How to pick a winner…

mc1It’s Melbourne Cup Carnival here in Melbourne. An annual, four day festival of horseracing, fashion & frivolity. It’s an opportunity to forget your troubles, dress up in your best (or worst), enjoy a beverage or two, and – for many – have a little punt.

The BIG race this year (the richest turf race in the world by prize money I might add) threw up the biggest surprise in living memory.

It was the 100:1 outsider that saluted… with a female jockey (no female had ever piloted home the winner in the Melbourne Cup before)… with a the trainer who went on radio on the Morning on the Great Race stating he was hoping to finish somewhere in the top 10… against horses that were better bred, had more experience, had won better races… the list goes on and on. In fact, most credible pundits picked Prince of Penzance to run stone motherless last in a field of 24…

What does this mean for recruitment I hear you ask?

Well being the master of trying to tie together the most tenuous of links, in a desperate attempt to demonstrate some semblance of knowledge of the recruitment industry… stick with me for a few paragraphs… that’s the few of you who haven’t already succumbed to your ‘horseracing is cruelty to animals of the highest degree’ stance and walked away from this post to attend a PETA rally.

So… let’s assume horses are candidates right? And the Melbourne Cup is the role you are recruiting for… are you with me?

mc4We judge our candidates by their resume (closest match, best experience, success, achievements)… their demographics and education… the way they present at interview… and their references…

In horseracing, serious tipsters and punters often make their decisions based on form and results (which equates to candidate experience, success & achievements)… breeding, age, trainer (demographics & education… you see where I’m going with this?)… the sheen in their coat, size of the animal, how they present in the mounting yard before the race (interview presentation)… what the trainer, jockey and other connections are saying about the horse (references).

For Prince of Penzance these were all bad. This horse had no right – based on this criteria – to win one of the biggest races in the world… no right at all. If Prince of Penzance was a candidate, the recruiter and the client would have rejected them. Simple.

So how can we pick a winner in the recruitment game?

Sure… look at resume, experience, success, achievements, skills, education, how they present at interview and references. These are all essential elements of the recruitment process.

But… please… please… please… do not overlook the candidate’s motivation.

Motivation often equates to passion, effort & commitment. This is what both horse and jockey had in spades, that enabled them to be such a success. Motivation driven by the need to succeed.

mc3As recruiters we often get caught up in the mechanics of the process… look past the process to see what drives the candidate… and… if… there is evidence of steely determination… with a healthy dose of success, skills, experience, presentation and references (don’t forget Prince of Penzance made the final 24 horses out of an initial list of 144)… back them… put them in front of your client and tell them why.

It will add a dimension and differentiation to your recruitment… and may help you at the track!

Craig Watson


2 thoughts on “How to pick a winner…

  1. Debbie Capuano on Reply

    Hi Craig, I love this post. I thought it was clever the way you put it together, reminding us that our job is to look outside the square for our clients when we are sourcing standout candidates for them. Great Melbourne Cup story this year! Very cool:) Deb

  2. Ross Clennett on Reply

    I loved this post as well, Craig. Excellent points very well made. Motivation can be the X-factor, if you know how to find it (although there are exceptions eg I am not interested in having a highly motivated unqualified brain surgeon operating on me!).

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