Recruiting When Money is NOT the Object - The Case of Dwight Howard

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time for an #8ManRotation Post

For the most part, firms compete for talent on the basis of salary - if you pay more than the next guy, you usually win out.  When recruiting ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia, the New York Yankees made a major splash by offering $40 million more than other teams.

But, what do you do when money is not the centerpiece of the discussion?  With free agency bidding opening yesterday, take the current recruitment of mercurial NBA center Dwight Howard.   Unlike most organizations, the NBA has a salary cap with a maximum contract that can be offered.  In other words, all 30 NBA teams could offer Howard the same salary, and not a dollar more.

With that in mind, what can a team do to make their case?

  1. Is the boss someone you want to work for?  The Los Angeles Clippers recently brought in coach Doc Rivers from the Boston Celtics in order to retain free agent star guard Chris Paul.
  2. Can you reach the pinnacle of success in a short period of time?  Obviously, the goal for any NBA team is to win the Championship....does your team provide the best opportunity to do so in the next 2-4 years? 
  3. Can you show that the talent is truly wanted?  If you are the Los Angeles Lakers, do you put up billboards pleading for the talent to stay?  Do you photoshop your employee's image over iconic locations in your city?
  4. Are there other ways to make those salary dollars go further?  The Houston Rockets might be attractive to Howard, as, unlike California, the state of Texas has no state income tax.  Or, if you're Dallas, you have a restaurant willing to offer free chicken fingers for life (nearly $200,000 in food that Howard would not have to pay).
So, take a look at the recruiting efforts in your organization.  What would convince an applicant to come to your organization when salary is not the main driver?

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