Hiring Lessons From UT Football

I love the University of Tennessee.  I am blessed to have two degrees from UT.  Over the years UT and its sports teams have given me many joyous times.  Lately, those teams have given me many unhappy, angry and frustrated times.  And now UT’s most recent attempt to hire a  head football coach has given me material for a blog post.

By now everyone knows that UT offered its head coaching job to Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano and the offer was accepted.  When news of the offer leaked UT fans revolted on social media and protested on campus.  Amid all of the backlash UT rescinded its offer.

So what can employers learn from these events (besides social media is powerful)?

Do Your Due Diligence-  UT claims it thoroughly vetted Schiano before making him an offer.  If that is accurate one has to seriously question why he was made an offer.  A quick google search on Schiano reveals an allegation that he knew about Jerry Sandusky’s sexual assault of a young boy while the two coached at Penn State and multiple allegations about Schiano’s strained relationships with his players while a college and NFL coach.

Employers should always thoroughly research their candidates.  Some employers use formal background checks.  At a minimum, a proper internet search should be conducted.

Know Your Audience –  We do not know if the allegations against Schiano are true.  But looking solely at the objective data, he would have been, at best,  a square peg in a round hole as the head football coach at UT.  He would not have been accepted by the fans, as evidenced by the social media backlash and campus protests.

Employers must know their audience too.  For example, if you are hiring someone to lead the sales team, you have to know whether he or she has the skill set and personality to lead your team.  If your current team responds better to positive reinforcement and praise, hiring a highly critical, micro-manager likely will not motivate that team to achieve better results.

Don’t Rush It-   Loyal readers will recall me saying generally you should “Hire Slow and Fire Fast”.  By hiring slow you take the time to vet the candidate and make sure you are hiring the right person.  There are lots of big-time college football jobs open now and no one else is making an effort to hire Schiano.  UT should have considered that before it rushed to hire him.  The Vols also rushed it in the past when they hired Derek Dooley.  They would be wise not to rush this hire as they regroup from the Schiano fiasco.

Talk To The Right People – There are conflicting reports as to whether certain members of the UT search committee had input on the Schiano hiring.  Employers always want to get input from the key members of the management team.  This would include HR, the President/CEO , and the head of the department where the employee will work.

Follow these lessons and your hiring decisions will be more successful than UT’s decision to hire Schiano.  Now, for all Vol fans, lets hope UT’s next hire is the right hire!

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One thought on “Hiring Lessons From UT Football

  1. Randy Inklebarger says:

    Great points Chad. Painful lessons!

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