Sign of a Strong Employment Brand? Candidates Doing the Recruiting

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

There are good times to be a Michigan State Spartans fan.  In fact, if you were a member of the MSU Class of 2015, you've known nothing but success.  Michigan State is the first school in NCAA history to win four consecutive bowl games and reach the Sweet 16 in basketball for four consecutive years.

So, what has that meant to the Spartan brand?  As Head Football Coach Mark Dantonio says, "When we came here back in 2007, the reality of the situation was that we were selling hopes.  It's to a point now where we're selling results, and that's the big difference."

These results are translating into something unique: recruits selling the brand to others in the hope of joining them.

Class of 2016 members Cam Chambers, Abdul Adams, and Messiah deWeaver have created a Twitter account, @MSUDreamTeam2016, in the hopes of attracting others to play at Michigan State.

Chambers and offensive lineman Matt Allen (Hinsdale, Ill.) were MSU's only commitments at that point. Now the class stands at 12 verbals, is ranked in the top 10 nationally by every major recruiting service and appears poised for more prominent additions soon.

Receiver Donnie Corley (Detroit King), safety Kenney Lyke (Palatine, Ill.) and defensive ends Josh King (Darien, Ill.) and Auston Robertson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) are among the celebrated targets close to decisions and viewed as MSU leans by some analysts. Some may have privately chosen MSU already.

That was the case with deWeaver, long before his announcement. And all who pick the Spartans are added to an ongoing group text deWeaver started. That's where the "real" talk happens, not on the Twitter account.

"It seems like we're adding people to it every night," deWeaver said.

"I think people are not talking enough about the big story here, the group text message that is going on," said Steve Wiltfong, national recruiting analyst for "The Twitter account, other people do that and that is what people see publicly, but this is different. You want to go to college with people you enjoy being around. I believe recruiting is a game of inches, and this is another way Michigan State is capitalizing on every inch right now."

This kind of communication helping committed prospects recruit others "has predecessors," said Josh Helmholdt of, but "Michigan State is in the mold where they're perfecting it."

These are not employees who have been with the organization for years, experiencing the ups and downs of the business, and sharing their thoughts with a candidate.  These are future "employees" who will, for the most part, not join the organization full-time for at least a year.  They want quality workers to join them to make the organization a success.  They have already bought into the brand and can't wait to sell it to others.

So, as you look at the high school or college junior who just joined your organization on a part-time job or internship, are they espousing the virtues of your organization to their friends or on social media?  Do you have a DreamTeam2016 of your own in place?

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