the best teams. I still think it’s probably those four, granted just my opinion as an outsider. But, you know, it goes back to why they have rankings, or why I think they need to have a very different structure.

Because if just comes down to a bunch of guys sitting around in a room deciding on the best four teams, like it should be displayed or it should be chosen based on the field. So, doing it that way where one loss doesn’t ruin a season or the value of that loss, who it was to, like, it’s not an easy task. And I’m glad I don’t have the problem or the task of making that decision or how that happens. But, outsider looking in, I don’t think they got it right. But, again, my opinion really doesn’t matter, that much.

Well, just to add a quick point there, you know, linking it back to recruiting. What we do, recruiting, is we’re all dealing with humans. And sometimes it can be messy. Sometimes it can be difficult. It’s not an equation. And it’s not finite. And it’s subjective. And I think that’s what we witnessed, and I think it’s a representation of life. And I think it’s a representation of what goes on in our industry from a recruiting perspective as well.

Yeah, I would agree with that, Chris. I’d also say, Louie, you know, that’s why they’re changing it next year, right? You know, it’s no longer going to be this. You know, and again, linking it back to recruitment, sometimes your interview process is not correct. And good people are getting screened out. And, you know, I think of things like sometimes technical tests, like, you’re knocking out people for the wrong reasons in the wrong situation. Or, you know, you have to be able to adjust. Obviously, we wish the, you know, the CFP would adjusted quicker, but at the end of the day, they are adjusting. And, you know, organizations as well need to adjust their interview practices when they’re not working out either.

Yeah. Just a year too late, essentially, with the current situation. But yeah, I mean, if you’re doing a technical assessment and someone who is maybe in a client facing sales role, maybe something to call an audible about your process. You know, there is ways to evaluate and as recruiters, I’m sure it’s not an easy conversation with a hiring manager of a client to have that.

It probably is looked at, like, poking holes in the process, but you know, there’s a way to do that. And again, you’re right. They are making those audibles. So kudos to them. Yeah. I appreciate both the perspectives from a more of a tech focused recruiter, as well as sales recruiter.

Chris, I want to utilize your experience while you’re here as well. You know, we’re talking about the hiring process so much, but from your side of things, we can talk about resumes of recruiting agencies. You know, seeking outside help, and you being on the growth team, you know, want to touch on that a little bit?

Well, you know, it’s kind of like, I’m a big fan of Nick Saban. So everything’s about the process, right? And wherever you are within your organization, what you’re doing, this is your process. I have a role in the business at Hirewell. Dan, you do. Don, you do. And so do you, Lou. We all have choices to make. And one of the five things that Saban says about who you can be in life is that, you know, you get to choose what you can be.

Do you want to be bad, average, good, excellent, or elite? Right? And you’ve got to be able to showcase that to potential clients and the way that you run your business and recruiting practice, et cetera. So, you know, that’s the things that I’m always trying to illustrate with perspective clients, is like, hey, we run a tight ship and you’re going to entrust in me and the organization that’s behind me.

I’m evaluating those things as well. And, we’re going to come to the table and land on exactly what we think we can accomplish together. We’re going to hold each other accountable. I’m a big component or big fan of holding clients accountable for things, right? Just as you would your candidates, your employees, et cetera.

And I think that’s the best way I’d respond to that, Dan, relating that back to kind of prospective clients in the way that you asked it. Love the way you did that. I appreciate the Nick Saban throw in there. What a dynasty he’s built down in Alabama. Gentlemen, we usually wrap up these shows, what we call, the two minute drill.

This time I want to talk about our national championship predictions. Who do you think’s going to be in it? Who do you think’s going to win? I have a feeling I know what two of you are going to say, but Don, you want to kick us off? I think it’s going to be Michigan, Washington, and it’s going to be the Big Ten moving forward, that’s the new SEC.

And the new, the playoffs will be, you know, two future Big Ten teams versus two future SEC teams. Wait, so you’re going Michigan, Washington? Michigan, Washington. Oh, I’m the exact opposite. And, I think the SEC is welcoming Texas in. And so there in itself is going to be true SEC Alabama, Texas. And I think that, I think the football community out there would really like to see that. Now, will that happen? I don’t know. I want it to. But my prediction is going to-

I’m going to to bet with my heart on this one. Cause that’s really what I want deep down.

I hate to, well, I got a side somewhere. So, I’m going Alabama. They are a well oiled machine right now. Sorry, Don. Again, Notre Dame fan here. All three, three of these four teams, have beat us pretty repeatedly in recent history. So I’m going to go Bama, Texas. And I think Bama just Roll Tides through everyone. I just- they’re too hot right now.

So it dismantled what I thought was the best team, so. Barely beat Auburn. What I want to happen is Michigan, Washington, with Washington winning the whole thing. What I think will happen is we’re barreling towards an Alabama, Texas rematch. And I think Bama is going to take it if they get to round two.

Sorry, buddy. Again, this is not personal. No, not at all. It will make my Rose Bowl experience all the more glorious when Michigan wins at the end of the day. So I welcome the adversity. The Hirewell Hot Corner will have boots on the ground live from the Rose Bowl. We’ll bring you coverage, maybe from there.

Don, Chris, thank you so much for jumping on with us. Pleasure having you on here. On behalf of Louie, Don, Chris, and myself, thank you for tuning in once again to the Hirewell Hot Corner. Please do join us again in two weeks for our next episode. And as always, stay classy, LinkedIn. Roll Tide.

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