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What skills do Recruiters acquire that would be useful to a Football Manager!?

Yes. I know. I’m reaching here. I get it.
But actually, I’m not. I’m not saying I could take Bradford City to the Champions League Final in 5 years time. But there are some similarities between Recruitment and Football Management and I’m going to discuss them now.

Trust in the process
There is always that candidate out there. In the same way, there is always a way to win a match. Find them. Call them, speak to them.
That “Yes, I’d be interested in discussing this role” after a day of hearing “No” is the equivalent to watching your star striker bury that winning penalty with the last kick of the game.
It’s all about mindset and mentality. Recruiters must be tenacious and strong, remembering that while they can go around the regular routes, the process always needs to be the same to fill positions.

The deviation is likely to be the biggest downfall of a recruiter. Sticking to your guns and battling through, no matter how difficult, is always going to prevail.

Being flexible
That said, sometimes the approach needs to change slightly. In the upcoming world cup, Englands’ approach against Iran is likely to be very difficult to the approach against Germany or Brazil.
You may have a role in the middle of nowhere - you aren’t going to use the same strategy as a role in the middle of London.
So yes, stick to the process, battle it out. But you do need to be able to adapt at a moments notice.

Getting candidates to trust the process
Not only do you need to trust the process, but you need your candidates to trust the process too. It’s like man management, and it’s different for every candidate. Some candidates need you to support them constantly and guide them through the process. Other candidates are happy going about it however it’s vital that they know you are there for them if they need you.
Not only does a candidate need to trust the process, they need to buy into you as a recruiter. So you need to come across as compassionate, understanding, considerate, knowledgeable and passionate, amongst a million other positive adjectives. 

There’s an expression in the football world “I’d run through brick walls for the manager”. Whilst candidates don’t have to run into any walls, you want them to have that kind of trust and belief in you. It of course works both ways, you need to prepare to sprint through some drywall for a candidate in return!

Filling gaps
Recruitment, to a lot of people and when boiled down to its simplest form, is essentially plugging workforce gaps.
But it’s so much more than that. In fact, that’s almost insulting.
When you go to place a candidate, you need to ensure that this candidate is going to fit into this role, from not only a skills perspective but also from a cultural perspective, a behavioural perspective… I could go on.

You need to match them up to compliment the pre-existing team. You don’t want someone who is going to rock the boat. So you need to fully understand the job brief and what the team are like. You need to be able to answer these questions: Who is this candidate going to report into? Who will be reporting into the candidate? What experience would best work with the team?


Keeping your cool
Sometimes, things aren’t going to go as planned.
You can plan every aspect of the process perfectly, but sometimes interviews go badly. Sometimes that Non-League side just knocks you out of the FA cup and continue to go on their giant-killing run (Histon, who’s ever heard of Histon!?).

You’re upset, you have to start all over again.
But you can’t let the candidate know that. 

You stand in front of the candidate and you deliver the feedback as if you were telling the media. You don’t lie. But you deliver it in a way that helps dust you both off and picks you back up, ready to start again and get that ball over the line next time.


Building a strong bench
Remember the glory days of Recruitment like 5 years ago when you couldn’t finish a conversation without hearing the words ‘talent pool’?

As far as buzzwords go, I’m glad they appear to have buzzed off. However, you need a strong bench. People that aren’t quite looking for a role right now, that’s your bench. People that are looking but the right role just hasn’t appeared. A team of reliable people that want interim positions for example. Candidates that are midway through a project and will be ready in 6-9 months time. People that you can call up and won’t let you down, are the people you need on your talent bench!


Nurturing and developing upcoming talent
The talent of the future. Every year, publications both sporting and general will talk about the youth of football and the future stars. 
You need to be aware of them, because when that opportunity comes up and they’re ready for it. It’s the best feeling.
You’ve known someone for a couple of years, they tell you all of their acheivements and you know what they want to achieve in their career. You know what the right job is, and the moment it comes on you know where they are and can call them. That’s what recruitment is all about.


Approaching talent directly
It’s frowned upon in the football game. But they all do it. You, as a recruiter have the power to do this.
Obviously, the mobile number is the easiest route to them.

Don’t have one - send an email.

Don’t have one - call them at work.

There are a hundred and one ways to contact someone - try their Social Media for example. The right approach will always garner a response, and if it’s not the right response, you’ve just made a new contact.


The Domino Effect
Football managers often have to start small to go big. 
Starting with one client and doing a good job will always gather interest from other clients and before you know it, you’ll have a list of clients that want your support and your services. 

How do you do this?
By doing a good job, treating candidates and clients well and building your reputation.


Following the statistics
Recruiters love a stat. I mean, I’m probably biased, because I do love a stat.
But managers pick players based on form, and it’s the same for candidates.
You need to know everything about your candidates, how much money did they save the business? How much did they reduce spend? How much money did they make the business?
Stop thinking of CVs as job descriptions, and think of them as your chance to really show the candidate off.

Brag about the numbers! They’ve done a good job, it’s your turn to help them find their next big break.

See, football management and recruitment, basically the same thing.

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What skills do Recruiters acquire that would be useful to a Football Manager!?

Yes. I know. I’m reaching here. I get it.
But actually, I’m not. I’m not saying I could take Bradford City to the Champions League Final in 5 years time. But there are some similarities between Recruitment and Football Management and I’m going to discuss them now.