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The Superstitions of Recruiters

By October 29, 20153 Comments

There’s really only one topic on the lips of all kiwis this Friday.  Yes that’s right, it’s what your kids are wearing for Halloween Sunday morning’s Rugby World Cup Final between the All Blacks and the Wallabies.  So as much as I love to bring you all our particular brand of commentary on goings on in the world of recruitment, I really don’t think you’ll be concentrating will you?  Hmmm?

Fear not, I will spare you the specious content marketing trick of cobbling together something like “15 Things The Recruitment Industry Can Learn From the All Blacks“.  You know the kind of thing that jumps on bandwagons, like this James Bond effort from earlier in the week.

Getting the ferry to work this morning I was struck by the amount of black the other passengers were sporting in their choice of attire.  Don’t get me wrong, the ferry commuters are never typically the most flamboyantly-hued bunch of city workers, but this morning was like stepping aboard a Milk Tray Man convention.  The ferry’s TV was broadcasting silent news reports remarkable by the fact the reporters were all be-decked in various levels of black.  And then the walk to the office was the same, in fact the guy I walked with told me he hasn’t washed his All Blacks top since they won the last Final in 2011 as he decided it would bring bad luck (to be fair they’ve done pretty bloody well since then so I think that was a very good ploy, sir, but one that might need to be re-visited if they win this weekend too, for fear of fumes damaging the environment).  You get the point right?

But then I sit here, drinking tea from a black mug which I chose from the cupboard specifically for its colour.  And I’ve worn the same black T-Shirt while watching every All Blacks match during this tournament, whether at the ground when I was back in England or more recently blearily-eyed on early morning New Zealand TV.

It’s part support, of course.  But it goes beyond that, far beyond that, into pure superstition too.  And we’ve commentated many times before on how sales, and recruitment in particular, mirrors sport.  Well this quirk of sports fans is no different. Superstition, you’ll find, is rife in the behaviours of many recruiters out there too.

Some are just plain common sense and actually form the basis of good process.  Things like always presenting a job offer in person, never over the phone.  Or never presenting a formal offer before you have trial closed the candidate beforehand.  Or always buying a round of shots after each Perm placement.  But the fact that many recruiters will only subconciously acknowledge is that in an industry where we attempt to make money by bringing together two moving targets, luck plays a worryingly large part.  And with any pursuit of luck follows a range of weird and wonderful superstitions.

Recruitment is an industry harboring many more than you probably realise.  I’ve interviewed candidates in the past who have admitted to many strange and wonderful recruiting superstitions.  From wearing the same tie to new client visits, to always buying a coffee from the same place before making a job offer, to wearing “lucky BD pants” (seriously), it’s all going on.

Whatever your superstitions, All Blacks or Recruitment (and feel free to share them in the comments below, anonymously if necessary!), enjoy the match.

Go All Blacks!

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.


  • Kevin Chappell says:

    Holy moly Jonathan, perhaps superstition is why our profession still is a bit stuck in the Dark Ages with not dissimilar process to what was fashionable 50 years ago!

    Mind you, there’s a few clients I’d like to burn at the stake through their pedantic slow processes in decision-making, and candidates who seem to create magic with the detail on their CV, or the odd placed candidate who suddenly seem to wave a wand and change personality, and don a “t-All Black” (…get it??) pointy hat when they are in a new job…..

  • Kirsty Hunt says:

    Not in my professional life but I still won’t walk on the opposite side of a pole to anyone, I dare not put new shoes on a table and I always get visitors when I drop a fork … never ever walk under a ladder, throw salt over my left shoulder, knock on wood and dare not open an umbrella indoors – naturally my hubby thinks I’m completely bonkers!