Talent Acquisition

6 Things Recruiters Can Learn From the Winter Olympics

In whatever market, and at whatever level, recruiters will always tell you that they’re not surprised by anything anymore. Whether it’s multiple family bereavements, chronic car trouble or simply disappearing off the map completely, it’s safe to say that when that phone rings or the email arrives with the new crazy excuse, consultants around the country can be heard collectively groaning.

Whilst the excuses may differ though, there are similarities with the candidates we see, particularly when clients lay out their requirements for the perfect candidate. With the Winter Olympics in full swing, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what we could learn from the snowy spectacle.

For reference, I’ve also thrown in some ‘judges scores’ just like in the ski jump, so you can see how likely it is a client will be pleased with your picks when searching for your next placement.

1. The Alpine Skier

When it comes to candidates, you’ll struggle to top the alpine skier. He or she is the person the clients want and the other candidates want to be with. Cool under pressure, adept at avoiding obstacles (slalom reference) and looking great in lycra, when you stumble across one of these guys you hold on and don’t let go.

They’re efficient, fast, fit and scarce. Just like in a downhill race, blink and you (and your client) will miss them. Costing you some ice cold commission.

Judges Scores: 10/10

2. The Freestyle Snowboarder

For some clients, the freestyle snowboarder will be top of the list of requirements. They’re young, exciting risk-takers who are totally calm under pressure. They’re the type who’ll wear woolly hats and sunglasses at the same time – nuts.

They’re desirable but can be hard to motivate because they’re laidback almost to the point of being horizontal. However, with the right management, they can pull off some spectacular things that you hadn’t previously thought possible.

Judges Scores: 8/10

3. The Ice Hockey Player

They’re more than likely angry about something when you speak to them. They might have just had an argument with their boss or they may have just closed a huge deal – either way, sparks are flying.

Great in the right team, the ice hockey player can make the ultimate commercial candidate. Fiercely competitive and tenacious, they’re more than happy to give everything to the cause in order to get the job done and close the sale.

The challenge with these guys is keeping them in check. When negotiating salary, or if you want to avoid that rebate, it’s important that they keep their gloves firmly on when at work and don’t resort to hitting anyone with a stick.

Judge’s Score: 7/10

4. The Curler 

Maybe they’re a little bit more experienced, maybe they just take their time over the decision. Either way, a curler (is that right?) isn’t going to get you results immediately. They’re not the high flying snowboarder or combative ice hockey player but to the right organization, they can be a real asset.

The amount of time they have to spend out there (and the 7,000 hours they have on TV) means that they’re well and truly in it for the long haul. They’re determined but cautious and excellent at strategy and planning ahead.

They could be great for more technical or general management roles, and their love of rules and take their time could see them be desirable for a big corporate with lots of levels of lovely bureaucracy.

An added bonus? Really tidy.

Judge’s Score: 8/10

5. The Figure Skater

They can do some of the most jaw-droppingly fantastic things you’ve ever seen, and they’re as precise as a surgeon in every move, but the figure skater presents a new set of problems for the typical recruiter.

That challenge comes with keeping their emotions in check. They might ring you in the middle of the night freaking out before that next stage interview because they’ve just realized they haven’t washed their favorite shirt. Or, it might be that they’re worried that they didn’t mention the D they got in GCSE music in the last interview, and they’re terrified the client might find out.

If the figure skater gets the job? Tears. If they don’t? More tears. Either way, it’s Kleenex at the ready. Another thing to take into account with these temperamental twisters is that they usually come in pairs, so you’d better make sure that their partner’s happy with the new role too, or it’s going to be nil poi.

Judge’s Score: 6/10

6. Ski Jumping

When your ski jumper is in the interview, it’s a case of crossing your fingers and praying to the recruitment gods. Usually, they fly. In fact, in every conversation you’ve had, they’ve seemed great.

However, you know that when it goes wrong, it goes really wrong. That third reference told you that, and a couple of gaps in the CV have also led you to believe that they might have a screw loose when it comes down to it.

With a ski jumper, it’s a case of shouting like a mad person at the top of the hill, and hoping that you see them again in one piece at the bottom, not being put in the back of an ambulance (or escorted out by office security).

Judge’s Score: 5/10

So there you go – my picks for the Winter Olympics. Have you got any more tenuous links between the sector and winter sports? Any more you can shoehorn in there? If so, stick them in the comments and don’t forget your scores!

About the author: Kris Holland is the Marketing Manager for Charlton Morris, an Executive Search, and Selection company specializing in the placement of mid to senior level professionals in Medical, Life Science and Industrial markets.

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