3 Recruitment Lessons From the 2012 Summer Olympics

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Recruitment Learnings at the London Summer Olympics

The torch has been lit and the London 2012 Summer Olympics have officially kicked off. While the Olympics are all about sports achievements, this doesn’t mean they can’t teach us a thing or two in the process. Recruiters are always looking for ways to hire better and achieve greatness for their companies. Who knows greatness better than those talented men and women who managed to make it all the way to the biggest athletic competition in the world?

There are plenty of hiring and recruitment lessons to be learned from our fast, strong, and talented athletes currently competing in the London Olympic games. Here are a few tips courtesy of our Olympic friends, no trial required:

#1 Look for Employee Passion

If there’s one thing these 2012 Summer Olympics foster, it’s a sense of passion and dedication from the athletes who compete in the games. These people aren’t in it for the fat paycheck. Many Olympians have to overcome impossible odds just to make it to the games.  This may be the same for your employees.  Employees filled with passion for the company and its product are a very powerful thing.

For example take the story of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who will be competing in the 400-meter dash and 1,600-meter relay. Pistorius is a double amputee with no lower legs, who will be racing his able-bodied competitors thanks to carbon-fiber prosthetic blades. It would have been easy for Pistorius to give up and throw in the towel on his Olympic dreams, but instead he worked hard to overcome and will be competing on the world’s stage.

This is the kind of passion you need in your organization. Passion is the number one most powerful recruiting tool. Olympians don’t spend untold hours practicing their craft if they’re not passionate. You need to look for similar passion when recruiting for open positions. Don’t just hire someone with an impressive resume but impassive attitude. Instead, find the candidate who puts together an impressive video resume or keeps an industry-related blog. Go for the gold and find the candidate that has true passion for your company.

#2 Build a Powerful Employer Brand

The reason athletes are willing to expend blood, sweat, and tears in the effort to get into the Olympics is because of powerful branding. The Olympics have been established into the premiere event for athletes from all sports and from all countries. Athletes aren’t competing for the money, they’re competing for the glory.

If you build a powerful company brand, you too can attract the top talent. These people won’t just want to work for your company because of your compensation packages or platinum benefits. They’ll want to work for your company because it’s a leader in the field. A powerful employer brand should be built along all platforms. Use your current employees as brand ambassadors, utilize your web presence, and get connected on social media. Make sure candidates know your company is the place to be and they’ll compete for a chance to make your organization better.

#3 Performance Trumps Employee Qualification

There’s no such thing as an impressively qualified dud when it comes to the Olympics. Because every athlete attempting to get into the Olympics has to first pass the Olympic trials, the Olympic Games are only filled with the best of the best. If they can compete at a top level during the trials, they’ll be competing in the games.

Recruiters can get too wrapped up in a candidate’s previous performance and qualification. These things don’t matter as much as what the candidate will bring to the table in the here and now. Like these 2012 Olympics, recruiters can adopt more task-based methods of evaluating an employee and candidates in the hiring process, including performance-based tests. Top candidates will jump these hurdles with ease.

What are some other hiring lessons we can take from the Olympics? Share in the comments!

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire onFacebook and Twitter.

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