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What Caught My Eye: How Yogi Berra Could Have Helped an Englishman

A series of weekly outside-the-box news stories and the lessons they hold for recruiters, by TAtech CEO Peter Weddle.

Firm left with 18,000 England 'World Cup winners' T-shirts after gamble backfires | UK News | Sky News

He’s a football fan – what we call soccer in the States – but he would have been better off if his passion was a different game – baseball. Why? Because if UK businessman Karl Baxter had been entranced with balls and strikes instead of corner kicks and goals, he probably would have heard of Yogi Berra. And, if he had known of that famous philosopher of the diamond, he would undoubtedly also know that “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

You see, Mr. Baxter was so enthusiastic about England’s prospects of winning the World Cup, he had 18,000 t-shirts printed up with a special tribute to Three Lions prior to their match with France at the quarter-finals in Qatar. Proudly emblazoned across the back of his shirts were the words, “England, Cup Winners 2022,” “It's Finally Home” and “The Day It Came Home.”

It was meant to be a stirring souvenir of a special moment for the English side. Unfortunately, however, it didn’t work out that way. France beat England 2-1 in the match, ending England’s dream of winning the Cup. It also meant that Mr. Baxter’s confident gesture now joins “Dewey Defeats Truman” as an exemplar of thinking the contest is over before it actually is.

Mr. Baxter was disappointed in the outcome, of course, but he refused to be undone by this unhappy turn of events. He’s still selling the shirts on his website (at a discount) and offers the following advice to prospective customers of what he calls his unique item: “So wear it with pride, add it to your collection, use it to clean the windows…we don't know.”

What Can Recruiters Learn from Mr. Baxter’s Experience?

The recruiting process is long, labor-intensive and often stressful, for recruiters no less than job seekers. Fickle hiring managers, dithering candidates, off-again on-again requirements complicate and frustrate effectively finding, evaluating, selecting and selling candidates. So, when the right prospect finally accepts an offer, all most recruiters want to do is put a check mark in the “We won” box and move on.

It's an understandable point of view, but it’s also one that would benefit from the wisdom of Yogi Berra. There’s been more than a few words written about ghosting, particularly for scheduled interviews. What gets less attention, but is even more insidious is the growing incidence of new hires never showing up on their first day of work. The employer may think it’s over, but not so the individual who said “Yes.”

There’s been lots of speculation about what’s causing this behavior, but for recruiters working to fill reqs, the more important point is its impact on the perception of their performance. Hiring managers and the c-suite discount all the hard work that went into getting that initial acceptance of a job offer and look only at the final outcome: a vacancy that remains vacant.

So, what should recruiters do? Adopt a new strategy of re-recruiting. Continue the selling segment of the process even after a candidate has said “Yes.” Keep it up during the period before their first day of work and then ensure that HR and the work team they’ll be joining keep it going while they’re transiting the onboarding process. It’s a lot more work, to be sure, but it’s also the best way to avoid declaring victory before the outcome is secure.

Food for Thought,

If you’ve enjoyed this edition of “What Caught My Eye,” read some of Peter’s other posts at the TAtech Blog.

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.