Albert Einstein once said that “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” This advice also feeds constructively into the recruitment industry, with fairy tales holding a surprising number of lessons to hep recruiters win their happy endings.

Not only do fairy tales teach us how to find hidden rewards in difficult situations, they also offer instruction on how to use what we’re given to survive in an unpredictable world full of pitfalls. In a changeable industry with many difficulties and obstacles to overcome, these fairy tale lessons frequently overlap into recruitment. Here’s a list of 7 valuable lessons from fairy tales that recruiters can take on board in the workplace.

1) The Little Mermaid: Be adventurous:

Venturing outside your comfort zone is often a daunting experience, but one that can offer rich rewards. Ariel’s journey out of the sea and onto the shore is a prime example of stepping out into unexplored territory and winning fantastic results in the process. The Little Mermaid teaches us that boldly embracing change can have a transformative long-term effect. In an industry currently undergoing a rapid social evolution, this is a lesson of great value to recruiters.

 2) The Princess and the Frog: Be patient if you want to find the perfect candidate:

Kissing multiple frogs to finally find a prince is a highly fitting analogy for the recruitment industry. When wading through a pile of ill-fitting CVs, every recruiter has despairingly felt like they’ll never make a placement. If The Princess and the Frog teaches us anything, it’s that patience and perseverance pay off when trying to find the right person. They might be rare in a skills-short market, but those perfect candidates are out there if you’re prepared to leave no stone unturned.

 3) Hansel and Gretel: You can overcome adversity if you keep your wits about you:

In today’s candidate-driven recruitment climate, it can sometimes feel like you’ve been thrust into the metaphorical woods, with little hope of making it back out successfully. Taking a leaf out of Hansel and Gretel’s book could benefit recruiters feeling lost. In what seems like a hopeless situation, the pair refuse to give up, keep their eyes open for opportunity and act quickly when a prospect becomes available. As a result, they’re able to fight their way out of a tight spot.

4) Pinocchio: Always, always be honest:

Absolute transparency is key to successful recruitment. As Pinocchio illustrates, lies are destructive for you and those around you and should be avoided at all costs. When he stops telling untruths, Pinocchio experiences rebirth through metamorphosis and finally achieves his dreams. Similarly, as every recruiter should know, glossing over less attractive aspects of a job role to win a quick placement will only ever result in dissatisfaction, a poor experience for both client and candidate and the loss of your fee to boot.

 5) Mulan: Don’t judge a candidate by their cover:

There are a small group of recruiters out there who seem to believe that hiring for ‘culture fit’ means selecting candidates who are young, stylish and attractive. Anybody familiar with Mulan’s tale knows that making such appearance-based judgements is unwise and often injurious. Mulan teaches us that being the right person for the role has nothing whatsoever to do with appearance; attitude and ambition are far more important factors when it comes to being a strong cultural fit.

 6) Rapunzel: Get creative when it comes to problem-solving:

Using the materials that she already has available to her, Rapunzel comes with up a unique but highly effective solution to her problem. Rather than assuming that there is nothing that can be done, Rapunzel thinks outside the box and wins results by doing so. Rapunzel’s lesson of using existing tools in new and innovative ways is a particularly beneficial lesson to recruiters. In a time of industry change, the recruitment wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented: it just needs to be reinvigorated with creative ideas.

 7) Jack and the Beanstalk: Don’t be afraid to climb sky-high:

By trusting his gut instincts, Jack makes something out of nothing and reaches dizzying, unexplored heights. He fearlessly climbs up into the sky and doesn’t stop until he reaches the castle and slays the giant within. For recruiters, the lesson of Jack’s journey is clear – to reach your end goal, you have to keep going and continuously push upwards. To make those deals, win those top fees and ultimately climb the career ladder, you’ll need grit, determination and drive just like Jack.

Though it can seem far from a fairy tale at times, recruitment is in fact filled with surprise rewards, exciting growth journeys and unexpected happy endings. It might be taxing KPIs we’re fighting against rather than wicked witches, but the lessons from fairy tales still ring true in our daily office struggles. The next time you’re having a tough day as a recruiter, think like a fairy tale hero and watch the rewards roll in.

Author: Roxanne Abercrombie is a professional copywriter and serial blogger. She works as PR, Content and Social Executive for, a specialist company that provides recruitment and talent management services to businesses at varying stages of growth, from start-up and medium sized enterprises through to global brands.

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