Winter is here. Wait a minute, I’m not talking about the weather – we know that by now. I’m referring to the show that we have all been waiting for, Game of Thrones!
Yes, the latest season of the hit TV show is back and it promises even more epic battle scenes, bloody betrayals and brutal endings for dozens of characters. But amidst all these intrigue lies something else the show has to offer: a monster of a lesson in creative recruitment.
After all, Game of Thrones is, as its name suggests, a battle for supremacy across the kingdom and its characters are constantly trying to mobilise support for their cause. And isn’t that what recruitment is all about?
OK ok it might not be as bloody or dramatic but the parallels are clear – a top recruitment strategy can enable you to assemble a group of highly talented people that will contribute to success whereas a lousy one might leave you a group that loses their heads at the first signs of stress.
Here are a few lessons you may have learned while you are watching Game of Thrones (SPOILER ALERT!):
Night’s Watch – Employer Branding Done Wrong
If you need a case study on good employer brand gone bad, here is one.
It was once a great honour to be part of the Night’s Watch protecting the Seven Kingdoms at the Wall. The people who made up the army used to be volunteers from noble houses and highly talented people with exceptional skills. This is despite the horrible climate, lousy remuneration package and perilous working conditions.
However ever since the reign of King Robert Baratheon, the Night’s Watch has been neglected and gradually lost its lustre. Parts of the Wall now lie in decrepit and most of the people guarding it are convicted criminals, exiles and those who have nowhere to go – bar Jon Snow.
Jon may be an outlier in this case (but even he left the Wall in the end), but this is a great lesson of how a lousy employer brand can drastically decrease the quality of your hires and affect the bottomline of your business.
The Mother of Dragons – Using Diversity and Creating Value for Candidates
One key attribute that Daenerys Targaryen possesses, and that differentiates her from the rest of the show’s wannabe Kings and Queens, is her willingness to embrace diversity and ability to sell her vision.
We have seen Daenerys tapping into the strengths of a variety of Talent, including exiled knights, a eunuch, the Dothrakis, a dwarf, an Unsullied commander, a slave girl and a sellsword, to draw on their experiences and advance her own quest to retake Westeros. These people are not promised money, but are sold on her promise of a fantastic “career” that will give them massive “job satisfaction”, and it has worked brilliantly.
Daenerys’ recruitment approach will work in real life too. According to a Gallup report, millennials will form 50 percent of the workforce by 2020 and most of them are “looking for purpose and meaning” and want to work for organisations that have a mission and purpose. It is not always money and it might be wise to take a leaf out of the Mother of Dragons’ recruitment handbook and start selling opportunity.
Littlefinger’s Many Lies and Half-truths – Talent Management
Let’s face it, everyone lies.
Lord Petyr Baelish (aka Littlefinger) made this into an art and is extremely adept at dishing out half-truths and alternative facts. It has enabled him to rise from humble origins to become one of the most powerful officials in the Seven Kingdoms.
Now I’m not suggesting this is the way to go but as a recruiter, you will find that you are going to have to stretch the truth at some point in your career. However, the rule of thumb is to come clean when confronted and honesty is always the way to go, if you want to keep your reputation and brand intact.
As for managing candidates who lie, there is no hard and fast rule to spotting these deceptions. Make sure you conduct proper reference checks and document everything clearly so that it allows you to spot any discrepancies during the hiring process. The use of pre-hire assessments such as aptitude and personality tests (e.g. Revelian) can also help you determine the suitability of the candidate.
Varys the Spider – Networking Your Way to Success
Known as the Master of Whisperers, Lord Varys is the intelligence agent in the Seven Kingdoms and nothing ever happens without his knowing. His network spans across both sides of the narrow sea and it is this sophisticated web of sources that enables him to continuously stay relevant in the unpredictable world of Game of Thrones.
Granted, his approach may not be for the faint-hearted, but he is one (and Littlefinger of course) who truly understands the value of networking and the power of knowledge.
Recruiters may do well to follow his lead, not literally of course, and start building a network to help you do your job better. Attend recruitment conferences to learn more from your peers or organise meet ups with potential candidates to better understand their needs. If you are able to offer good explanations of how joining your organisation can help further their careers, your candidates will more than likely listen to you.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time take out your pen and notebook while catching Game of Thrones! You might learn some valuable lessons that will help you attract great Talent!
Cover Image: HBO
Speaking of networking and the power of knowledge, we have the Contingent Workforce Conference coming up and it’s the perfect event to learn more about how you can establish the control you need to make your contingent workforce function a success. Tickets available here.
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