Sports-Inspired Strategies to Recruit the Best Candidates for Your Team

For sports teams, recruiting the best players is key to their success. While an office team may look different than a football team, the strategies to find the top team members are pretty similar for both. Looking at some of the best teams and coaches in sports, I wanted to share a few strategies used by sports teams that can be applied by a wide variety of professionals looking to build a strong team.

Know the candidate

The best sports coaches know that there’s strong competition out there for top talent, and to win those players over, they need to understand what makes them tick. When you’re engaging with a promising candidate, don’t make it all about you, your team, and your company. Instead, dedicate real time to understanding what that candidate wants. When you understand a candidate’s priorities, goals, and vision for their future, you can present the opportunities of the role to them is the best way possible. When you make this effort to get to know each individual candidate, you can home in on the things that matter to them most.

Follow through

When you know what a great candidate wants, it can be tempting to promise that your company can deliver exactly that. Do their desired benefits align with what your company offers? Great. Those promises that are clearly lined out are fine to make. Just be cautious not to promise anything you can’t follow through with. If a candidate hopes to get a promotion within their first year or a raise to a much higher salary and these things aren’t a set-in-stone part of your company’s policies, then make sure you’re honest about that as well.

It’s not all about the star players

While all teams want the star players, they know those can’t be their only focus. Don’t overlook candidates who have a slightly less glossy resume. Of course, this doesn’t mean abandon the search for those star players. Sports teams know it’s all about the balance. Every player will bring something unique to the team.

Build your brand

Think of your favorite sports team. You probably know their colors, how well they’ve been playing, what kinds of players they have, and what their fans are like. When building your professional team, candidates also need to have a sense of what your company is about. What are your employees like, what kind of office culture is there, and what are the values and vision of the company as a whole?

Keep in touch

Even if a player doesn’t work out, great coaches know it’s worth keeping in touch. You never know what will unfold down the line, and growing your network of connections is always smart. If you interview a great candidate, and one of you decides it’s not the right fit, make the effort to continue a relationship. Whether the right position comes up in several months, or they send a great referral your way, there is real benefit for you both to stay connected.


No matter what kind of team you’re recruiting for, sports teams can offer some great inspiration. Like the coach of a sports team, you want to assemble and develop a winning team. A major part of this is attracting the right players to help your team grow. Focusing on the candidate, following through with promises, creating a balanced team, building a strong brand, and staying in touch are all strategies that will help you create the strongest team possible.

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