Pele of Brasil arguably the greatest footballer of all time

Pele of Brasil arguably the greatest footballer of all time

With the World Cup in Russia and myself re-reading the awesome book 'Soccernomics' based on the legendary 'Freakonomics' - there strikes (see what I did there) some fundamentals of dos & don'ts of hiring......

ONBOARDING: Many football clubs are quite happy to spend $27 million dollars on a player and have him move countries, uproot their families, change languages & cultures and expect them to just turn up and start scoring goals living out of a hotel room. What won't they spend money on? A relocation consultant or employing an in-house player liaison to settle the player in. Of course now the savvy clubs do - arranging houses, interacting with the partners, sorting out schools for their kids and so forth, and you can see the difference on the field and off with longer tenure for the player settling in. The same is relevant for your new software developer coming from overseas - do you provide legal help for immigration? Accomodation for when they first arrive? Is someone overseeing / managing the process?



One very astute insight that Clough & Taylor (Nottingham Forest) and Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) used back in the 80's was working out what the player's vice was. 'Let's hear your vice before you sign is it women, booze, drugs or gambling?' They would often buy these talented players at a discount then help them out using professional counsellors, often gaining an even larger amount of commitment and loyalty from the individual...quite an extreme example but interesting all the same.

So how is this related to IT recruiting? Know your individual players (not just your rock stars) and what actually motivates them - is it money for the mortgage? Or some flexibility to pick up their kids? Time off to travel? Juicy projects that the passionate dev & can delve very deeply into? The latest tech seminar or particular annual IT conference? A social team who love a team lunch or shouted the first couple round at Friday drinks!? Or organising fun team events like ten pin bowling, paint balling, a quiz night or mountain biking, or quieter catch ups.


There used to be very few Brasilians playing in the English premiership!? Apparently that's because they tended to hate the cold, speak a different language (Portuguese) and didn't fit the English drinking culture. That's why English teams recruited Scandinavians who tended not to be the big names, but were accustomed to cold weather and happy to drink pints down the pub.....interesting!?!? 

So what's your team / company culture? How do you define it and who's really going to fit in? What is the 'Culture Add'? Can they bring some diverse thinking? Some new ideas to your team?



When hiring, Olympique Lyon in France have a group of interested stakeholders who make the decision to recruit, rather than the classic English football manager who, in the words of the authors, tend to be short term dictators who will come in and spend millions until they're sacked. What OL did was place the decision-making with the director of football who had an ongoing role despite the coming and goings of short-term managers who were focused on short-term results. They took it even further using a group of key stakeholders, obtaining the opinion of many and taking the average of this rather than just one person hiring.  This approach can help to raise red flags if needed.


'Players lose you games, not tactics. There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.' - Brian Clough. 


So for any organisation whether it's a football team or a software house think about the people you're hiring and well, treat them like people! A little goes a long way..... 


If you're looking for a great gift check out the books 'Soccernomics' by Kuper & Szymanski or the classic 'Freakonomics' by Dubner & Levitt.


I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, development & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.