UCLA and USC: What UCLA and USC learned from not hiring their first choice Coach

By Adam Mendler, CEO of The Veloz Group and the creator and host of Thirty Minute Mentors.

It is difficult to live in Los Angeles and not be criticized for being a UCLA or USC graduate. As a child in Los Angeles, I was a big fan of both UCLA and USC’s sports teams. Over the years, I also had the opportunity to witness the successes and failures as a student as well as as an alumni. It is interesting that the most successful head coaching hires each school’s athletic departments made in the last two decades was Pete Carroll, who was the head coach at USC’s Football program in 2000. Mick Cronin, head coach at UCLA’s Men’s Basketball program in 2019, was not well received. Although neither candidate was the preferred choice by the fan base or the schools, both the coaches were able to win over skepticals through building winning teams and leading them. These two examples can be a great source of inspiration for leaders and entrepreneurs.

1. You could make the best choice by making your last decision

USC hired Pete Carroll, and UCLA hired Mick Cronin after their preferred candidates rejected them. Carroll was USC’s fourth choice and Cronin was only hired after an exhaustive list of coaches said no. It didn’t really matter that they had been hired. We are business leaders and entrepreneurs who judge ourselves on how we perform and evaluate other employees in the company based on that performance. It is crucial to remember that even if your initial choice does not work out, your second choice may be the best. The hiring process is imperfect and will not always result in the most qualified candidates. You should give every candidate a shot and make sure they are treated as your top choice.

2. 2.Look beyond the traditional markers of success

Overemphasizing traditional indicators of success is a common error made by organizations in all industries, not just college athletic programs. You may find it comforting to choose candidates who have attended top universities and graduated from prestigious businesses. These candidates are already recognized by high-ranking decision-makers. You have co-signed your hiring decision. If things don’t go according to plan, you will be able to easily and naturally explain why. This is not the right way to guide and it’s the wrong way of hiring.

Even if they have the most impressive pedigree, it may not be the right fit for the job or your organization’s culture. They may also not succeed as well as candidates with key characteristics that can be harder to quantify, like work ethic, drive and attitude. Although Carroll and Cronin weren’t the preferred applicants to either school due to their lack of resumes or pedigrees, they did possess the necessary attributes and skills, as shown by their exceptional recruiting, talent development, and coaching in-game at UCLA and USC, respectively, that allowed them excel on the job.

3. Do not make assumptions about the interest of candidates

It is normal for hiring managers and recruiters to assume that potential candidates are interested in the job posting. Albert Einstein said that “Assumptions can be made, but most assumptions are incorrect.” Entrepreneurs and leaders should remember a simple rule when recruiting or hiring. Ask instead of assuming. Mick Cronin, a Cincinnati native, was firmly rooted at the University of Cincinnati and it is easy to assume that he will never leave. He was a similar to Carroll and jumped at the chance to lead and turn around LA’s iconic college sports teams. Reach out to everyone you’re interested in when hiring. It is not good to hear “no” and it’s worse than that. You never know when they will respond “yes.”

Inc.com columnsists’ opinions are not the views of Inc.com.

Publited at Thu, 12 August 2021 10:49.05 +0000

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