How to Recruit a Dream Team Like Coach K’s?

Reminiscing about the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team,” considered by some to be the best assemblage of sports stars ever, coach Mike Krzyzewski asked 15,000 HR managers, “Wouldn’t you like to hire that team’s recruiter?”

“Coach K” inspired attendants at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Convention and Exposition held recently in Las Vegas. Coach K is the long-time coach of basketball at Duke University, where he became the winningest basketball coach in Division I history. He was also assistant coach of the Olympic “Dream Team” in 1992, and coach of two subsequent gold medal winners.

On Inspiring Your Team

Coach K said that he played “The Star-Spangled Banner” to his Olympic team before the games, and would say, “One of these games, you’re going to hear that song twice. The second time will be when you’re standing on the podium receiving your gold medals.”

Three Concepts of Leadership

Coach K advanced three key concepts that leaders must possess:

  • Adaptability
  • Ownership
  • Feelings


“You must be incredibly adaptable,” he says. He’s known for his ability to change, as does anyone who does something well for 40 years, and whose team changes somewhat every year and totally turns over at least every 4 years.


At the end of the first “Dream Team” practice, Coach K got the team together and introduced his players to the team’s support staff. Make sure everyone feels important, he says. You don’t want any “diva-esque” ball player saying, “Hey you,” or “Yo,” when addressing any member of the team, including the person mopping up the locker room or collecting the towels. Coach K’s team members are expected to know all the support staffers.

Usually, you only know these people because of a tragic loss or a fire, he says; you should know the person before.

Coach K’s standards:

  • Always look the person you are talking to in the eye.
  • Always tell each other the truth.

I don’t have rules, he says, because rules are things you have to obey. He wants standards that always apply. His Olympic teams set standards, including always being on time for meetings, and never having a bad practice. Since the team members established the standards, they abided by them.

Ever wonder how you can better use social media for recruiting? Start on Monday, August 31, 2015, with a new interactive webinar, LinkedIn: How to Develop Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy. Learn More.

Kobe Plays Pure Defense

To show his mettle as a defender, Kobe Bryant said he wanted the toughest person on each team to guard. Kobe guarded well, but to prove a point, didn’t shoot.

K had to say to Kobe, one of the best shooters of all time, “Kobe, please shoot.”


You must be “heart and soul” with your teams, says Coach K. They have to feel what they are doing and feel why they are doing it. En route to Duke’s 2015 championship, the team endorsed four E’s:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Energy
  • Emotion
  • Eight (the size of the team by the end of the season)

And it was that number eight player who fired up the team at the critical moment in the final game. With a loud and heart-felt LET’S GO! Coach K turned the 15,000 attendees of the SHRM Annual Convention and Exposition into his team as he passionately repeated those words to close his presentation.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, wellness tips from another SHRM keynote speaker, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Good leadership and management is just one part of the balancing act that is recruiting. Another involves using the latest trends to your advantage. Social media presents a unique and vast advantage for hiring managers looking for the most qualified job candidates. But, only if you know how to properly—and strategically—use them. Fortunately there’s timely help in the form of BLR’s new webinar—LinkedIn: How to Develop Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy. In just 60 minutes, on Monday, August 31, you’ll learn everything you need to know about using LinkedIn to maximize your recruiting practices.

Register today for this interactive webinar.

Make the most of social media recruiting. Join us Monday, August 31, 2015, for a new interactive webinar, LinkedIn: How to Develop Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy. Earn 1 hour in HRCI Recertification Credit and 1 hour in SHRM Professional Development Credit. Register Now..

By participating in this interactive webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The top 5 sites to become familiar with when sourcing job candidates online—and why LinkedIn may be your most powerful weapon when it comes to sourcing the right candidates for your organization.
  • A tour of LinkedIn – what it does well, what it doesn’t do well, and what’s changed since the last time you used it.
  • Should you pony up for a premium LinkedIn account? Is it worth the additional fees?
  • Techniques for proper job posting on LinkedIn.
  • What candidates can tell about your searches, and how to avoid tipping your hand on your LinkedIn activities.
  • How to use LinkedIn to help you create a better, more effective HR marketing plan.
  • The importance of searching LinkedIn thoroughly, from an internal and external perspective.  Be ready to dust off your basic Boolean!
  • Tips and tools to augment your LinkedIn results to develop more robust candidate profile and contact information.
  • And much, much more!

Register now for this event risk-free.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central)

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)

Approved for Recertification Credit and Professional Development Credit

This program has been approved for 1 credit hour toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

Join us on Monday, August 31, 2015—you’ll get the in-depth LinkedIn: How to Develop Your Social Media Recruiting Strategy webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

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Train Your Entire Staff

As with all BLR®/HR Hero® webinars:

  • Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
  • Get your (and their) specific phoned-in or e-mailed questions answered in Q&A sessions that follow the presentation.

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