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Recruitment Lessons from the World Cup

By June 19, 2014One Comment

In thinking on a topic for this week’s blog, my week has been filled with football, so I’m afraid the theme continues from last week’s post.  I won’t apologise for this though, there’s plenty of other crap being shared around the interweb that you can visit instead and hey, it’ll all be over in a couple more weeks!

However, if you are starting to feel like ASB’s Head of Social Media, @simonemccallum, then I suggest you get your Friday Whiteboard kicks in other quarters for the next couple of weeks:

Simone world cup tweet

The tournament has thrown up drama, excitement and surprise in equal measures, not to mention some big headline stories already.  It’s from these World Cup stories already unfolded that I’d like to coax out some lessons for us in the beautiful recruitment game:

You’re Only As Good As Your Last Sale

Spain have provided us all with a salutary reminder that, no matter how good your last month or quarter were for billings, you’re really going to be judged on your current billing period alone.  The double European and World Champions have lost both of their group games so far, and are going home empty handed.  They look tired and bereft of ideas and seemingly hoping to ride through the tournament on the back of their recent history and reputation.  The death of tiki taka has been proclaimed and the same can be said for your reputation as the office’s big biller if you start to believe your own hype and get too complacent.

Be Open Minded in your Search for Top Talent

Juergen Klinsmann’s United States team have benefited from his policy of scouring the globe for dual-nationality Americans on foreign soils.  Their previous coach has criticised this with the kind of narrow-minded viewpoints sadly adopted by many businesses in this part of the world.  Klinsmann was vindicated, however, with their winning goal against Ghana coming from the head of Berlin-born John Brooks playing on debut for the US.  Something to bear in mind for clients raising the good old “culture-fit” cliche when rejecting candidates, and also a lesson for recruitment company owners themselves, many of whom are looking to grow their consultant numbers from an incredibly small pool of home-grown kiwi recruiting talent.

Sometimes You Just Need to Pick Up That Phone

When Lee Keun-ho took a hopeful swipe at the ball in his match against Russia, he was performing the recruitment equivalent of a cold call, or a CV float.  I’m not talking spam here, he wasn’t shooting on site at every opportunity.  But his chances of success were low, particularly as the ball arrowed straight towards the experienced goalkeeper (read: long-standing and wily HR gatekeeper…)  The fact the ball squirmed through the despairing clutches of the ‘keeper and into the goal, prove that sometimes you just have to pick up that phone or send that CV to make things happen.  HR people generally want 0-0 draws.  Recruiters generally want goals, and the more the better.  So preparing and planning is all well and good, trying to always walk the ball into the goal may look good, might appear clever, and might generate plaudits for beautiful football, but it’s not much use if you never score.

Contingent Recruitment Often Ends in Time Wasted

A painful reminder of the sometime stupidity of our industry’s contingent recruitment model can be drawn from Australia’s valiant, but ultimately doomed, World Cup campaign.  Facing an incredibly tough group, they took the game to their more illustrious opponents, and were disciplined, organised and attack-minded.  They are being lauded for this but the fact of the matter they have worked very hard to achieve zero points so far.  A bit like contingent recruitment, they had a surprise $30k fee on the whiteboard when they took the lead against Holland, only for the wheels to fall off like an unscrupulous client pulling the role, with Holland winning and putting them out.

A Big, Globally-Recognised Recruitment Brand Means Nothing

And the final lesson from the week has, sadly, been provided by England.  Two games, two losses, and once again the hilariously-heightened expectations of the English are left in sheer dejection.  In today’s recruitment market, the history behind your brand, the global recognition of your firm, the large sums you pay your smug consultants and the fact you practically invented recruitment mean absolutely nothing.  It’s the quality of the individuals within your firm, the depth of their expertise, and the strength of their collaboration and teamwork that makes your firm really stand out from the competition.

It helps if you have a semi-competent recruitment manager to lead them too.


26 Jun 2014 powwow

Whilst we’re on the topic of global perspectives, there’s a small handful of places left for next Thursday’s quarterly #RicePowWow networking event.  Rob Davidson is visiting from Australia to share his insights on what is happening in the recruitment industry from a global viewpoint, plus there will of course be the usual drinks, nibbles, music and general networking shenanigans.  RSVP on the Facebook event page here if you’d like to come, it’s free and it’s awesome.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

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