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As someone who was born and raised in Atlanta, this image is still haunting.

For most, the Patriots amazing comeback win over the Falcons in the Superbowl represents a “never say die” mentality, or that anything is possible if one believes in oneself. Miracles are possible, just keep grinding, etc. One ticket to cliché city please, with a stop-over at coach-speak town.

In recruitment, which is sales but not sales, HR but not HR, coaching and relationship development but not, analogies are a slippery slope. No single description can describe the complexities and singular truths surrounding talent acquisition and attraction.

Sports metaphors have always struck  chord with me and the events and eventual outcome of the most recent Superbowl represent in many ways how the recruitment process can go so so right and oh so wrong.

The Falcons played a near flawless first three quarters. Similarly, I recently interviewed a stellar candidate that had a significant reason to make a change, possessed the right skills that my client was looking for in the perfect industry and location, and would receive a significant increase in responsibility (and compensation!). After three interviews, we were eagerly anticipating an offer. In other words, it was 28-3 and the game was over. Right?

The ever-present danger in getting too far ahead in any sport or competition is losing your focus. Surely the game is won? The deal is closed? Do we really need to stick to the finer points of our game plan, our recruitment plan? Ask the Falcons if they should have run the ball more in the 4th quarter. Ask me if I should have asked better questions in debriefing my candidate after the final interview to vet out any final concerns.

Closing out the final part of any deal is crucial and the differentiator between an experienced individual and rookie. And, much like getting to the Superbowl, job offers don’t come along every day (unless you are part of the Patriots, which is a whole other article). So remember to play all 4 quarters, and never stop closing the gap, no matter your profession.

Author: Kyle Johnstone

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