Hire like a scout: Find your next All-Star player with baseball’s five-tool strategy

Scouting new talent for your team? Hiring can be tough, but one group of recruiters has it under control: professional baseball scouts. Baseball scouts evaluate most players (except pitchers) on five skills that make them successful in the field and at the plate:

  • Hitting for power
  • Hitting for average
  • Throwing
  • Speed
  • Fielding

Evaluating all position players by the same criteria helps determine fit on a roster. For example, if you need a power hitter and have a lot of solid defensive assets in the outfield, you can probably take on a strong hitter with an average glove.

Defining your team’s ‘five tools’ for success can help you determine best fit, too. Here are five tools you may want to measure when you meet your next job applicant.

Goal orientation: Bosses dig the long ball, too. If your team sets ambitious goals, ask applicants about past experiences with defining and achieving goals. A goal-oriented hire will put in extra effort to help the team walk off with a win.

Accountability: Baseball teams need consistent hitters to progress runners around the bases. The little things add up when you work with someone for years. Check references thoroughly to properly gauge accountability.

Teamwork: When a fielder throws out a runner, it’s known as an assist. Unlike arm strength, teamwork in the business world can be hard to measure, so encourage applicants to share specific examples of times they’ve worked with others to pull off key plays. This is another great topic to discuss with references.

Efficiency: Ball players need quick feet to steal bases. Fortunately for the less athletic among us, companies just need smart people to advance. Applicants who come prepared to discuss how they can improve workflows and resolve bottlenecks can help increase productivity.

Insight: Great fielders know how to read the ball as it flies (or hops) toward them. This is where experience and instinct meet. Interviewees who can anticipate current and future challenges may be your next business leaders.

What traits and skills matter most to your team? When you choose your own five tools (or three or six or nine), you may even have the good fortune to find the highly coveted five-tool player who excels at them all.