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The “Moneyball” Approach To Hiring Your A-Team

Hiring A-players is one of the toughest challenges you can take on

Image by The Hindu

First things first, for those of you who haven’t watched the movie Moneyball, you simply have to do so tonight!

What is Moneyball?

Long story short, the movie takes you through the story of Oakland’s baseball team general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

How is this relevant to my business and recruitment efforts?

Whether you are a small business owner, a startup founder or a corporate team leader, you are already aware that hiring A-players is one of the toughest challenges you can take on!  No wonder why the recruitment industry is worth over $300 billion USD globally.

Although the recruitment industry has significantly transformed over the last decade, with AI candidate assessment, virtual interviews, and a breadth of digital recruitment platforms to choose candidates from, one of the most fundamental recruitment problems remains unsolved… 

How can you hire A-Players *within your recruitment budget?

The second half of the question is KEY here…

There is no shortage of A-Players in the market

There is abundance of amazing candidate profiles

We can identify numerous candidates with the right skills and experience 

Hence the biggest gap is not identifying the right skills but rather doing so within the recruitment budget we have available. Thus, the path to successful hiring starts with having a budget in mind and not the other way round. Sounds cynical, someone may argue – however, there are very good reasons why this is the best approach to hiring:

  1. A budget-first mentality will help you to avoid unrealistic expectations. We all want the very best employees for our teams – and we can do an awesome job in documenting the ideal skills and mindsets we are looking for. Understanding that we (most likely) will not be able to attract unicorn candidates within our budget is the first step to a successful hire.
  2. A budget-first mentality will force you to PRIORITIZE.
    After you become aware of how far you can stretch your recruitment budget (consider years of experience, skills and professional background) you need to establish your non-negotiables. Document the skills and candidate attributes that are necessary for your team and strike out all the “nice to haves”.

A budget-first mindset together with steps 1 and 2 above will instil absolute clarity on your recruitment task. Now the main concern is how can we filter out A-Players within our given constraints?

Like with everything in modern business management, we need to systemize our candidate assessment process. I am a huge believer that you can do so without any expensive or elaborate AI recruitment tools – here is some ideas you can implement:

  1. Develop a mandatory short candidate assessment:

No fancy tools needed here, leverage Google Forms or Typeform to develop a 5 questions form including some key questions relevant to the role – make sure you include questions on:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Logical Thinking
  • Numerical or Creative tasks (depending on the role)
  • Culture Fit

Mark all candidates on a scale of 1-4 depending on the quality of the answers and invite the top 25% (ONLY) to a face-to-face or online interview. This will eliminate hiring bias and personal preferences and will lead you one step closer to recruiting your first A-Player.

  1. Add points for proactiveness (following up).

Candidates who are keen to take on the role will follow up after completing the initial short assessment to demonstrate their eagerness to be considered for the role.

  1. Standardize the face-to-face interview process

Ask all candidates the same questions and mark them on a scale of 1-4 depending on the quality of their answers.  Give extra points for positive attitude. Remove points for lack of punctuality or professionalism in communications.

  1. Sum-up all points and hire your A-Player!

A structured and well organised recruitment process will reveal your A-Players in time. The only thing that remains is to act fast to secure your ideal candidates!

Moneyball is a true story… Oakland’s General Manager Billy Beane use of statistics to scout talent and choose players not only turned a losing team around, but it set a new standard for the entire baseball industry.

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Sotirios Seridis
Written By

Sotirios (one of the most difficult names you’ll come across in your life), lived in London, Dubai and Singapore, working for some of the world’s leading media agencies (WPP and Omnicom). Along the way he built 2 digital performance departments from the ground-up and worked with clients such as Unilever, Volkswagen and Google. Currently, he is a Digital Marketing Instructor at General Assembly and the founder of XYZ Lab. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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