March 14, 2024

The Hirewell Hot Corner: March Madness and The Different Levels of Recruiting Firms 


Episode Highlights

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In this episode, Dan and Louie kick things off by discussing all of the moving parts in the sports world, most recently, the NFL Free Agency. They discuss who their respective teams, Dan (Steelers) and Louie (Bears), picked/ traded in the opening days. Dan and Louie then get right to what we all expect them to go into in March, MARCH MADNESS.  March Madness is an amazing time of year when the smallest underdogs become ingrained in sports history and Power House School falls in the battle just a bit too early.  This episode is unique in that the two-minute drill is more like the 8-minute drill as the guys give their picks.  Each picked a favorite, a mid-major and a cinderella team to win the tournament.  They segue this into recruiting by comparing those 3 types of basketball programs to that of the recruiting firms and how each of those firms can be a fit for any company depending on the project.  Tune into the 37th episode to see who the guys pick as their 3 picks to win the tournament! 

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, great to see you again. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today? A lot of stuff going on.

Obviously MLB spring training, about smack dab in the middle of it. Champions League football going on literally as we record. NHL and NBA seasons are in the last quarters of their seasons. An NFL free agency kicked off this week and a lot of splashes on both our ends.

Yeah, I mean, the Steelers, made a number of moves. I feel like it’s probably the most active free agency week the Steelers have had in 20 years, maybe, you know, signing Russell Wilson for no money at all because of the Broncos, trading Diontae Johnson yesterday, going and getting Patrick Queen to anchor the defense.

A lot of changes, but I think Omar Khan is kind of going for it and going all in with these moves and I can’t say I hate it. Yeah, they’re going in the right direction. I feel bad for, you know, Kenny Pickett and the fact that, you know, it seems like Russ is going to get that starting role over him, but you know, either way, having a couple options is good for the Steelers.

And then my side on the Bears, we signed D’Andre Swift and we signed Gerald Everett, gives us a nice one, two punch at running back. And then, you know, in tandem with Cole Kmet. Everett will be good at the tight end. So, now we just got to build out or, figure out what we’re doing at quarterback and also fill out our wide receiver room.

I hope for your sake, they don’t do to Justin Fields, which just happened to Kenny Pickett. I do like Kenny. If the Steelers think they can seriously win a Superbowl or at least contend this year, I mean, Russell Wilson’s going to be more of the guy to do that. But be interesting to see what the bears continue to do.

It’ll be cool. But that’s enough talking about football. It’s March. Let’s talk about what everyone else is actually talking about sports wise in March. It’s March Madness. Yes. One of the best times of year. Sh*t, our company is doing a half day next, next week, just to, you know, get the people together, watch some basketball.

So, it should be a good time. Yeah. You know, Madness is in the air. The conference tournaments are in full swing. Already seen some crazy things happen. Few teams have already punched their tickets to the big dance. But I’ve always loved the concept of March Madness other than just the days of full on basketball.

Those are great because college basketball is a lot of fun. But the concept that in March Madness, 68 teams can walk in and realistically have an equal path to a national championship. Now, you do have your heavy favorites and you’ve got your sleepers and whatnot. But when you look at college football, you walk into a season and maybe a dozen teams, it’s a little more now with the expanded playoff, have a real shot at a national championship.

In this regard, you win your conference, you’re in. You have a full shot at the biggest tournament in college basketball. I just love that, the parity, you know, there’s so many teams involved. You got to be perfect throughout the whole process or it’s why we see a 1 verse 16 upset, you know, it’s no room for error.

Quite frankly, you got to bring your A game every single game. And it’s not just like the college football playoff right now, where it’s four teams, you get two games, different sport, you know, we can remove all the physicality of football, all that. But this tournament is as good as advertised. I mean, every missed free throw could be all the difference.

Stay on the topic of parity, because I think there are generally a few different tiers in which March Madness teams fall into. So you’ve got the favorites, you’ve got the heavy hitters, you know, the teams were always there in March, have a wild amount of success. Your Dukes, your North Carolinas, your Kentuckys, you know, one, two seeds, maybe a three seed, expected to win multiple games every year.

Then you got the mid major powerhouses, those smaller enrollment schools, but they’ve made basketball their lifeblood. Talkin like the Daytons, Butler, the Big East, Creighton, you’re going to see them every March. They’re going to make a splash in those middle tier seeds. They could make a long run at any given time.

Then you got the Cinderellas. I think everyone’s favorite part of the tournament is the Cinderella stories. They won their small conference. Should they be playing against these teams every day? Probably not, but they’re here for a reason. And lately we’ve been seeing a lot more victories in March from these teams.

You know, you got Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Peter’s, Oral Roberts, the list gets longer every year because of how well these teams are performing, when it matters most. No one remembers everything but you remember those upset wins, those Cinderella teams, like, that’s how we tie it from year to year. Oh, what happened last year?

Oh, we saw this team, Cinderella story, you know? Oh, it was 2016. We saw, Farleigh Dickinson said, or we were talking about VCU the one year with Shaka Smart before he went to Texas. Like, you remember those Cinderella games, those big wins and what what even comes of that? They become household names.

It’s crazy how there’s that impact from just one win, maybe two or just going on a run at the least expected time. And typically we do our two minute drills at the end where we make our picks for our favorite thing of what we’re looking at. Since there’s such a focus in this tournament specifically about building the bracket and making your picks, you know, we already got to move it up.

What I want to do is I want to take, I guess each of those different areas, those three major areas you see teams from, I want to know your favorites of each. So favorite big heavy hitter, favorite, you know, mid-major powerhouse, favorite Cinderella story, Louie. By all means. And not that everyone knows this, but I’m a big North Carolina fan.

So that’s going to be my favorite, my heavy hitter. They’re playing great basketball, beat Duke the other day. They got some guys that this is their last kick at the can. Little extra, you know, ammo for the arsenal. So hoping that’s, you know, what we see, want to see them go all the way.

Mid-major powerhouse, St. Mary’s, California. They’ve made their name relatively recently in the last few years, being a solid team that goes three, four, potentially longer than that, as far as into the tournament. Cinderella, Morehead state, just gut instinct, really nothing behind it, but you got to pick one.

And usually it’s the luck of the draw anyway. So see how that goes. There you go. As far as favorites go, I, you know, I don’t know if they’re, they should be considered a powerhouse heavy hitter these days, but I feel like they’re maybe a little newer to that is, Houston, the Cougars. They’re going to be a one seed this year.

And they’ve been top two or three seeds the last couple of years in the tournament. They just feel so consistent and they’re always so good, especially in the basketball world. And they, I know they were good a while back and they’re good again. So I’m putting them in that bracket. Mid major powerhouse, and I know we’re going to get a lot of love for this one, at Hirewell, but I’m rolling with the Dayton Flyers, man. I’ve been a couple of games this year being over here in Ohio. Dayton feels like a good lock for the tournament. Should make some noise in the A-10 tournament. They got a lot of good shooters.

They got some impressive guys on that court. Hopefully they can tie it together and maintain some long runs. Cinderella wise, I always got to go for like the deep underdogs. And I’m staying in the Horizon League where my Robert Morris Colonials are. I’m going to roll with the Horizon League champions, Oakland University.

Most people don’t know who they are. They’re going to probably walk in as a 15 or 16 seed. But they got one hell of a coach. And a crazy fan base. Have you seen the videos online of the students actually getting tattooed during a free throw? That’s them. I hadn’t, until you said the tattoo. I did see the tattoo.

I didn’t recall which school that was tied to. Oh man. By all means what’s March Madness without a little tattoo in the crowd, I got to go in on them, like to even have to have a chance in the first round, regardless of who they’re playing, you bring that energy and that level of coaching, like something’s going to go your way, but. Something. Louie, how are we going to relate this to recruiting?

We’re already real into this. So yeah, we got creative for sure. And, you know, we’re talking about kind of these three different, not going to say levels as far as- I guess you could say levels, but in this case, we’re kind of talking more to size. You know, you got your big box recruiting firms, you know, national brands well recognized thousands of employees.

You got your kind of your mid majors. Your specialized, but not low as far as boutique size. You know, your 100 recruiters. Your Hirewells of the world. And then you have those boutiques that are maybe just a consultant, maybe a couple of folks specialize in a specific area, and how they all do have their benefits and whatnot.

Obviously, shameless plug. We’re going to say the mid major Hirewells of the world are the best of both worlds. But, you know, we got a good experience level where we can go far in any metaphorical tournament. You can certainly talk to each of these the same way we kind of covered those last tiers is you got the big box areas and they have just the manpower of a thousand plus, you know, everyone knows them because they’ve been around.

They’re so large that they’re like Walmart. They’re everywhere. You got the mid major powerhouses, you know, the Hirewells of the world you’re talking in the 80 to 200 employee range, you know, we have people who are experts in all different areas, can do it all pretty well But we also have that level of personalization for being on the smaller side that we still relate to our clients. We maintain personal relationships kind of what our goal is, a lot of times that those boutique ones tend to highlight. And then you got the boutiques.

Sometimes it is one person, it could be someone who’s been in the recruiting space for a long time. Maybe they worked 20, 30 years in a specific company, a specific industry, and now they’ve kind of gone off and done their own consulting world in terms of that side of the space. Could be a family owned business, could just be very specific in terms of where they like to recruit out of.

And you don’t need a large operation, but they kind of, they sit in that area and they do that extremely well. Talk like the smallest teams in March Madness. Sometimes you get the ones who are the best three point shooters. It’s just like that. They do this thing very well. And if you let them do it, they’re going to kill it.

Three points a shot you know, it’s definitely, it’s indicative of the opportunity at hand. I think there’s a need, you know, if you need a hundred people staffed up for a specific type project. Yeah, those big box ones are the ones that have the most manpower to dedicate to a project of that sort.

Now, if it’s a one, two hire, or, you know, a couple of hires across multiple different parts of a business, whether it’s like a marketing role and then a tech role and internal contract or tech role. Like, you know, there’s ways to work with companies like a Hirewell, who have the specialty in different areas, and have experts in each of them.

And then, you know, if you’re a finance company and you want someone who solely does finance, that’s all you hire for. And this person is, you know, a boutique by themselves, consultant who’s done finance recruiting for so long, you know, it makes sense. You know, there is that fit in each of these different levels fit for different initiatives. I think this is all kind of a well rounded approach to saying that all of these different companies, when given an opportunity in front of company X to be a recruiting partner.

We all, in theory, have the same opportunity in the same chance of earning that business, just like anyone in the NCAA tournament has a chance of winning the tournament. But, we still have our strong suits that we play into. Some have pros, some have cons of the work they do. And I think we’re hitting that we like the mid-majors.

We like the powerhouses not just because we are, but we have the ability to scale up. We have 100 recruiters at our disposal and staff an entire company. But we also have the ability to work 1 on 1 with companies who are looking to kind of grow slowly or build out of a specific region because we are small, but mighty, and we are geographically agnostic, you know, we’re based in Chicago, but I’m in Cincinnati.

We have recruiters in Denver. We have a recruiter in Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Florida, we’re all over the place, and it gives us the opportunity to kind of be localized experts as well as industry experts of specific things. My background is in healthcare insurance and a little bit in tech. Your background is in sales. We are divide and conquer type mentality and we do it pretty well.

Absolutely. And when it comes to Hirewell, obviously again, we do have a bit of a bias, but, you know, it’s one of those aspects that we can provide a very relationship focused approach to this. It’s not transactional where it’s like can’t do anything for me now, let me know when you can.

We want to continue to foster these relationships with our clients for the long term, and build out these almost custom solutions to meet their hiring goals, whether it is that one role. Or it’s a role every quarter for the next four years or whatever it is like we have the ability to adapt.

It’s not all templated. It’s not layers and layers of red tape. You know, we want to make sure we’re providing the best possible experience when it comes to hiring and letting us do as much of the heavy lifting as you’re willing to. I think it’s a really good way to summarize it a little bit, and we’re going to have to wrap up this six or seven minute sales pitch with, you know, it’s all about the people.

It’s about customizing our solution to each of our clients. It’s not kind of a one fit type thing. And just talk to us. You might not have a need now. You have a need later. I’m all about the people. You’re all about the people. It’s all about the people, what comes down to, but, call us Goldilocks.

We’re just right. Sitting in the middle, so. On behalf of Louie and myself, thank you once again for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner. Please do join us again in two weeks for our next episode. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn.

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