How to... recruit the right person for a sports industry job

InterviewA recruiter can often be faced with the difficult task of sifting through a mountain of applications for single position. Richard Graham, Executive Director of specialist recruitment consultancy Impact Sports Recruitment, explains how a company can find the perfect new employee.

Tip 1: Look at the numbers

Be sure to check that candidates can back up the bold claims on their CV.
"Most achievements can be quantified in some way," says Graham. "Be wary of candidates who avoid being specific about their achievements in hard currency or stats. Commercial sensitivities might preclude some information being given, but anyone who has done what they say in the CV should be able to back up their claims with names, dates and hard data."

Tip 2: Assess the character 

This can be particularly relevant when looking at CVs in the first instance.
"You don't need to be a psychoanalyst, but look at how the candidates describe themselves in their profiles," says Graham. "Be particularly wary of anyone who describes themselves in the third party - it's frequently a sign of an inflated ego."

Tip 3: Check the network

By utilising networking tools you can delve deeper into a candidate's professional background.
"If it's true that we are all linked to each other within six steps, then it is not too difficult to take first hand reports of any candidate from someone he/she has worked with in the past," says Graham. "Use the network to try and get a detailed assessment of the person's talent, and don't accept any written reference at face value."

Tip 4: Test the candidate's knowledge 

Utilise the interview environment to provide a proper test of whether a candidate is right for your company.
"Overly generic and wishy-washy questions reveal little of substance about the candidate and their capacity to do a job," says Graham. "Give real life situations and specific problems for a candidate to consider during the interview process - after all, they may soon be facing them in their daily work. 'What do you like doing on weekends?' is not the first thing you’ll be asking when the bombs are falling."

Tip 5: Trust your instinct

Remember - first impressions do count.
"Accurate first impressions and instinct are deep-rooted tools that are essential for human survival and don't occur randomly," says Graham. "If you have a good or bad feeling about someone, trust your instincts. As the hiring manager you will generally be held accountable for the success or failure of the person you are recruiting, so go with what your gut tells you."

Top Tip: Use a specialist

Graham adds: "Whether your organisation is hiring directly or using an external consultant - make sure you use someone who knows the job and the marketplace first hand. Very few HR managers and even fewer 'sports recruiters' have ever worked for a sports organisation in its core business, so would have little understanding of the mechanics of event management, sponsorship, media sales and so forth. You wouldn't use a hairdresser to recruit your kids' nanny, would you?"

Useful links

Impact Sports Recruitment is a specialist recruitment consultancy serving the international business of sport. As a member of the Rushmans Group of Companies, Impact shares a heritage of more than 25 years' experience at the highest level of international sport.

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