Written by Andrew Petrie
Do you merely take aim at goals? Or do you go in with a strategy to score and win with your team?
As a recruitment specialist and professional hockey coach, I’ve observed that recruitment and sport have a lot in common. Whether it’s a growth strategy or the desire to win a championship, all teams are created to fulfill a purpose. A skilled, passionate team is always key to success.
When people ask what I do for work, I prefer to say, “I build teams” rather than “I’m a recruiter.” I help unite like-minded people so they can be empowered by one another while working towards a common goal. Recruitment shouldn’t be a mere numbers game or service transaction. Recruitment is about people.
Why recruitment needs to be people-first
For many of us, our career is a fundamental aspect of our life. It’s how we earn a living, provide for our families, and hopefully exercise our skills and passions. A person’s career is the goal of the recruitment process.
A people-first approach allows us to consider what’s important to the candidate. It positions us to consider their aspirations, what’s important to them culturally as well as their ethical and moral concerns.
On the client side of the recruitment coin, a people-first approach helps you better understand what they’re looking for in a candidate. When considering the eight hours a day they’ll be working side-by-side with their potential new hire, do they want someone serious, efficient, and task-oriented, or someone who is more affable and social, but still gets things done? Both can fit different cultures and teams.
A people-first approach helps you make smarter decisions when matching candidates with businesses. If you simply match a skill to a job requirement, neither party will get the most out of the experience. You need to consider the candidate and job opportunity holistically for both parties to come together as part of a high-performing team.
How people-first recruitment works in practice
There are some recruiters who just hunt fees. You can make a lot of money doing that until your integrity runs out. But there’s no longevity unless you take a people-first approach. When you’re consulting, think about the candidate and the client. What are their needs? What do they value? What makes them tick?
I always say a 75% skill fit with a 90% attitude fit is a much better result than the inverse. You could be the smartest person in the room. But if you’re not culturally aligned with the organisation, it’s difficult to make an impact with your skills.
That’s why I think it’s important for recruiters to consider the soft skills of the candidate – how they treat people, how they relay information, how they listen, etc. If you acquire a candidate who has a 90% cultural fit and a 75% skills match, you’re going to have a much better experience than if you hire someone with a 90% skill fit and a 75% culture fit.
A candidate with a poor cultural fit can create friction within a team. When I coach hockey, I aim to minimise this predicament by deliberately not signing on a player who doesn’t get along with the rest of the team members. Even if they’re a prolific goal-scorer, I don’t take them on. I don’t want to jeopardise the equilibrium of the team. Once you create a cultural divide, the camaraderie is lost, and the team won’t function effectively.
Bridging onshore and offshore with people-first
If you’re a business wanting to expand your team, never rule out offshore talent. I think most people who don’t consider offshore either haven’t ever gone down that path or they’ve previously done it and had a negative experience. In my experience, people are also often concerned about communication barriers when recruiting offshore talent.
That’s where the people-first model comes into play. I emulate people-first principles when I’m recruiting candidates for virtual/remote work. Between onshore and offshore, nothing changes. At Sydpro, we recruit in Sri Lanka and Australia. Say for example, you need an IT person in a team lead role where they’re expected to constantly communicate verbally in English. We make it our top priority to find someone with elite English verbal communication skills. We also ensure they can deliver according to the technical expectations of the role.
Whether onshore or offshore, a people-first approach allows everyone to reap the best outcome possible.
The next time you go out on the field, make it part of your strategy to consider who you’re working with, the opposition and how your team unites. With a people-first approach, you won’t simply be aiming at goals – you’ll bring home victory.