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Recruitment lessons from Game Of Thrones


Occasionally we try to re-invent the wheel only to understand that the wheel is quite real. Some people, to put it in the Game of Thrones terms, come along thinking they’re Daenerys Targaryen and make it their life’s work to break the wheel.

We may have fallen somewhere on the spectrum. As much as we might like to declare we are the Khaleesi of talent acquisition, that might be a bit of a stretch. (we need to raise 3 dragons and defeat some kingdoms first.)

*** SPOILERs ARE COMING for Game of Thrones! ***

Squeeze the Referral

Tormund Giantsbane and Jon Snow once found themselves standing before the Wildlings in a tough situation (“Hardhome,” Season 5, Episode 8). The Wildlings wanted to cut them both to pieces, but Tormund ended up giving an emotional speech about Jon, vowing for his leadership and skill in the battle. The character reference Tormund gives ends up saving their lives.

You or your team aren’t likely to face such an awful scenario, but keep in mind that you will know countless people and you have great people working for you. Create an environment such as an established, incentivized employee referral program, where everyone feels comfortable vouching for each other.

Cost of a Bad Hire is Just Too High

After her father’s death Tywin Lannister, Cersei arrested the High Septon and recruited the High Sparrow as the High Septon. Cersei gave the High Sparrow more control by restoring the Faith Army and allowing them to tolerate and use arms. It’s no secret that how that bad hire played out after the actions are done.

The High Sparrow tested the power of the throne at various occasions and made Cersei (his interviewer and hiring manager) do the Walk of Shame. That was the cost of a bad hire for Cersei. Try and Always avoid making bad hires while recruiting. Better wait than take decisions in a hurry and end up doing the Walk of Shame yourself.

Constantly Be Recruiting:

Daenerys and Jon are the show’s scorching couple right now, but they started out very suspicious of one another. It’s only when Jon receives a shining endorsement of Daenerys from Missandei, where she says of her Khaleesi, “She is the queen we chose,” then things started to change. (“The Spoils of War,” Season 7, Episode 4) It motivates him to finally find a way for him and Daenerys to work together as a team.

Sounds like employer branding? If you talk about how happy you are with your company, how devoted you are in your projects, the excellent work-life balance, your amazing benefits, people will notice and will remember. When they start thinking about their next career move, your company might be a place they could consider.

Search the Right Environment

Remember the senseless adventure north of the Wall to find the White Walker, because it was the only way to convince Cersei of the real threat? (“Beyond the Wall,” Season 7, Episode 6) Jon led a raggedy group of warriors on what had to feel like a certain death mission, to a place nobody ever wanted to go, because it was the only place to find what they needed.

In the search for talent, have you really thought about where you can find the ideal professional for your positions? Are they on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Can you sponsor that group? Did they write an article in your industry newspaper? Do they attend conferences? Meet them where they are.

Use Your Applicant Tracking System

We ultimately find out, thanks to the archives of the Maesters, that Jon Snow is the best person for the job of King of the Seven Kingdoms. This is something we would have never known, at least not from the official stance on lawfulness, if not for recordkeeping.

If you are at a company large enough to have a well-known recruitment software, you can use it to your advantage to catalogue all candidates. You can refer to previous challengers or start conversations with the free folk who had accepted offers elsewhere or who had to drop out for personal reasons. Circumstances do change, and you may have the resume and contact information of the perfect candidate.

Finding The Right Candidates

Do you remember Podric? The embarrassingly awkward, seemingly useless yet completely dedicated squire eventually goes on to provide unbelievable service to two masters, even saving one of their lives on the battlefield. He consistently displays a determination to improve himself, and even when he doesn’t fully understand how to do something, he tackles it with enthusiasm.

Now, if you think back and remember a candidate you spoke to who ticked all your boxes on paper, but regrettably showed no passion for your product or company. You were wise not to hire them. Instead you went with a candidate who knew when your company was founded, where your offices are, what your product or service is, has the relevant work experience etc. Candidates like these are advanced and passionate, something that can’t really be taught through on-the-job training. You made the right decision. You want to hire Podric, because that kind of loyalty and commitment can’t be bought.

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