More College Recruiting: Natty Light Knows Their Target Audience Better Than Your Company...

Yesterday, I posted my observations after leading a college recruiting roundtable - which led me to recommend you zig when others are zagging if you're starting to ponder an investment in campus recruiting.

Another observation - if you're a consumer product company, you might have an easier "in" to gather attention from the kids on campus than non-product companies.  No one has done it better recently than Natural Light (that's right, the beer).  Natural Light, better known as "Natty Light," the cheap beer of choice for college students across the country, has done multiple things to garner the attention of the college kid.  Earlier this year, they announced they would be giving away $1,000,000 to help 25 lucky drinkers pay off their student debt. In order to compete for one of these prizes, participants had to submit a short video showcasing a green tab from a can of Natty Light and share what made their college experience special.

Nice. Effective, right?

Well, they're back.  Natural Light has just announced a contest to put a student's resume on a NASCAR ride.  More details below and we'll talk after the jump.

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Natural Light is about to hook it up yet again for a recent grad that’s deep in the job search.

The beer brand is going to turn your resume into a NASCAR paint scheme that will appear on Chris Buescher’s #37 racecar at the South Point 400 in Las Vegas on September 16. Work experience, skills, contact info, head shot and all, will be painted on the car.

Natural Light and Censuswide surveyed 1,000+ employers across America and 4-in-5 agreed applicants need to find new ways to stand out when applying for jobs.

Is there a better way to get your resume noticed than have it plastered all over a car for a nationally televised race? Guaranteed your inbox and voicemail will be full after catching the eye of millions of recruiters while racing 200 mph around the track.

To be considered for the paint scheme, any person over the age of 21 can:

Here's a full mock up of where the resume details are going to go on the car (email subscribers, please click through if you don't see the image below)

Natty

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The interesting thing about these contests is that they really aren't related to college recruiting.  Natural Light is marketing to people who buy the iconic beer, in this case, college kids.  They want them to drink more Natty Light, which is why they're running the contest. 

Still, the creativity is key.  If you're thinking about starting college recruiting or want to make a bigger splash with what you're already doing on campus, think about how your product/service ties in with the lives of those you are trying to recruit.

Contests and awards that meet college kids where they live are key.

Good luck out there.  And if you're drinking Natty Light on campus, please drink Natty Light responsibly...

 


My Week at the NBA Summer League In Las Vegas, Part 1 (Featuring Lessons on Talent)

Went to Vegas this week with a few bloggers of note - Steve Boese,  Tim Sackett and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it  - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players who play in the best hoops league in the world.

Now - you should know that only about 20% of the players who attend and play in the Vegas Summer League are actual NBA players - the rest are draft choices and free agents who are scrapping and doing whatever it takes to impress the teams. 

Why go to this event? First, we like hoops.  More importantly, I go because there's a huge morality play on talent going on at the Summer League.  If NBA veterans are the best 450 players in the world, what we saw is 451-1500, and the differences are pretty small between spots 350 to 450 in the NBA and the better players in the summer league.  Who decides? What makes the difference between making a NBA roster and going to Turdistan to play next winter?  

As it turns out, a lot of the NBA is probably no better at evaluating talent than the rest of us - and there's a lesson in that.   Here's Part 1 of the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through - captions and comments included with the picture).

 

From the NBA Summer League: Meet a Summer League matchup that matters. Colin Sexton vs Aaron Holiday. Sexton was a one and done from Bama, drafted 8th overall by the Cavs with the pic that the Cavs protected for when Lebron left. Holliday is a 3-year guy from UCLA drafted 23rd overall by the pacers. Which asset is the most valuable? It depends how close the gap is. Sexton won the scoring battle 19-12, but the gap was closer than that. At the end of the day, Sexton will get lots of minutes in a post apocalyptic Cleveland and Holliday will go to the bench behind veteran guards on a good Indiana team and remain an affordable asset. Result from the Summer League: Indiana is very happy, Cleveland is hopeful. Sexton 7th in top 100 in class of 2017. Holiday 88th in class of 2015. Margins are thin in the show.

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From the NBA Summer League in Vegas, v3.0: Danny Ainge, GM and President of the Boston Celtics plopped down next to us during the game after the Celtics played on Monday like he was a tourist from Des Moines who decided to pop over to the gym after growing tired of the games on the strip. I first saw Ainge at the Summer League two summers ago in 2016, when he was courtside in the small gym checking out that years 3rd overall pick - Jaylen Brown play in the Summer League. I'll never forget how hard he rode the officials that day, like he was Jaylen's dad. Brown struggled that Summer League and had a uneven ride his first year, but the results are clear - that pick was gold. Add the Jason Tatum heist to the mix, and you get why people are likely scared to make a trade with him these days. Danny's known as an talented trader as a GM, someone who naturally understands talent and the value of a having a talent plan. I sent this picture back home and my wife commented, "that is a possessed look on Ainge's face". That's the best description of Ainge at the Summer League I can provide. When watching a game, he's constantly taking a longer, intense look at players who make a play, almost like he's running what he saw through his own algorithm and determining whether what he saw was worth noting for the future. He does this, btw, when other people are trying to talk to him, a clear sign that he's more interested in evaluating talent than talking to people who want something from him. He didn't really have a reason or need to be watching a non-Celtic game at the Summer League from the stands, but there he was. Taking it in and watching guys who made a play run down the court with this look on his face. Last time I saw someone so notable take the time to evaluate players at the Summer League with next to no shot make the league, it was Danny Ferry, the former Duke star and GM of the Hawks. Ferry built the 60 win Hawks from scratch, which now seems like 50 years ago instead of 2014. Whether it's basketball or corporate America, great evaluators of talent don't stop evaluating - it's in their blood. #nba #summerleague

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Part Two on your way on Friday!


This Year's Final Four Proves The Value of "Well Placed" over "Top" Talent...

If you're watching/following the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney this year, your bracket is shot, your team is likely gone and there's only one thing left to do. 

What's that thing you ask?  

Look at the rosters of the teams that made the Final Four and make a Talent observation. Gonzaga  Naturally. 

This year, that observation is pretty simple.  If it's long term performance you're looking for, you're likely better off not chasing the top 1% of available talent, you're better off in the 75th to 95th percentile due to performance and retention considerations.  More for the setup from the Newton Daily News:

If you take a peak at nbadraft.net to see who the top prospects for the upcoming NBA draft are, you’ll find a bunch of freshmen.  We live in a one-and-done world of college basketball. The rules force future NBA players to spend at least one season playing college basketball.

In the day of the one-and-dones, the four teams left in the NCAA Tournament are doing it with grown men.

Oregon has three freshmen on its entire roster, which is probably normal considering coaches bring in players every year to balance out rosters. Five Ducks are averaging in double-figures and four of them are juniors or seniors.

Gonzaga is probably one of the more successful programs in the country that does it with older players every year. The Bulldogs have freshman Zach Collins, who is projected to be a lottery pick. But he isn’t even one of the four Gonzaga players averaging in double figures.

North Carolina is a program one would think would be able to roll with the one-and-done model, but head coach Roy Williams has built this current roster differently. The Tar Heels lost in the championship game last year and are back in the Final Four with a team full of juniors and seniors.

South Carolina has the youngest team of any Final Four teams. The Gamecocks have freshman standout Rakym Felder and sophomores PJ Dozier and Chris Silva. But two of their top three scorers are senior guards who weigh an average of 218 pounds. Grown men.

The lesson for most of us is pretty simple.  Even if you can afford to chase top talent, it's probably not in your best interest.  Extrapolate the NCCA Final Four to your business, and the parallels are there.  You can chase top/top talent, but you'll likely pay more and have almost immediate retention concerns.  But lurking just underneath that talent pool is a group of candidates for any position that can deliver 80% of the performance for 60% of the cost/risk.  In addition, since the retention issues are diminished in this group, They'll deliver increasing performance over time because they'll stick around.

It's sexy to chase the rock star.  The Final Four is reminding us that the 85th percentile of available candidates is a place with pretty good ROI.

I'd rather my company be Gonzaga than Kentucky from a talent perspective.


CAPITALIST PODCAST: The Top 5 Recruiters in the Sports World...

Great college & pro sports coaches have more in common than just expensive suits—they've all got the same recruiting chops. And those recruiting chops are the same ones that your best recruiters have.

So who are the best of the best when it comes to recruiting for sports? And what exactly makes them the best? During this brand new episode of Talent Sniper Radio (The Kinetix Podcast), I'm joined by Kinetix Recruiting Director David Bach and we take a deep dive into the top 5 recruiters of the sports world (plus some honorable mentions) and why they stand out as the best.

From Nick Saban's process to Coach Calipari's brand, get your monthly dose of recruiting tips on Talent Sniper Radio—made for recruiters, by recruiters.  We even weave into the conversation whether each coach would make a good recruiter as part of our team.

(email subscribers, enable images or click through if you don't see the easy to use podcast player below)


VIDEO: Giving Interns Real Experience Is Really The Most Important Thing...

If you came because of that title looking for a serious post on intern programs, think again.

I was in Auburn Saturday night for LSU/Auburn and Auburn has a kicker that kicks it out of the end zone... every.single.time.

After an Auburn FG in the first half, Auburn did what it always does - it kicked it out of the end zone.  But an enterprising young girl who works in the Auburn video/photo department and was a former ESPN intern thought she could shuffle from her position on the ground in the end zone and make the catch of the dead ball - from her knees.

The result was priceless.  Email subscribers, click through for the video.  Of special note is that she actually calls "I got it" before she takes it to the face.  Good news is that she was fine.  Obviously caught it on the cheek rather than in the nose.

I'd show this to your intern classes.  If you're doing it right, the normal work equivalent of this is at least part of the experience they should get with your company. 


Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: Sports Movies I Can Relate to HR...

Who am I?  Who cares?  Good questions.  It's my site, so I'm going dig in once in a awhile by telling you more about who I am - via a "Stuff I Like" series.  Nothing too serious, just exploring the micro-niche that resides at the base of all of our lives.  Potshots encouraged in the comments.

I like sports movies that transcend sports and tell us about life, relationships and influence. 

Oh yeah, and I just like great quotes that I can repeat to my friends.  Because I'm a white guy from GenX, and that what the **** we do.  Whatever stereotype you're thinking about from a Title 7 protected class, you should stereotype people of my "ilk" this way.  Quoting movies, preferably sports movies.  And I'll never call you a racist for doing it.

Here's my top three sports movies, pulled from a post my good friend (also white, male and GenX) Steve Boese did over at his blog:

He Got Game: Denzel, Spike Lee, a backdrop of hoops and Ray Allen starring as “Jesus Shuttlesworth”.  I love the story of a complicated father/son relationship as Denzel tries to parlay his way out of prison by encouraging his son (Jesus) to play at Big State U, which just happens to be the school of choice for the governor.  Great music spanning a lot of tastes from dramatic orchestra scores to Public Enemy.  Spike Lee perspective in Camera shots.  Fun fact: One of my sons got asked at church at a young age what the last name of Jesus (son of god, not Ray Allen) was.  That’s a trick question in a church setting.  My young son didn’t miss a beat – he raised his hand like Horseshack in Welcome Back Kotter and enthusiastically said, “Shuttlesworth”.  Welcome to the Dunn family, where everything has a hoops influence.

Bull DurhamYou haven’t lived until you’ve had a son who’s played baseball and coached with another guy who knows all the lines to this movie.  The game in front of you actually becomes secondary.  You sit down next to a 10 year old in the dugout and say, “get a notepad, because it’s time to practice your cliches.”  Two minutes later, the kid is repeating the wisdom of Crash Davis - “I just hope I can help the team” and “It’s a simple game – you throw the ball, you catch the ball”.  After he has the cliches down, you bring the kid inside for senior level Crash Davis: “Anything that travels that far should have a stewardess” as an example.  Then, the fun is suddenly over when he commits two errors in the field and you resume screaming at him to "man up”.  Sports movies can only take you so far.

Any Given Sunday:  A must for any sports fan who wants to think about talent from the lens of sports.  While I agree with Tim Sackett that the Pacino speech is classic, I’m going deep in this movie and tell you that hall of famer Jim Brown is the hidden gem.  Playing the role of Defensive Coordinator, he steals the movie from Pacino and Jamie Foxx with two scenes that are coaching classics.  The first scene involves Brown going on a sidelines diatribe towards his defense and a player encouraging him to calm down before he has a stroke, to which Brown replies, “I don’t get strokes Mother#######, I GIVE THEM”.   The second scene involves Brown addressing the team at halftime and using a chalkboard diagraming X’s and O’s, with the following gem: “Now you’re dumb enough, so we made it simple enough.  We made this #### real ####ing simple (as he pounds the chalk against the board)”.  Who among us couldn’t use that line at times in corporate America?

Hit me in the comments with your favorite sports movies, the reasons for the favorite and your money quote from the film.  You don't even have to be white, male and GenX to comment, but I suspect many of you will be...


SPORTS AND HR: The 8 Man Rotation - The 2015 Season (Ebook)

For those of you not down with the whole comparing our corporate talent lives to the world of sports thing...

As Eddie Vedder once said, this is not for you...

However, if you see sports news, signings, roster decisions and more through your lens of HR, Talent and/or Recruiting, then do we have an eBook for you...

It's the next installment of the world-famous free Ebook on Sports and HR - The 8 Man Rotation - The 2015 Season.

What is The 8 Man Rotation?

It is a group of my HR pals (and me), Lance HaunTim SackettSteve Boese, and Matt Stollak (me is Kris Dunn) who make it a habit throughout the year serving up the HR/Talent version of the 'hot sports take', helping you to see and then exploit what happens in the sports world in your HR shop.

Compiled and edited by mighty Matt 'akaBruno' Stollak, the 2015 Season is the best yet of all the 8 Man Rotation editions, coming in at a ridiculous 106 pages, all about the intersection of HR, Talent Management, Recruiting, Leadership and sports. And in 2014, we have a great introduction from Talent Pro Paul Hebert as well.

Of course you don't have to read all 106 pages (you should), you can bounce from topic to topic, and article to article, as Matt did a great job organizing a year's worth of sports takes into a coherent volume.

So please check out The 8 Man Rotation - The 2015 Season here - it's worth it! (embedded ebook appears below - click through if you can't see it) 

 


Evolve and Hire Interchangeable Parts: What You Can Learn From the Golden State Warriors...

The 2016 NBA Finals continue tonight with Game 5, as the Golden State Warriors look to close out the Cleveland Cavaliers and take their second straight NBA Title.

What can you learn from the Warriors about talent?  Pretty simple, actually - look to evolve how you view Riley curry
talent as the rules of your game change, and after you reset what you value most, think about what behavioral characteristics matter most to make your team a group of interchangeable parts that can successfully work as a team.

Oh yeah - almost forgot - after you accomplish that, make sure you retain the talent for long stretches.

Is that all?

Yeah, that's all.  Let's go though it via a nice piece Zach Lowe did over the weekend at ESPN.  First, load up on talent that takes advantage of industry changes with the biggest advantage.  For the Warriors, that means the 3 point shot:

"If the Warriors seize history Monday, it will be viewed as the closing argument in the bombastic, warped debate about whether a "jump-shooting team" can win at the highest level. The two pivotal games of this Golden State sequel -- Game 6 against the Thunder, and Game 4 in Cleveland -- will rightfully go down as watershed moments when even the skeptics realized how much more three is than two.

The Warriors in those two swing games outscored the Thunder and Cavs 114-27 combined from 3-point range. At some point, the math becomes overwhelming. Almost nothing else matters. Three isn't just one more than two. It is 50 percent more, a gargantuan bonus in a game of finite possessions."

That number in two huge games is crazy.  But getting to that number is not only about shooting, it's about defense. That's where Lowe shows how roster construction and probably a bit of luck has made the Warriors not only flashy, but a "grind it out" group of teammates you'd love to have working for your company:

"Pigeonholing the Warriors as a "jump-shooting team" has done them a disservice, and frustratingly boxed in much of the discourse surrounding their rise. Talk to almost any Golden State player or coach, and they will say the same thing: "We are a defense-first team." The Warriors ranked No. 1 in the whole stinking league last season in points allowed per possession. They slumped to No. 5 this season, in part because they were so good, they destroyed teams without having to defend at anywhere close to peak intensity.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a team communicate and switch who they're guarding so seamlessly. The Warriors swap assignments on the fly without even a millisecond of finger-pointing confusion that might open scoring windows.

By the way: that switching is a big reason LeBron has struggled at times attacking the basket. A lot of the folks screeching about LeBron "not taking over" miss the point that it's hard to "take over" when the defense doesn't even have to rotate. LeBron is a freight train going to the rim. He makes it look easy, and a lot of his critics hold that against him when it gets hard.

You don't get a head start when Iguodala just passes you off to Livingston. You've covered no north-south ground, and the Warriors have ceded no territory. You just face another like-sized defender, with his feet set, squaring up to wall off the paint. LeBron can't just run over those dudes. He has to work his crossovers, squeeze around them, search for crevices opening toward the rim."

Whether you're a hard core basketball fan or just passively watching the game tonight because someone in your family wants to watch, don't get suckered into believing the success of the warriors is all about shooting. Outscoring your opponents 114-27 from 3pt range over two games is as much about organizational development and coaching on the defensive end as it is about individual talent in an area like shooting.

Watch how in synch they are on defense. In doing that, you'll understand that Golden State has more than talent - they have an organizational plan.

And yes, you'll probably get a glimpse of Riley Curry tonight after the Warriors take the title.


That Time You Needed to Fire Someone - But Just Hired a Boss For Them Instead...

Performance issue?  You can do three things:

  1. Deal with it.
  2. Ignore it.
  3. Create a brand new position to do some of the work of the person in question (without firing the incumbent), which is a form of #2.

Do people actually loathe dealing with performance issues to the extent that they create new positions to avoid the tough decisions?

Why, yes they do.  Got a high profile one for you today.  The Philadelphia 76ers (professional basketball) just made a high profile hire in Jerry Colangeo, who is the architect of the men's national basketball program, which has had unbelievable success.  They made the hire in part because the current executive in charge of strategy (Sam Hinkie) has had limited success and patience is running thin. More from ESPN.com:

Since the summer of 2014, NBA owners have been lobbying the league's front office to step in with Tankadelphia-02regard to the direction of the Philadelphia 76ers, sources told ESPN.com on Monday night. It was that effort that helped lead to the hiring of Jerry Colangelo to a senior position earlier Monday, the sources said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was instrumental in forming the partnership between Colangelo and 76ers owner Joshua Harris, according to the sources.

The 76ers' struggles on the floor have been readily apparent -- they've gone 38-148 over the past two-plus seasons and 1-21 to start this season -- while they undergo a long-term rebuilding process under general manager Sam Hinkie. But it was not the bad basketball as much as the hit to the business side that weighed on the rest of the league.

Owners routinely complained about the economic drag the 76ers were inflicting on the league as the revenues of one of the largest-market teams -- a franchise expected to contribute more robustly to league revenue-sharing -- sagged. For many teams, games featuring the starless and woeful 76ers as the visiting team have been the lowest-attended of the season, sources said.

Last year, the 76ers fought a proposal against reforming the NBA lottery rules because it would've disrupted their rebuilding plan, which is a transparent attempt to gain the highest draft picks possible by maximizing lottery odds over several seasons while developing young players.

So Colangeo was hired to adjust the strategy.  There's just one little problem with that strategy - the low performer (Hinkie) remains employed.

Part of the problem is Colangeo's age - he's in his 70's and probably not interested in doing the day to day work that's required in Hinkie's role.  So to address the issue, the owners made a decision to bring in a new boss and give him authority over strategy and check off rights on all decisions.

But Hinkie remains. So the 76ers have a more expensive cost structure and a lame duck leader who's strategic direction has just been invalidated by the call to bring in a new boss for him.

In corporate America, these decisions go a couple of different ways:

--We bring in a peer employee at the low performer's position, citing "business is great".  It might actually be great, but that's not why we're bringing in a peer. We're hiring another one because the one we have isn't doing great.

--We hire someone to manage the person in question, because we don't have the stones to deal with it.

--We bring in a consultant to do some of the work in question so we get results why we figure out an exit strategy with the low performer.

It's hard managing through performance issues.  As a HR pro, when you see these management decisions related to a low performer, you have to ask yourself if the decision to bring in new talent while the incumbent remains is avoidance (they don't want to deal with it) or smart business (they need to get someone trained up before making the call to fire or get better results via the consultant route as they work through the issue).

Shades of gray with no easy answers.  Good luck deciding whether your management team are cowards or just freaking smart when it comes to low performers.


The Best Sports Movies of All Time...

I'm up today as part of a post over at the Chairman of all things HR Tech - Steve Boese.  Steve's got a great post up from the 8 man Rotation - Steve, Tim Sackett, Lance Haun, Matthew Stollak and myself - on the best sports movies in the opinion of that committee. Go check it out, lots of good stuff from the aforementioned gang.  Here's my submittals as part of that post:
 
He Got Game: Denzel, Spike Lee, a backdrop of hoops and Ray Allen starring as “Jesus Shuttlesworth”.  I love the story of a complicated father/son HeGotGame-posterrelationship as Denzel tries to parlay his way out of prison by encouraging his son (Jesus) to play at Big State U, which just happens to be the school of choice for the governor.  Great music spanning a lot of tastes from dramatic orchestra scores to Public Enemy.  Spike Lee perspective in Camera shots.  Fun fact: One of my sons got asked at church at a young age what the last name of Jesus (son of god, not Ray Allen) was.  That’s a trick question in a church setting.  My young son didn’t miss a beat – he raised his hand like Horseshack in Welcome Back Kotter and enthusiastically said, “Shuttlesworth”.  Welcome to the Dunn family, where everything has a hoops influence.
 
Bull Durham: You haven’t lived until you’ve had a son who’s played baseball and coached with another guy who knows all the lines to this movie.  The game in front of you actually becomes secondary.  You sit down next to a 10 year old in the dugout and say, “get a notepad, because it’s time to practice your cliches.”  Two minutes later, the kid is repeating the wisdom of Crash Davis - “I just hope I can help the team” and “It’s a simple game – you throw the ball, you catch the ball”.  After he has the cliches down, you bring the kid inside for senior level Crash Davis: “Anything that travels that far should have a stewardess” as an example.  Then, the fun is suddenly over when he commits two errors in the field and you resume screaming at him to "man up”.  Sports movies can only take you so far.
 
Any Given Sunday:  A must for any sports fan who wants to think about talent from the lens of sports.  While I agree with Tim Sackett that the Pacino speech is classic, I’m going deep in this movie and tell you that hall of famer Jim Brown is the hidden gem.  Playing the role of Defensive Coordinator, he steals the movie from Pacino and Jamie Foxx with two scenes that are coaching classics.  The first scene involves Brown going on a sidelines diatribe towards his defense and a player encouraging him to calm down before he has a stroke, to which Brown replies, “I don’t get strokes Mother#######, I GIVE THEM”.   The second scene involves Brown addressing the team at halftime and using a chalkboard diagraming X’s and O’s, with the following gem: “Now you’re dumb enough, so we made it simple enough.  We made this #### real ####ing simple (as he pounds the chalk against the board)”.  Who among us couldn’t use that line at times in corporate America?