Lessons From “Moneyball” That Can Teach You How To Be More Deliberate in Your Hiring

“Moneyball” is a sports movie based on the book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis. It details the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics going from having the worst record in Major League Baseball with a low budget to setting a record with 20 wins in a row. 

What does a baseball team’s story have to do with hiring? Well, General Manager Billy Beane faced the same issue as many hiring managers in different industries – trying to compete for top talent, when you don’t have a large budget. Check out these lessons from “Moneyball” that can teach you how to be more deliberate in your hiring:


Zero in on the Core Issue

In “Moneyball” the Oakland A’s were not in a position to recruit talent in the traditional manner of going after big names because they simply did not have the funds to afford it compared to big-budget teams like the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. So instead of trying to buy specific players, they opted to try to recruit players based on their statistical performance only and ignored other factors, like age or marketability. 

When you are in a tight labor market, you have to approach your hiring strategy with the utmost clarity. If you are in a disadvantageous position, you must target the core issue you are trying to solve by filling the position. Then, hone in on finding candidates with that particular area of expertise, rather than being concerned with “nice to have” qualifications. 


Experience Isn’t Everything

When Billy Beane was trying to put together a winning team on a low budget, he brought in Peter Brand, a recent graduate with an economics degree, to help – even though he did not have a baseball background. Having this fresh perspective from someone outside the industry allowed Billy to successfully pivot to a new method for assessing talent by using data to make predictions on which players would be most likely to bring in runs. 

This is an example of why being set on specific experience doesn’t necessarily mean that a candidate will be a successful hire. Instead, think outside the box and look for potentials, like coachability or other transferable skills, to reach a new set of prospective candidates instead of competing for ones who seem to have the perfect resumes. 


Adapt to Overcome Adversity

The 2002 Oakland A’s season is so remarkable to be adapted into a book and movie because of the inspirational nature of stepping outside of the status quo and succeeding against all odds. Billy Beane lost three-star players to free agency prior to the season, and it looked like all hope was lost, but he adapted his strategy and stuck with it. 

The current labor market is a comparable situation – your industry may be facing a talent shortage or major skills gap, and your organization may not have the budget to provide as high of salary offers to candidates as your competitors. However, you still have an opportunity to adapt your offers to be compelling in a different way, such as offering more flexible scheduling, remote work options, or a positive workplace environment, to entice top talent away from big paychecks but rigid cultures. 


Land Top Talent for Your Team

Find qualified candidates by working with The Hire Firm for your recruitment needs. With nearly three decades of experience in recruitment and staffing in New Mexico, The Hire Firm will find top talent who will be a successful long-term fit. Contact us today to learn more about our employer services. 

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