Things we know:

The sense of survival, along with the urges to reproduce and nurture are three of the most powerful motivating forces. Forces that govern much of what we as humans do, hope to do…or if all else fails, lie about doing.

So when we come to building our working families around us, and in particular our successors… do we see these forces play out?..

‘Rarely’ I hear you whisper into your coffee.

Of course, as HR and business professionals, we always look to take the best candidate whatever the brief, particularly for our own team, don’t we?

Ok, thats a good thing. No white lies here then. Splendid.


Lets take this thinking to calmer waters… you are recruiting with one of your  colleagues, you bring in an excellent candidate, they meet the brief, aced the psychometrics, they met the team (who gave the thumbs up)…then the recruiting manager throws the curve ball…

‘Look, they are very talented…I accept they can do the job… its just…just, that i dont think the role we have will stretch him/her, or hold their interest. We could just be a ‘port in storm in a storm here’…why would they want this role? They are clearly incredibly ambitious …won’t we just be bringing in a problem here within 2 years? I am not sure we can match their ambition.. .’

and so on…that first niggling doubt … feeding rising fears…this exceptional candidate, now a problem, they are just ‘too good’.

In work we can justify this thought process as ‘risk avoidance’ …and tell ourselves that the line manager has a point –  better afterall to grow and nurture our own talent than recruit the problem person isn’t it? So, decision made.

Here we see the working homo sapian’s sense of survival, subtly, but efficiently suffocating the infant threat before it enters the fold. This sense of Survival is indeed a powerful force.

But we made the brave call , we made the pragmatic call there …didn’t we? We aligned ourselves with the consensus didn’t we? Safety first.


So why did it feel so bad?

Because safe recruitment is poor recruitment.

Now, a couple of questions :

When did you last frighten yourself in recruitment? …I mean, really frighten yourself with a decision, where you took a stand and backed raw potential…when you pushed others to outweigh the apparent risks and followed your belief in what an individual will bring to the role.

When did you last take a candidate bigger than the brief, someone you absolutely knew could be that talent headache in 2 years ? In 2 months, in 2 weeks ?

This, well this … is Extreme Recruiting.

Know this…when we place the fear of a candidate’s future success in the decision mix for any vacancy we are actually doubting both our own ability and our company’s will to harness talent,  to welcome risk. ..when we do this we are the epitomy of a  “Safe Recruiter”.

Know this, safe recruitment is poor recruitment.

When we think about this , in essence just how average we can really be at times, when we really set my mind to it – well, it just doesn’t feel great does it?

So, imagine for a minute a company, an industry, that always looks to frighten itself  in how it finds and embraces talent.

Imagine working for a company that actively welcomes ambition, that promised career opportunity cheques it  wasn’t totally sure it could cash.

Scary stuff yes. But exciting though, isn’t it?

Imagine working for a business that understands that talented, successful people innately co-create their future.  They do this with you, if you back them. They simply trust you to help them to grow their exposure as they grow their impact.

Imagine your career characterised as being a Talent Magnet,  someone that consciously  builds your legacy every time you bring in a new team member. Imagine it being ‘your thing’.

Imagine welcoming the pressure (and the odd worry) in thinking how you can possibly guide this talent to where it wants to go.

Imagine taking on the inescapable challenge to be a relevant and capable leader to someone more naturally suited to your current job than you.

Scary stuff. Exciting stuff.

Imagine embracing every day the truth that the most capable of leaders are never judged by what they personally do, but rather what their people do. They recruit ahead of the need, they take on great people.

Great leaders always write career cheques based on the unswerving belief that well nurtured talent always pay its own way.

Imagine deciding now, this very instant to take the leap and become your organisation’s very first Extreme Recruiter.

Go on… scare yourself.