How to use the new Recruitment Focus in FM23

Across Football Manager 2023, there have been enhancements which align in-game actions with how real-life clubs operate more so than in any previous edition. 

Working with a variety of clubs and contacts across the globe, insight into how teams utilise their scouting network and complete player transfers has resulted in a fully updated scouting system for FM23. The main product of this is the brand new Recruitment Focus.

In this article, FM Stag and Dan Gear take us through what the Recruitment Focus is, how it works and how to get the best out of it to help with your player recruitment

How to use the new Recruitment Focus in FM23


The Recruitment Focus is the ability to send your Scouts out on specific Assignments with specific instructions to look for particular requirements. This could be players in a certain age range, of a minimum Potential Ability level, located in a particular part of the world or notably impressive performance in certain statistics, like Progressive Passes or Key Tackles.

During an Active Focus and once it is complete, you will see a list of recommended results who fit the criteria which has been set. You will also helpfully see any players who were strong contenders for recommendations, but who perhaps only narrowly missed out and are therefore considered a Near Match. They are always worth a quick review.


When you first join a club as manager, the Staff – Responsibilities screen will show you who is responsible for Assigning Scouts. If you leave this to your Director of Football or Chief Scout, your team of Scouts will be automatically out there in your Scouting Range already looking for players to recommend via various Recruitment Focus assignments. If you take control of this responsibility yourself, you can set up your own Focuses, which is where the real fun begins.

If you head to the Scouting – Recruitment Focus screen, you will see the various instructions your colleague has already set for your roaming Scouts. In this case for Borussia Dortmund, there are various Focuses already Active and generating recommendations for you to consider. 


Once you take control of Assigning Scouts yourself, you can get creative with your Recruitment Focus choices. In essence, you can shape your future playing squad exactly how you want to. 

Remember though that you’ll need to try and satisfy both the Board and Supporters with your transfer policy. In the modern game, satisfying the club hierarchy and the expectant fans off the pitch is almost as important as winning games of football on it.


Before we set up our own Focuses, let’s take a quick look at those Board and Supporter expectations from the welcome messages in our Inbox or on the Club Vision page.


Before we even look at our existing Borussia Dortmund squad to highlight any gaps or weaknesses that we may need to recruit for, we already know that it would be wise to try and sign players of German nationality and those under the age of 21 for the first team. Also worth noting is that both the Board and Supporter Culture expect us to play attacking football.

This gives us an excellent base to start from when considering how best to scout the transfer market.


At Borussia Dortmund, we have managed until the end of the year with the Scouting Assignments delegated to our Director of Football, and they have been steadily exploring our existing network looking for talent, without us taking control and pushing them in any specific direction. With the January transfer window ahead and early thoughts of the long-term squad-building strategy creeping into our minds, it’s as good a time as any to take control of this Responsibility and set some Recruitment Focuses up ourselves. 

To do so, navigate to the Scouting – Recruitment Focus screen and click Create Recruitment Focus.


Considering all of the information we gathered earlier and having reviewed our playing squad, we’re going to set up two Recruitment Focuses. One for a first-team quality striker and then one for a depth option in central defence.

In the screen above, the ST position has been selected and you’ll notice that the Focus has helpfully suggested looking for an Advanced Forward, as that is the role we use in our currently selected Tactic. We’ve changed the minimum proficiency at the bottom left to Decent as to not exclude anyone who may be a more natural Poacher or Target Forward but who may fit our requirements anyway. 

The Minimum Current Ability has been set to two-and-a-half stars, the age range limited to 32 and the Priority as Ongoing. Selecting Ongoing instructs the Scouts to keep looking for players to fit this Focus until they are definitively told to stop. No regional focus has been selected here as we’re happy for the Scouts to look across our entire scouting network for the best recommendations. 


Immediately from those players who have been scouted already, we have a handy list of seven recommendations to initially consider. Now given that the Club Vision includes looking for German players, instantly VfL Wolfsburg’s Lukas Nmecha stands out and is added to our Shortlist. 

To move forward, we right-clicked on him and asked that we Fully Scout Player (Until Full Knowledge). This allows us to make a fully informed decision on which of those two players to pursue, or if waiting for more recommendations is the best approach.


Next, let’s set up the Centre Back Recruitment Focus. This time we’ve selected either D (C) position on the pitch on the left, turned the Minimum Current Ability down to five grey stars and set the Minimum Potential Ability to two-and-a-half stars. This way we will capture players in the Recommendations who at the very least are considered by our scouting team to have the potential to have a ‘fairly good rating for the senior team.’ Using the Further Details menu, we’ve set the required nationality as German, as this will help us to satisfy the Board and Supporter expectations.


Within four weeks, our Striker Recruitment Focus yielded 34 results - 12 Recommendations and 22 Near Matches. As well as the previously mentioned Nmecha, we now have a hand-picked group of strikers to pick from. 

Ultimately, we scouted 10 of the new results until full knowledge and settled on Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram as our top pick to pursue as a new Borussia Dortmund addition.

Our Centre Back Focus was similarly successful with 26 suitable results found in total. Dimitrie Deumi Nappi is an 18-year-old left-footed German Central Defender with high Determination and excellent Jumping Reach. On paper, he may be the exact prospect we need to fill our squad gaps and please the board and the Borussia Dortmund supporters.

These were two quick examples of how setting some criteria on a Recruitment Focus and letting it run for just a month uncovered some very promising potential additions who look like they’d be a good fit for our club. When you run multiple Focuses across multiple areas and grow your network over time, it really is the best way to send out that fishing net and gather recommended results you can then take a closer look at before you make key recruitment decisions.



1)    Have a look at your Scouting Coverage. Why not set up a particular Recruitment Focus which sends your Scouts with the highest Adaptability attribute (this helps them settle more quickly) to countries you currently have little or no knowledge in? Expand your Scouting Range organically and over time by using different Focuses to cover other areas.

2)    Not seeing enough recommendations? The Recruitment Focus is best thought of as a large fishing net in the sea. It may not land you with three perfect targets immediately that are within budget for that position or role. That would take all the fun and realism out of the process. 

Our advice is not to be too limiting with your criteria. If you tell the Scouts they should only recommend players aged under 18 with five star potential, you are casting into a very small pond. Relax your criteria and then drill down to find the perfect signing in the results with further scouting. Also consider setting the Focus to ‘Ongoing’ and leave it running for a while longer. Give your scouts a chance to seek out as many potential recommendations as possible.

3)    Use the ability to type in a custom name for each Focus to keep track of which is which at a glance. Setting up a focus for Argentinian under-20s with a Potential Ability of three stars or more and the preferred trait ‘Tries Tricks’ defined in Further Details? Name your focus something like ‘Argentina Tricky U20s.’ Easy to spot after a quick click in future.


4)    When using the tried and tested approach to search for potential transfer targets using Scouting – Players in Range and using the Edit Search button to customise your requirements, FM23 will now prompt you to create a new Recruitment Focus with those criteria. This is a nice shortcut that can help you find suitable players not currently in your Scouted players.

Scouting for fresh talent is a core part of any Football Manager experience. The new Recruitment Focus system brings Scouting to life in a whole new and realistic way. It is flexible and accessible but also allows you to be as specific as you need to be. What you put in you get out. Spend a little time figuring out what your team needs, feed those requirements into Recruitment Focuses and let your Scouts go out and bring back recommendations for you to further consider.  You may just find the missing piece that completes that team of yours.

Happy managing,

FM Stag and Dan Gear


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