Saturday, January 10, 2015

NFL Hiring Season

As you guys know - I'm a big fan of the NFL off-season coaching carousel. How many people develop their own predictive model to see when coaches are going to get fired (brag break: and then have it picked up and advanced by the guys at Harvard)?

I really like it because it brings together two of my favorite things, football and hiring processes.

I've always been huge into recruiting for any organization I've been a part of - undergrad, my first jobs, business school, and then as a consultant - I'm always very into the process because a) I think it's very important and b) its also very fun.

Now, the Eagles got themselves into a ton of drama over competition for the player personnel decisions, and as that relates to recruiting, it got me interested.

Both Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly want control over player personnel decisions -- no doubt, those guys are both passionate about recruiting just like I am.

And for lots of other NFL teams, like the Bears for one, they're looking for new General Managers who will also be in charge of evaluating and retaining players.

It's all a ton of drama - but in the end - whomever you hire to run your team's personnel decisions - they'll still be wrong at least half the time and will likely get fired after 5-10 years.

It's a universal truth in the NFL - teams mis-evaluate players all the time...for the draft, for free agency, for anything, teams are going to be wrong a whole lot!

It seems like the best anyone can do is hit a little more than half the time. But what's interesting to me is that if any organization/industry is well suited to successfully recruiting, it's the NFL, and they're consistently terrible!

All the players considered for the draft have hours and hours of game tape - showing exactly how well they play. They get poked and prodded and measured in very official ways at the combine. They get interviewed. They have piles of statistics and detailed metrics showing their exact level of performance.

And yet so many of the picks are wrong.

Now that's not a problem I'm suggesting I have a solution to. But it's interesting to think about that relative to all the other recruiting the rest of us do in our organizations. Any recruiting you've done. You have 99% less information than the NFL. You have a resume, you have a couple conversations, maybe you have some references. But that's it. No one watches game tape of their potential new analyst (but wow would it be boring).

So if the NFL has such a huge level of detailed information on their recruits, and they screw up like 50% of the time. How often must the rest of us be screwing up in making hiring decisions?

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