Many of us use movies as a means of escape from our everyday realities, taking us into worlds far removed from our own personal and professional lives. But while we lose ourselves in distant galaxies and fantastical narratives, we sometimes forget that we can also learn a thing or two from our celluloid experiences: even the most far-fetched movie setups offer up worthwhile life lessons from time to time.
As recruiters, too, we can often come across valuable lessons about our industry in this most unexpected of places. So what can we learn from the movies about the complicated process of seeking out and onboarding new talent? How can those cherished cinematic classics teach us to think differently when it comes to our recruitment strategies?
We’ve picked out 5 surprisingly relevant lessons that Hollywood taught us about talent acquisition.
“I’M GONNA MAKE HIM AN OFFER HE CAN’T REFUSE.” — THE GODFATHER
The story of a lawless, New York-based mafia family (unattached horse heads and all) might not be the most obvious source of recruitment-based philosophy, but this stand-out quote from Francis Ford Coppola’s peerless crime epic does illuminate one important component of the talent acquisition process: in an increasingly candidate-led job market, employers need to be offering enticing (but tangible) incentives to secure and retain new talent. And it’s up to recruiters to sell these to a prospective employer.
These days, employee expectations around job perks go beyond mere financial incentives (although of course, a competitive salary and the promise of regular bonuses will give many employers the edge). Candidates expect a raft of benefits and rewards — everything from gym memberships to personal development programs — and that’s where reward and recognition tools come in.
If your client can promise attractive incentives and you can flaunt these in front of an undecided candidate, your offer might just be too good to refuse.
“JUST KEEP SWIMMING.” — FINDING NEMO
Pixar’s uplifting aquatic adventure introduced us to the mnemonically-challenged Dory, whose simple yet inspiring mantra encouraged us to soldier on in the face of life’s numerous challenges and adversities. In short: don’t give up. In Dory’s case, obstacles came in the shape of hungry anglerfish and jellyfish forests, but even in the demanding, stressful and often unpredictable world of recruitment, this defiant and reassuring message is one to always keep front-of-mind.
For recruiters, challenges and set-backs are around every potential corner, but it’s how you recover and learn from those misfortunes that’ll keep you on the right track. In a noisy and crowded market, you might find yourself struggling to grab candidates’ attention. Take a step back, reassess and alter your approach if you need to, but persevere.
When candidates let you down and employers move their goal posts at the last minute (which will inevitably happen) don’t let it deter you. Just keep on moving. (And if you can’t, because mental health is immensly difficult, then just keep trying. Don’t give up.)
“I’VE GOT A FEELING WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE.” — THE WIZARD OF OZ
While Dorothy eventually comes to the conclusion that “there’s no place like home”, this more memorable line from the 1939 classic perfectly illustrates the strange and unpredictable working landscape we now find ourselves in. In the wake of a global pandemic and with the accelerated adoption of new technologies, the outlook for recruiters has shifted immeasurably, with previously overlooked factors like remote (or hybrid) working and fully flexible working patterns now deal-breakers for many job candidates.
With more and more businesses embracing a remote culture, no longer are prospective employees tethered to their own towns and cities: adopting a “work from anywhere” mindset (think beyond “Kansas”), you can match candidates to roles based in entirely separate locations. And as businesses start to look beyond their own borders, you can cast your recruitment nets even wider.
You can even look to hire in specific places, as there’s sometimes good reason to. If you’re running a European syrup company and feeling confident about challenging the big-hitters of the Canadian maple syrup scene, you might seek Canadian additions to your team — not because they’ll know more about maple syrup (it’s a national product, not a pastime) but because they’ll be more familiar with the market and perfectly positioned to help negotiate deals with Canadian suppliers. An employer of record service from a company can sap the challenge from such a process, so why not embrace the peculiarity?
“WHAT WE’VE GOT HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE.” — COOL HAND LUKE
While this movie taught us that a man can in fact eat 50 eggs, that’s perhaps not the healthiest life lesson we can take from this 1967 prison drama. Instead, this more iconic and oft-quoted line seems a good fit when you consider the importance of clear and consistent communication throughout the hiring process, encompassing the initial contact, interviews and (hopefully) an eventual offer of employment. If you fail to keep your candidates informed and in the loop all the way through, they’ll likely continue their job search elsewhere.
For today’s recruiters, the lines of communication are even more complex, with myriad channels through which to outreach and correspond. There’s Linkedin, of course, which is a valuable resource for employers and candidates alike, while 96% of job seekers now use social media when job searching, so these platforms are key contact tools.
What’s more, video calling apps like Google Meet or Zoom make it easy to build face-to-face relationships with your applicants. With these tools at your disposal, there’s no excuse for a communication breakdown. The only thing that can get in your way is a lack of effort.
“IF EVERYBODY WERE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, HOW BORING IT WOULD BE.” — WINNIE THE POOH
Yes, this one counts: it’s from the 2011 feature-length adventure starring the Hundred Acre Wood’s eminent honey enthusiast, so we’re claiming it. Why? Because this sincere and incontestable message seems more appropriate than ever when businesses are working hard to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion in their workplaces. In fact, 76% of candidates consider a diverse workforce to be an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers, so it’s not to be overlooked during the hiring process.
While the demand for diversity inevitably presents new challenges, it’s better to look at it as an opportunity: an open, unbiased mindset opens up far more avenues when it comes to matching candidates to roles. And if you can help employers build diverse and varied teams which include a blend of genders, ages and cultural backgrounds, you become a key ally in helping them establish a healthy and productive working culture. Because if everybody in the workplace really was like everybody else, not only would it be boring; it’d be pretty ineffective, too.
So, there you go. You may not have realised it, but while you were chomping on popcorn and escaping into some beloved movie classics, you might just have learned something about the complex world of recruitment. Now, where’s our copy of The Godfather?
~ Recruitment Juice / Rodney Laws - https://recruitmentjuice.com/blog/5-lessons-on-recruitment-we-learned-from-the-movies/