March 7, 2024

The Hirewell Hot Corner: NFL Combine/ Spring Training and In-Person Networking Events


Episode Highlights

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In this episode, Dan and Louie kick the show off by talking about the NFL Combine and MLB Spring Training being in full swing. No, this is not a shameless plug for Season 2 of Full Swing on Netflix. The NFL Combine had us see the fastest 40-yard dash in recorded history by Xavier Worthy and key players like Caleb Williams and Michael Penix opt out of the big event. Spring Training has the guys excited about their upcoming baseball seasons as the Pirates 9Dan) and Louie (Cubs) discuss some of the potential in the farm systems of their respective ball clubs. The guys segue this into recruiting by discussing how Spring Training and the NFL Combine are ways to show off your skills in person and how networking events can do just that, and create new relationships in the recruiting space.  Networking events were eliminated by COVID, but now that that is in the rearview mirror, Hirewell is making a huge push for its team members to attend and host events.  Dan and Louie discuss some of the recent events they have attended and how they create opportunities for candidates and recruiters alike.  They finish off, like always, with the 2-minute drill, discussing their most exciting players to watch for in Spring Training and NFL Combine and what networking events they plan on attending soon.  Tune in to see what the guys are looking forward to.

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. After a little hiatus, we’re back on it. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today?

Lots on the horizon. A couple days until the NHL trade deadline, even though today has felt like the deadline with a bunch of moves. Spring training up and running, NFL combine, and then week out, we’re going to be going into March Madness. A lot of sports happening right now. The NHL has not had my attention recently, I will say. Shocking. Although Sidney Crosby is angels wonder over there, still doing his thing, but I have been paying a lot more attention to MLB spring training, very excited for baseball to be back. And the NFL combine. The NFL combine is such a cool opportunity. And so is spring training for, you know, this one’s for draft stocks to rise and fall.

And spring training is for these guys to, they’re already in there, but show kind of what they got. Some cool stuff that came out of the combine, I mean, Xavier Worthy, all time, 40 time, best one we’ve seen in the combine. Absolutely insane. And on the opposite side of that, some key guys not really showing out.

We didn’t see Caleb Williams throw a football. We didn’t see Michael Penix out there waiting for his pro day. I always wonder about stuff like that. Yeah, it’s weird. I mean, you would think, you know, you’d want to kind of display yourself, see any growth you’ve had in the last couple months since, you know, your seasons ended.

On the flip side, you know, there’s enough game tape of these guys to go off that, and they wouldn’t want to, one day, to hurt what they’ve built for their entire careers up until this point. So, I get both sides of it. We’re just not going to talk about Caleb Williams. We can just keep that to the side. You’re not concerned about your future star.

Okay, got it. We’ll move forward. But onto the spring training side, those guys are already in the door. This is a lot of opportunity for guys who’ve been playing a lot of rookie ball. Potentially some new guys. getting in and getting their first taste of major league action. I think it’s always exciting for the Pirates.

The Pirates seem to perform better in spring training than they do in the regular season, but this year especially they have one of their highest ranked farm teams, multiple top picks, a lot on the line for them going into the season. Yeah, I mean it’s something to be optimistic about, obviously being that the Cubs and Pirates are in the same division, you know. I mean I’m hoping that the Pirates aren’t good, but it’s hard to, you know, not listen to what the scouts are saying. They got a great farm system. I think cubs are- have a good farm system. I don’t know if we’re going to see as many pieces, this year, in the lineup.

I think bottom couple roster spots are where they’re really going to have some of those newer talents, but, you know, it’s a good chance to showcase, take some spots from people, earn, you know, maybe double A over triple A or vice versa. It’s the reason they have it, to shake things out. Yeah, for sure. You know, these opportunities for these guys to kind of show out, whether they’re on the team already or looking to make a team through the draft, feels like an easy one for us to segue to recruiting with you and I’s background, but I’ll let you take it from there. Yeah, so way to segue this in recruiting is just more in person events, whether it’s with your team. More specifically, what we talk about today is, you know, networking events. We saw COVID shut them down. Stopped them in their tracks, just because, you know, the world shut down, essentially. Now we’re really making a push to bring them back as I know a lot of other companies, organizations, industries are. And it’s about how you can be effective. And let’s face it, business tends to go a little bit smoother, create better relationships when they have that in person portion.

Totally agree with you. We’re seeing the move back from fully remote to in office hybrid setups from a lot of companies. Some people are happy about them. Some people aren’t, but I think the trend of going back to more in person networking events, opportunities to connect, maybe outside of work, those have come back in full force and those come very positively, you know, some people don’t want to go into the office two days a week, but they can go to a happy hour with people and a young professionals group, or meet up with your team after work and just kind of blow off a little steam.

Those are coming back in full force, and people are very excited about them. Absolutely, and I think it’s just really rejuvenating. You know, I know we did, I think it was either maybe late November, we had our all company kind of get together team building event, and I left there, like, wanting to be in person a little bit more, and not only just with our team, but again, meeting with clients.

Recently joined the mentor program, and that’s one thing my mentor and I are working on is really how we can develop bigger and better relationships with clients. And those in person showings, they tend to show that

that’s the way to do it. I get a lot out of the in person events we do in Chicago all the time, especially not being in Chicago, any opportunity to connect in person with our teams with our organization is always something I find very exciting for me, hence why I think I do a lot more networking over here in Cincinnati is because I don’t have that opportunity to be in an office setting all the time.

So I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with clients, prospective clients, networking groups. Really any opportunity to get in front of people who share similar mindsets, work in similar fields, or just all have a shared idea that concept they want to go meet other people. I try to find myself in a lot of those.

Absolutely, like, for our go-to-market team, I know that we put together an event a couple weeks ago in the start of February sales contacts, marketing contacts in the Chicago area. Just kind of a get together. You know, we’re doing a little bit of a shake up internally, kind of rebranding and repositioning what our teams look like.

What better way to take that to market than actually take it to market, like, you know, talk with people, just get familiarity. You know, this is what we’re up to lately. What are you up to? And, you know, not only that and creating relationships, but learning, you know, you learn a lot for people who have been in this industry for a long time outside of just the folks in your company.

It’s good to see different perspectives from people from different industries and whatnot. And on my end, when I moved to Cincinnati and started working for Hirewell, one of the things I said, well, this is a new network for me personally, a whole new world to get involved with. And not only was Hirewell understanding and accommodating to that and saying, go out there, build out your network.

I think there’s been a renewed sense of commitment to the Cincinnati market now. We’re big in Chicago. It’s our bread and butter. It’s our home. It’s what we do. And we’ve expanded out nationally in a few different regions. I’ve really felt this renewed commitment to the Midwest and to Cincinnati through our leadership, through programming we’re doing, and just building out a client base here, which has been so cool to see.

Yeah, like, we really have obviously again, you mentioned Chicago is kind of our hub. It’s where we started, but seeing you in Cincinnati, Phil Muldoon down in Atlanta. Then we got, you know, the, collective search and rainmakers a lot of it based out of California. These areas that we’re making huge strides in and not going to say we’re setting up satellite offices, but essentially just building out our repertoire, building out a Rolodex in those areas and word travels around those areas pretty quickly.

It’s no joke that, I know we already touched on it, that people prefer meeting in person. It’s somewhat easier to do business in person. Let’s look at it from the candidate side, like we always do. Outside of the camaraderie, and maybe a drink or two, what’s the sell to get people who are maybe looking for new work to get to these events and go network themselves in person?

More options. I will say a lot of times you can gauge someone a little bit better in person, get their personality, understand what motivates them, see their drive through facial expression, just how they present themselves. There’s a lot more that you can do to sell yourself in person than through a video or through a phone call.

So, going out, shaking hands, having a drink, meeting people in your field, opens more doors, creates better relationships and provides more opportunities. All 3 things that are very positive. Just don’t drink too much. No, absolutely. No question there. And often times you hear people say, it’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.

What better way to find more people to know than through those networking events. And I know we touch on it a lot, that we try to paint the picture of our candidates beyond what’s just on a resume. What better way to do that than to put a face to a name and be able to speak to your experience in a very informal casual setting.

It’s those types of very intimate conversations that really give you an idea of what the person is like and what they’re looking for and what they might be like to work with. Yeah, I mean, guards kind of down if it’s not in a strict, zoom, like suit and tie, just looking at a screen and trying to think of what they’re going to ask you next.

It can be a lot more casual, free flowing type of conversation and you do get to see a person, you know, more of their true colors because yeah, let’s face it, a resume is only going to tell you so much. A lot of the times we’re starting to see the in person portion of interviews be based on culture fit.

So this is a great way to show how you’re a team player, how you’d interact. Pick up on social cues. Are you going to be comfortable with the people you work with? So again, just benefiting you and your ability to open opportunities and doors. For sure. And from a company standpoint, especially those who talk about, you know, preaching a good culture fit and talk about wanting to pull the best talent out of their local community.

Networking events are a great opportunity for you, if you’re looking to expand your business, or if you’re looking to hire people. What better way to do that than if you have someone in hand that you’ve met through one of these events, someone you’ve already built the relationship with. Maybe you don’t have something available today, but tomorrow when the time comes, I know this person. I see them in a networking event once a month.

I’ve heard great things about them. Easy, in the door for us. So from a business standpoint, you know, it’s great to be able to go market yourself if you’re really looking for a job, but, you’re always going to need people. You’re always going to need a network. And so any opportunity to do so, just regardless of the situation you’re in, worth taking, in my opinion.

You’re spot on. It never hurts to put yourself out there. You know, the more people you meet, the more people you talk to, the wider your network grows. And, you know, again, it’s just going back to, it’s only going to benefit you and provide more opportunities than if you didn’t go. I’ll jump into the two minute drill because I think it’s going to be a little bit longer than two minutes this time because I want to cover a couple things. Absolutely. First question is what are you most excited about either from the NFL combine or spring training and you know, what’s your favorite thing about networking? What’s your favorite networking event to go to in your area?

We’re covering it all today. Okay. So I’ll give you a little bit of everything. So for the MLB, Matt Shaw, listed as a short stop for the Cubs. But I think, you know, he has a shot to potentially come in and make the team as a third baseman. Granted, we have a few options, but still, you know, I think he’s one prospect I’m really looking forward to. NFL, I don’t know if this counts, but Marvin Harrison Jr. I want him to be a Bear so bad. I don’t care what his combine- I just want him to be a Bear. So that’s the only thing I care about right now. Fingers crossed Justin Fields comes back. And then lastly, favorite networking or what’s up next.

I’d love to go to more manufacturing, industrial conferences and events, whether it’s maybe a trade show, going and attending, and, you know, shaking some hands, meeting some people at different booths. Or if it’s more of a happy hour mingle in that type of industry, it’s something I’ve really tried to build out as far as my Rolodex, my client base, my relationship.

So, hoping that would be the next one on the horizon. Great stuff. Baseball wise, like I said, Pirates have a lot of top prospects in spring training right now. Henry Davis was retooling his swing over the offseason. He’s got home runs in three straight games. Termarr Johnson, the 19 year old, I showed you a video of his power.

Kid can hit a baseball. A lot of pop. A lot of pop. A lot of stuff going on in the Pirates organization. Hopefully they can translate to a couple more wins between April, October. NFL wise, you know, I’ve got to give a shout out to Sam Hartman he looked pretty good in his combine. The flow was going, he can run, he showed off pretty well.

I think he’s going to be solid in the NFL. I don’t know that he’s going to get a shot to start outright, but a team with a mid to late round pick is going to get kind of a gem of a backup. If not someone who can come into key situations and make something happen, he’s clearly well versed in playing quarterback.

He’s done it plenty of times. From a networking standpoint, kind of the opposite of what you’re looking at, there has been a renewed, maybe or a new, push in Cincinnati on AI and tech and startups. It’s been really cool to see, maybe I’m just late to the game and this has already been happening, but since the AI, met with multiple incubators, tech startups, there’s a lot happening in Cincinnati event wise, and they’re all big on networking.

So it’s been a lot of fun to get to those, a lot of fun to cultivate those relationships with startup owners, founders. Anyone in that space. So, been awesome. Love that. Hey, you’re kicking butt over there in Cincy. I know that, you know, there’s a lot of people that Dan’s meet with. So like you’re killing it in Cincy.

And I know that we’re going to see a lot of fruits of that labor very, very soon. Always nice to hear, but it means a little extra coming from you, Louie. Well, on behalf of the Louie and myself, thank you once again, for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner, please do join us again, next week for our next installment.

And as always stay classy LinkedIn.



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