By: Megan Meisse, Prodigy Sports
With many NFL teams making staffing changes this offseason, the Indianapolis Colts were another team looking for the person who can lead their team to success for the upcoming 2018 season. Now that the hype of Super Bowl LII has settled, there has been more buzz about the New England Patriots, outside of their tough loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. It has been several days since Patriots Offensive Coordinator, Josh McDaniels, made the decision to stay in New England, passing on the Indianapolis Colts’ head coaching position. One thing the Patriots did win within these last few weeks is the guarantee of McDaniels staying on their coaching staff.
After having fired their former coach, Chuck Pagano, the Colts were looking at many successors for his position from multiple teams including the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and of course, the New England Patriots. All signs pointed to McDaniels to be the lead candidate – he was offered the opportunity and agreed in principle to accept the role.
In a short amount of time, McDaniels changed his mind and decided not to accept the Indianapolis Colts’ head-coaching job and remain the Offensive Coordinator of the Patriots. Without much explanation from McDaniels on his reasoning, his decision blindsided many, including Colt’s ownership, who had announced the day before that McDaniels was scheduled to be introduced by the Colts as their new head coach.
As recruiters in the sports industry, we speak to candidates daily, whether it be prospecting, interviewing, or negotiating offers similar to this situation. With a database of 10,000+, candidates from various backgrounds, experience and compensation levels, and business disciplines, express interest in potential job opportunities and go through the initial application and vetting process through to successfully being placed into a new position. Situations like McDaniels frequently happen; a candidate goes through the entire process with us, as well as the hiring organization and unfortunately, back out at the last minute. Although the candidate may think removing their name from consideration is the best move for them at the time, he or she may not realize the short and long-term ramifications behind their decision.
If you are involved in a job search process, be sure to talk to everyone involved during the recruitment and keep the key stakeholders informed every step of the way. Educating yourself as much as possible on an opportunity is critical, in addition to knowing the culture and environment you are walking into. Aside from knowing the basic specs of a role from a job description, recruiters need to know the ins and outs of the organization they are representing, as an extension of that brand.
Often as recruiters, we see candidates back out of opportunities at the last minute, despite our best efforts. Although this happens, there is a right and wrong way to handle these situations. The most important way to properly handle is not to wait. Let the employer know as soon as you realize you no longer want to accept the position. Be tasteful in how you communicate with the hiring manager you were working with. Without saying anything negative about the company, explain the situation professionally, with emotions aside. If the opportunity just did not make sense in the long run, feel free to share that and be transparent so they can understand your reasoning. However, if another opportunity presented itself instead, be cautious not to burn bridges or give too much information away that the other company you are pursuing may be weary of. Finally, always apologize for the inconvenience and show appreciation for their consideration given the time, energy, and money invested into the process.
Aside from the candidate turning down an offer for a new job in an appropriate way, as a current employer of this person, you are just as important. It should not take your employee to come to you at the very last minute when they are telling you of their departure and have another opportunity lined up. If you value your star employees and do not want them to leave, then treat them like your star employees. Give them reason to stay within your company and help them grow to their full potential. Yes, at certain times, everyone may move on in life to something new or a growth opportunity but give them a reason to want to stay while they are currently employed working there.
Create an inviting corporate culture with open discussions to voice concerns or share current ideas. If employees get the chance to contribute to conversations, they generally feel more of a willingness to participate, collaborate and have more discussions that can help the company to grow. Value the opinions of your staff, even if they are not the same views as your own. Provide opportunities for your employees to grow and take on new challenges, keeping them engaged. Celebrate the win by encouraging one another to be the best versions of themselves and motivate those who need help. Create an environment that embraces unique and different ideas, because without them it will be difficult to retain notable talent. Build a culture with different personalities but with the same values. It is critical to establish a successful corporate environment in your organization, whether you are the CEO or an intern.
The Indianapolis Colts have since hired their new head coach, Frank Reich, who has agreed to a five-year deal. Reich was the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles over the past two seasons and after a tremendous Super Bowl win, he is returning to his roots with Indianapolis, having started in coaching with the Colts back in 2008. Confident in their decision, the Colts put McDaniels behind and look forward to seeing what Reich will bring to the team. Similar, should this happen to a company by their top candidate, know there are other great additions to your team out there. As for candidates, understand that although it may be the best decision in your mind at the time, realize there are other people who are affected by your decision and handle it in the best way as to not jeopardize your brand.
As Senior Recruiting Associate, Megan Meisse works across Prodigy Sports’ executive search division, handling various clients across the sports and entertainment industries. Aside from her executive search role at Prodigy, Meisse also handles digital initiatives and content creation for Prodigy Sports.