May 1, 2023

NFL Draft Prep / Recruiting Process

Hosts:

Episode Highlights

Draft & Hiring Pre-Work

I
4:57

"Recruiting is Easy"

I
6:33

A Week in a Recruiter's Seat

I
7:02

Everyday Obstacles in the Recruiting World

I
8:25

Great Hiring Experiences

I
11:41

Two-Minute Drill

I
13:18

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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie discuss the upcoming NFL Draft. Both of our teams are looking to make a splash in the draft and it got us thinking about what goes into the draft. We segway the preparation and scouting teams have to do before they make their selection on draft day with recruiting and how we go about finding and sourcing for talent on behalf of our clients. Check out the two-minute drill for our bold draft day predictions.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host, Dan Spittel back in the saddle after a quick one episode hiatus joined as always by our 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?

Well first, obviously, again congrats. Glad to have you back. It was not easy taking the reins and kind of playing mediator and host, if you will. So again, happy to have you back. In my world, recruiting whirlwind as usual. In sports, baseball’s just starting up. We’re in the thick of the hockey and basketball playoffs and in the back pocket

we got the NFL draft coming up this week. NFL draft is tomorrow night. Before we get to that, you mentioned baseball. I have to mention it because I don’t get to say this often. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in the National League, while that probably won’t last, I need to say it, it needs to be on here.

I need to hold on to all hope I have. Hey, I get it. Also as an n NL Central occupant, the Cub’s not far behind, but hey, you know, put that feather in the cap. It’s been probably a long time since any Pittsburgh Pirates fans can say that. So off to a hot start. Can they maintain it?

We’ll see. They’re actually paying their players for once, which is completely unheard of in Pittsburgh. So I’m sure I could do an entire episode on that. But we’re here to talk about the NFL draft. Draft night first round is tomorrow night. We’ll have Thursday through Saturday and we’ll get to see 260 or so college athletes hear their names

called and get contracts to the NFL and it’s always an exciting time of the year. The Steelers pick 17th this year. We also have a sneaky 32 pick overall. Thanks- thanks Chicago. But the Bears traded out of the first spot and they’re drafting ninth tomorrow night. How are you feeling? As far as the draft, I like where we’re at right now.

I like what our return was for the first overall pick, getting a number one ride receiver and DJ Moore. Adding a couple more picks. I think we’re not in the market for a quarterback. We have ours. I don’t care what anyone says, Justin Fields is our guy. And now it’s about surrounding him with weapons from the wide receiver position.

We added Tonyan in the tight end position, so him and Kmet. Now I think with that ninth, either we’re going to trade it back a few more spots maybe or we’re going to lock in someone on the O line or the D-line. Th those are our two biggest holes, I think right now, after what we’ve already done. So I’m excited.

I believe fully in Pole as our GM. He’s done nothing, but it feels like he listens to us as fans and what we see on a weekly basis because we live and die by this. And it seems like- it makes sense what he’s doing. And as a Bears fan, a lot of things haven’t in our last 15, 20 years.

Yeah, I feel that. You say he listens to the fans. I think the fan pick for Pittsburgh last year was Kenny Pickett. He matured nicely over the first season. There’s high hopes for him in Pittsburgh to continue that upward trajectory. And I think the Steelers kind of outperformed what everyone thought was going to happen to them last year.

So it’s interesting to see, identify, hopefully identify and address some key needs. Maybe a corner, maybe an O-line, D-line, like you said. And hopefully get us back to playoff contention. We’re not too far removed, not nearly as much as Chicago, unfortunately for you. But there’s a lot of optimism around both teams, so it’s exciting.

And not only are the 260 or so college athletes going to hear their names, but after Saturday, you know there’s that frenzy in the hour after with all the undrafted free agent contracts that have gone out too. But looking at the grand scheme of things, how many players out of college are trying to go to the NFL this year?

Thousands? We have to look at the dark side of the draft and all the guys who their dreams of going to the NFL, hear their name called, and they might not get that opportunity. Yeah, it’s an unfortunate time, but it is the risk you run. It’s, are you declaring when you don’t have to?

Do you not know what your stock is in the market, if you will. If you really want to go that far, or do you have to declare because you’re a senior or fifth year senior or whatever? So yeah. There’s going to be a lot of free agents out there, undrafted. Some of them are going to make their way to practice teams.

And I’m sure 2, 3, 4 years down the line, we’re going to see some that emerge as starters. Those good luck stories that you hear. But let’s face it, the majority are going to probably have those hard luck ones where they’re scraping and clawing to make a practice squad. We’ll see them all on hard knocks, on HBO, like- we’ll see those stories.

It’s a tough market. It’s a tough business to break into. For sure. Even with the addition of, you know, the XFL, the USFL, there’s more opportunity these days, but still very small percentage. And when you look at just the sheer number of athletes you have in college at the sport,

so. But there’s a lot of big glam and it’s all the fun and games of actually getting to the draft. But let’s take a look at what it takes to get there. I mean this draft is a, it’s a three day process. But there’s so much more that goes into it than these three days and what a lot of people think about.

And I know we have a great way of tying that to recruiting, so. Thousand percent. So from a general manager coach and all that standpoint, the draft started already. It was 3, 4, 5 year, even a year ago. Looking at game tape, watching guys going to games to watch them in college. How do they perform under pressure?

So there’s so much scouting and pre-work before the draft that goes into it. So they have an idea of, okay, well when we’re on the clock they have their three picks that they’re hoping are still there, and they have to decide between team needs- long-term, short-term contract stuff.

There’s so much that goes into it. So on the flip side for recruiting and our jobs, what does that look like when we’re sourcing, when a client hires us to begin a search for a specific candidate? What goes into that? What have we done beforehand? How do we start that? And it’s challenging.

I mean, you go on LinkedIn recruiter, you hit open to work, and if, let’s just say in the United States, you’re going to get five to 10 million people who are open to work. That’s the sample size we have to start with. And then from there, how do we locate even just the one person that could eventually be the hire, let alone all the people we source, screen, submit,

get interviewed ultimately to get to that hire that might not actually ever come, so. Oh, but Loui, you’re a recruiter. Isn’t your job just to post job positions and then people apply and then you hire somebody, right? Yeah. I mean, that’s why everyone says recruiting is the easiest job, right? It’s because we post a job and people apply and our work’s done. Wrong.

If you think recruiting is easy, I let you walk through my shoes this week. It has been- normally we say rollercoaster, but this has been a downward spiral down a mountain through a cactus field. That’s how I would describe my week. Now, we don’t really go into a ton of detail about what our day-to-day and how that looks, but especially for the sake of this one diving into the scouting reports and the game film and whatnot, why don’t you give us a glimpse into your week. You know, what does that look like from your role?

Okay. Well right now, so I just had a call today with a client that is asking me to start a brand new search. What we’ll start with? Network. What does our network look like? Is it a specific location that they’re asking for? In this case, yeah. It’s East Coast, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, that area.

So they have to be there. Do I know people? Do I have connections there? So that’s what a a kickstart to a search would look like. And then right to LinkedIn. I start with open to work. Cutting down the playing field a little bit from a big margin, role title, years of experience, industry.

These are all sorts of parameters that you can set to hopefully find yourself, my goal is a pool of 300 to 400 candidates that I can then scroll through each of them and send a message to the top 20-30 from that group. And then expand it out from there, see what shakes out. But plenty of roles that we work on that there’s 50 submissions and still no placement.

You know, hiring managers, they hold a lot of power. Do some of them abuse that? 1000%? Sure. And I know in previous episodes we’ve talked a lot about the hiring process, the interview process, the keys to communication, transparency, whatnot. Those are all ideal scenarios in our heads of the perfect outlay of what we’re looking at. Most of the time you don’t get that.

And so you’re, I mean, you’re just talking about all the troubles that we run into are pretty common occurrence. And you just, you’re hitting on sourcing the first time for a role. Let alone what happens when they get through the first batch of interview candidates and none of them work out.

Then you’re sourcing a second batch of candidates and, oh, the age old, “Oh, this person interviewed great but I want to see a couple more.” That’s my favorite response. I love it so much. Oh, that’s a tough one for sure. It’s you know- you would’ve found someone that you like and then they’re like, “Oh keep them warm.”

It’s like listen, this market is hot. They don’t want to be kept warm. They will make a decision if they have an offer between one that is real and one that might come, they’re going to cover their own ass and they’re going to take the one that is on paper in writing in front of them compared to the one that could never come.

So you know that excuse is definitely one we hear all too frequently. And then there just seems to be the clients that don’t seem like anything would please them. Working with one that literally, if you are currently not in a job, just maybe got laid off yesterday, they won’t interview you.

If you don’t have- like the scenarios and the type of power that these people exert is just bewildering to me at times. But it’s crazy because at the end of the day, people assume well, if you don’t get that one person, you’re going to hire somebody, right? Not always. You might have one really strong candidate and like you said, the market’s hot, they might go find something else.

There are times where they’re interviewing elsewhere. You know they are, whether or not they say that and offers come through on a daily basis, just like we get new candidates, new jobs. Something might change internally on the company side and all of a sudden, “Well we don’t need to hire for this role maybe now, maybe the next couple months, maybe ever.”

So it’s always, it’s a world of curve balls, I would say. Yeah. You just have to be prepared for. I’m like- and always, I would say keep your expectations low. I mean, it’s a low percentage business where the amount of people that you screen to the amount that you place is not a high percentage.

But I guess it kind of speaks back to the draft. You can do as much research as you want. You can go through every assessment or anything, and you can make an educated pick or a draft. That person can be a great pick. That person could not pan out even in the slightest. But it’s really about taking that chance and that’s one thing I encourage hiring managers to do.

If this person checks nine out of 10 boxes and the 10th is they have three years experience instead of four, I would urge them to hire that person. Take that chance compared to waiting around for the unicorn, the one that might not ever exist, you know? You need someone in this seat. Every decision you make in business, in hiring, you’re taking a chance on someone.

Yes, you can be educated and make an educated one, but looking around for the exact perfect fit, you’re making it much harder than it needs to be. Absolutely. And I will say that not every process is as difficult and not every hiring team is as difficult to work with. It’s easier to complain about the rough ones, but we have a good number of we’ll say great GMs, great war rooms.

Companies that we love working with, who are really passionate about the recruiting side. They understand what it goes into it. And for every bad experience, we probably have a great one as well. So always want to put that disclaimer out there. Agree a thousand percent. Like working with one candidate or one client who

did reject some people gave great feedback as to why, not just like the most generic stuff that doesn’t help me refine my search. They have someone going on site, next week for the final. That person is the person I just had another intake call with for another one of their businesses.

There are great clients and we’re not saying clients who don’t pushback or reject candidates are bad clients. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying, the ones that can provide honest feedback that shows that they’ve done their due diligence and show us that our time is worth it,

I can work with that a hundred times out of a hundred. But setting parameters that are just out of left field that you’re just, it’s either a yes or a no. If we send someone who has this, they won’t even look at them. That’s where I have a bit of a gripe. But hey, you’re going to get the great ones, you’re going to get the bad ones, like anything.

So have to keep the head up, keep running through the tackles, I guess you want to call it, since it’s around the topic, but yeah. There you go. Well, we’ll segue that straight into the two minute drill cause I know we’re running out of time and that was a great way to end it, Louie. I’ll just say recruiting’s not everything that people might seem from the outside.

If you want to learn more, you want to think you can handle it and you want to talk about it, we’re happy to share these experiences with you in further detail. Yeah. Louie bold prediction for tomorrow night, round one of the draft, what do you got? Bears are picking at nine. If Jalen Carter gets to that point, I think we take him.

But that’s from a personal standpoint. My bold prediction is I think he might fall out of the top ten. Jalen Carter being the stud, I guess you call him interior defensive lineman for Georgia, who is, looks like a man among boys out there, had a rough combine. I think he had some off the field stuff.

It’s dropping his stock, but hey, that could all be very much planned in a way. So if the Bears get him at nine, that’s great. If he falls outta the top 10, that would be my wild pick. There you go. I think my bold prediction is that CJ Strout is going to be the fourth quarterback taken in the first round tomorrow night.

And I think that’s pretty bold because a lot of people think he might go number one. I think what tips it off for me is there’s that IQ test, the Wonder lick that goes on for the NFL draft picks. And I know for a lot of positions that doesn’t really matter, but for quarterback I think it’s a bigger impact and he scored extremely low on that. And he signed his name and that’s what got him his score.

He’s 18%. Yeah. So do I think he’s a great quarterback? I don’t know. Ohio State quarterbacks just don’t pan out. Sorry Louie. But- fighting words, Dan. Fighting words. So we’ll see what happens. I still think he’s obviously a lock for top half the first round, but that’s my bold pick. And then a special bonus pick,

my boss, our resident lions fan, Jeff, said bold pick the lions are taken AR 15, Anthony Richardson at six. Interesting. Okay. He wants Jalen Carter too. Okay. Well hey, I mean Lion’s division rival with us, had a great year last year. And I will say this, after watching Hard Knocks, I love their coach.

Like I would run through hellfire for that guy. And the team shows it and they’re making moves. They’ve took a step in the right direction. So Lions, our division with Rogers finally getting moved to the Jets is wide open. I don’t think her cousins is good at all. I think the Vikings would probably be the easy pick to win our division, but I still think it’s wide open.

I like the Lions for the division this year and I’ve very quickly become a secondary Lions fan in the NFC, so I’m hopeful for them. Well, on behalf of Loui and myself, thank you once again for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner. Do join us again in two weeks for our next episode. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn.

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