How Esports Teams Recruit Players – Complete Guide to Recruitment

When it comes to joining an esports team as an aspiring professional player, the one question you may have before you start is how do esports teams recruit players and how can you become someone an esports team actually wants to recruit.

Luckily you came to the right place. As someone who as worked for an esports team in the past and has been involved with the recruitment side of things, I know a thing or two when it comes to recruiting esports pro players and content creators.

How do esports teams recruit? Esports teams evaluate the performance of a player, do a complete background check and determine their ROI from acquiring the player. If the player is suitable, the esports team would reach out to the player over email or through the player’s representing agent.

In this article, we will talk about the factors esports teams look at when recruiting players and what you can do as a player to become more valuable in the eyes of an esports team.

How Esports Teams Recruit Players

When esports teams are recruiting players, they are:

  • Looking at their skills and in-game metrics
  • Looking at growth trend and player age
  • Evaluating their streams metrics
  • Evaluating their personality, reaction to defeat and mentality
  • Looking at who’s available in the market
  • Determining their ROI from an esports scene

Let’s dive deeper into each of these elements and explain why exactly esports teams look at these characteristics and what about them are favorable.

Looking at Their Skills and In-Game Metrics

The first and most obvious one is the overall skills of a player and their in-game performance metrics. This is by far the only thing teams look at, but you are right if you think it’s an important one.

Esports teams want players that are skillful for the obvious reason that skillful players help these teams win. What people misunderstand is that people believe teams want to win for the prize pool. Although yes, teams would like the prize pool, no team owner is betting his salary on winning a tournament.

Instead, what actually happens is by doing well in a tournament, more people watch you and talk about your team. That results in more of your team being known in the public. That overall results in bigger and better sponsorships for the team.

Therefore, with that understanding, you can now see why having the best possible players isn’t the number one priority.

It’s great to get as good of a player as possible, but instead what a business is looking at is their ROI from the investment. For example, if a team had to choose 2 players. One player was really good but had no personality or didn’t stream and the other player was slightly worst but had an amazing personality and amazing stream metrics, no esports team with half a brain would take the former over the latter unless they are really close to winning the cup and they need every slight advantage they could get.

With that understanding, the next bullet points will start to make sense to you.

Looking at Growth Trend and Player Age

When we talk about ROI, for an esports team, the ROI is how much money can they make off of a player and how much would it cost them to acquire them.

That’s where growth and age come into play (AKA scalability). Is this asset an appreciating or depreciating asset? Is this player getting better or worst? Is the player reaching his age ceiling soon?

If a player is improving each day, then if a team were to pick him up when it isn’t his best, they can get him for a lower price and they will benefit from a greater ROI as he improves while being at the team.

Additionally, if the player is young, he not only has more time to improve but also has a long career which will save time for the team in the future from having to scout for a new player.

This is the perspective esports teams are using. They are businesses and need to make money, they have to look at every acquisition as a money wager.
Evaluating their streams metrics.

What is ROI for an esports team when it comes to plays? If you remember, ROI for an esports team is the number of eyeballs a player can produce the team by their performance in a tournament.

Okay, now let’s say there is another way to produce eyeballs for the team, would that increase the ROI? The answer is yes.

Esports teams evaluate the number of viewers a player has if he streams and his overall social media metrics.

Upon acquiring the player, the player will also sign off the rights for the team to use his social media for the team’s sponsorship promotion. As a result, more money for the team.

Therefore, when picking up players, performance isn’t everything. It’s most things, but it isn’t everything. A player with good streaming metrics may be more valuable than a better player with no streaming metrics depending on the team’s strategic plan at that time (for example, if they really want to come first, the latter in this situation is better than the former).

Evaluating Their Personality, Reaction to Defeat and Mentality

When it comes to picking up players, the same thing when it comes to hiring employees, you have to remember people are humans. Humans are unpredictable and difficult to manage. Therefore you want the best possible person for the job.

Likewise, players need to have the right mentality to be valuable to the team.

The biggest thing I’m sure all the readers are thinking about right now is toxicity. There are many great players on the market for many games that aren’t getting signed by an esports team due to how toxic they are. The reality is no team wants to sign on a player that’s toxic.

Why? Because toxicity hurts communication, makes the team less motivated to win and causes the other players to become more toxic. Not to mention it causes problems in the press and will make other players less likely to want to continue playing.

Additionally, how a player reacts to defeat is important. That’s where watching a player’s stream comes in handy. Do they rage or are they thinking about what they could have done better?

Do they blame their teammates or do they accept that they probably could have played that better? These are seriously all elements teams take into account when looking to pick up players.

Lastly for this section, the mentality of the player is important. Do they have a winner’s mentality or a for-fun mentality? Are they going to put in the long hours or do they play for fun? Do they obsess over how they can improve and become better or is it just casual for them?

All these human elements are hard to control and quantify. That said, teams will look at these elements, especially when signing on larger player deals for their team to ensure they get the best possible player and get the greatest ROI.

Looking at Who’s Available in The Market

Another factor that’s important that most people don’t realize is that esports teams have a pretty good understanding of which top teams are unassigned to a team and are open to the market.

Not to say they know them all, that’s where scouting comes in, but when teams break up or don’t get resigned, other teams are aware of that and are ready to pounce at an opportunity at a moment’s notice.

One of my colleagues has to wake up late at night sometimes to quickly approach and look to close a team that just publically went back into the market.

That said, to determine who they want to acquire that falls under their strategic plan, they need to base that on who else is open currently in the market. Is there someone else that may be better? Do we want to pick a risky player that could be hit-or-miss or pick a safe reliable player?

These are all elements discussed beforehand for the team to decide who they want to acquire.

Determining Their ROI From an Esports Scene

Lastly, before a team even considers if they want a player for a specific game, they need to decide if that game’s scene fits into their strategic plan and provides enough ROI to them?

If a scene is too small or doesn’t fall within their strategic plan (let’s say for example they want their Q3 year to be focused on making a bigger impact on the sports simulation community of esports), then they won’t even bother scouting or acquiring players for that game (unless it really really made sense for them).

How to Become a Player That Esports Teams Want to Recruit

To become a valuable player that esports teams want to recruit, you must:

  • Improve Your Skills
  • Always Be Improving and Growing
  • Stream and Grow Your Social Media Metrics
  • Stop Being Toxic
  • Take Ownership For Your Mistakes
  • Have a Winner’s Mindset
  • Protect Your Personal Brand
  • Be Competitive in a Game With a Strong Competitive Scene

With that all said, I’ll do you the courtesy of breaking down all of these bullet points further to give you the best possible chances of getting recruited by an esports team.

Improve Your Skills

The most obvious is to improve your skills. Become better to become more valuable overall as a player. The more valuable you are, the more teams will want you and the more teams will be willing to pay for you.

Take this seriously. Rewatch your gameplay vods. Reflect on your mistakes. Look at where you can improve. Track your metrics.

Do the right things and work hard at it to become more valuable and be recruited as an esports player.

Always Be Improving and Growing

Speaking of being more valuable, a great way to do that is by improving and growing as a player.

Remember how we already mentioned that the more a player is growing, a team can see that as a way to get a good price on the player assuming they keep growing at that trend.

However, since you as a player also know your growth, you can bring that to the negotiating table to get more money. Therefore, you become what we refer to as a risky investment.

If you continue to grow the way you do, you will produce a greater ROI for the team than any stagnant player would. But if you start to plateau with your growth, the team will lose money overall.

That said, growing and improving players are always more valuable to the marketplace than stagnant players. Don’t let the word “risky” make you think it’s a bad thing, it’s really not. You want to improve as much as possible.

How? I already outlined it in the point above, but really determining what metrics you want to improve, setting benchmarks and hitting those benchmarks. Grinding 12 to 14 hour days. Thinking about the game and where you can improve all the time.

Those kinds of things will make you better and better.

Stream and Grow Your Social Media Metrics

Eyeballs, eyeballs, eyeballs! Teams want eyeballs to make money. You can bring more eyeballs by having good streaming and social media metrics.

This will not only make you more likely to be picked up by an esports team but also make you overall more valuable and be paid more for your increased value.

This is smart even for an already signed pro player to do to get paid as much as possible.

In fact, some pro players have to rely on the income they get from streaming and their own personal sponsorships as the esports teams don’t pay as much as you’d typically think.

Stop Being Toxic

Stop being toxic! If you want to go pro, you seriously need to stop flaming your team, your chat and especially on stream where a team’s scout can watch you from.

As we already mentioned, there are many toxic players open on the market that aren’t being touched by teams because they are just not worth the baggage they bring with them and how they negatively impact the rest of the team.

Not to mention that PR they’d bring to the team assuming they picked them up. If this is you, work to stop this.

Take Ownership For Your Mistakes

Want to stop being toxic and simultaneously improve your gameplay. Start taking ownership of everything that goes wrong. Accept the fact that whenever you lose (and win), there were always things you could have done better.

“But it was my teammate’s fault. I was doing well but they threw” I hear you thinking. Well, that may be true but I don’t care. Why. Because imagine if the best player in the world was playing your match. Would they have lost? No? Why no? Huhhhhhhhhhh. Is it because…. maybe…. just maybe there was something more you could have done to win?

Even the best player in the world would have made enough mistakes where he himself would admit he has much to improve on. Even Faker dies. Even SurgicalGoblin loses.

Changing your perspective will help you improve faster and become significantly less toxic.

Have a Winner’s Mindset

Look to win. Your objective is to win. Don’t ask yourself if you can pull this off, ask yourself how you will pull this off.

A winner’s mentality is what every team wants. Every team wants a Micheal Jordan or a Kobe Bryant. They want people with the mindset of doing as best as possible because that’s all they care about.

Embody that and with a bit of natural talent, I can confidently say you’ll be going places.

Protect Your Personal Brand

This one should be obvious yet I have to spell it out for so many people, it boggles my mind. Don’t be racist. Don’t be sexist. Don’t be homophobic. I honestly don’t care if you are a racist, sexist homophobe, just don’t be public about it and let others know.

Don’t let teams think by picking you up that may hurt their team’s overall branding. That is the perfect way to not ever be picked up.

Furthermore, don’t get cancelled. Don’t talk about politics, I don’t care what you believe nor does anyone else besides people that want to cancel you. Once you are cancelled, any possible career in the entertainment industry (and yes, esports falls under the entertainment industry), you are completely done.

No chance. I don’t care if it’s legal. Don’t date a 17-year-old, even if you are 19. You don’t want to do anything to risk your professional career. Especially after working so hard and being a promising individual, don’t risk it by making bad choices.

Be Competitive in a Game With a Strong Competitive Scene

Lastly, this one is an obvious one but one that most of you reading this can’t fully control, but just be a valuable person in a less crowded valuable market.

Like, don’t expect to be picked up by an esports team as the best player in the world. In a more practical sense, think of the players that moved from CS: GO to Valorant and are having a lot more success.

Or how about Ninja went he went from Halo to Fortnite.

Make smart moves to be valuable. Maybe you play League of Legends and main mid. Well, jg is a less crowded role, have you considered changing roles if you are having trouble being recruited by an esports team?

Becoming more valuable by putting yourself in a strategically favorable spot will really aid you to get one step closer to being recruited by an esports team.