The Craft of Scouting for Tech Talent or Hockey Talent
You’d be surprised at the similarities…
By John Stevens, Executive Recruiter, IT Engineering
Hockey scouts live in a secretive world of prospecting, some have said it is a world more akin to Cold War-era spying than a casual day in the stands. Faced with bad coffee, long periods in cold rinks, and remote locations, the job isn’t as sexy as you might think.
As a long-time recruiter in the tech sector, is also an avid hockey player and coach. He notes many similarities between scouting for hockey talent and recruiting top tech talent.
Tech recruiters definitely get better coffee however. But beyond that, hockey recruiters and tech recruiters both face the task of identifying and projecting how a prospect will develop and contribute. Scouting requires a deep understanding of the game and a knowledgeable perspective on the player’s talent.
The great scouts are the ones who can apply well-honed experience and knowledge of the skills and personalities necessary for the job. It takes a lot of work, a lot of hours at the rink, watching the players and understanding the needs of the teams you are recruiting for.
And the same is true for recruiting top tech talent. You’ve got to be an integral part of the network of cutting edge tech professionals and companies to truly understand what particular mix of skill set, experience, personality, and motivations are going to make for a fantastic team.
Hockey scouts must be familiar with a huge variety of leagues and number of players to source the talent of tomorrow. Tech recruiters dive into mixers, and meet ups, and professional organizations, they speak with experts in startups and established companies, with market makers and venture capitalists, they keep up with industry analysis and market trends, in order to swim in an even larger pool of candidates.
Did you know that aspiring hockey players now market themselves online in order to compete for the big league? Prospects create internet profiles showcasing themselves, highlighting exceptional game play and score sheets, and maintain player blogs. And much like recruiters, hockey scouts maintain a database to track the careers of the skilled players they are following.
There is a large pool of candidates out there. The difference is that in hockey, many more players are competing to be chosen for a more limited number of openings at the next level. In tech, player-team matches are more fluid, and there is a plethora companies competing to attract and retain top talent, that is often being courted immediately upon taking a position.
Scouting for hockey talent, like recruiting for the tech sector, is a professional field where trained individuals evaluate the talent and potential of players/candidates on a continuous basis. A team may have immediate needs that are to be filled quickly, or it may have long term strategy on developing prospects to meet certain future needs. A competent recruiter performs both these tasks efficiently and effectively.
The key to successful talent scouting is the same in hockey as it is in tech, know the game, know the skills, know how to build a great team.
About the author:
John Stevens, Executive Recruiter, IT Division
John is a consummate recruiter, sales person, and entrepreneur. He has built a very tight relationship with his select clients over the many years he has recruited in the high tech sectors, building teams in start-ups as the talented Silicon Valley entrepreneurs peel off to create new ventures.