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What are the KEY FACTORS for winning the rugby world cup?

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At the end of every Rugby World Cup campaign, the newly crowned champions celebrate and bathe in the glory and knowledge that they are the World Champions and no-one can take that away from them.

After the celebrations have subsided, the task of refining, replacing, rebuilding begins in earnest, focusing on getting it right, finding the best fit.

The same is true for any firm depending on an annual recruiting and selection cycle.  

Selection is the act of carefully choosing someone as being the best or most suitable for a given task or, a specific role within an organisation. When we look at recruitment and selection processes from a client’s perspective, our latest “hot off the press” research has shown us that there are as many as 13 expectations our clients have of us, some of them are:

  • Know our industry
  • Know the market
  • Respond to us on a timely basis
  • Have a clear understanding of the type of person that will fit our culture
  • Understand our business.

Key to your selection process should be the selection firm you choose, how you use their skills in your recruitment process and how you get the best out of them.   

Know our industry and our market

In every champion Rugby team time does not stand still.  Players retire through attrition, injury or seek alternative challenges. For firms the same is true; one only needs to google terms like “sector or industry expert” to see pages of results showing recruitment firms claiming expert status in various industries.

So what makes an industry and market expert and how do you identify the selection firm that will deliver a high performance service? There is a combination of indicators here. Longevity and presence in the specific sector you operate is a good start, as is a demonstrable track record with industry awards or market visibility and presence.

A company with high performance consultants will be able to offer you in depth and up to date market knowledge as these consultants retain key relationships from their personal networks. They communicate with both Clients and Candidates every day allowing them to offer up to date, educated and balanced views on the market that adds value to your selection process.

An example of using market knowledge can be illustrated in the Reinsurance and Direct Life market. A selection firm can potentially find themselves in a sensitive situation where they are working on an assignment for a Reinsurer as their Client and searching for candidates from a life insurance company which is reinsured by that Client.  

There are potentially several candidates who have a business relationship with the Client where an inappropriate or misdirected approach by the selection firm can have a negative effect on the business relationship. 

It is critical that the selection firm you choose are aware of these pitfalls and do their due diligence at the start of the process.

Respond to us on a timely basis

In a high performance team on-time communication is critical to success. Everyone needs to know the part they play, understand how they do it and execute for success.

A high performance selection firm is thorough in terms of outlining the process and for monitoring and reporting on the key check points in the recruitment process. They communicate clearly and concisely preventing processes from derailing and providing the added advantage of managing your expectations of the process.

Clear communication includes agreeing response times from the initial discussions of the brief to when you can expect high performance candidate submissions and the interview process itself.  

Candidate and Client feedback is communicated and managed throughout ensuring a smooth process with no hidden surprises. 

Have a clear understanding of the type of person that will fit our culture 

In every high performance team there is the ‘X Factor’ at an individual talent level. 

It is better for business results for a firm to have the right person than the best person. This means the firm doing the recruiting needs to define what it is looking for in detail.

There is a “garbage in – garbage out” challenge here. What will be a perfect candidate for firm A might be a disaster in firm B. A high performance selection firm will be focused on your requirements, not just “any” requirements.

It is crucial to define the attitudes and behaviours that typify your firm’s culture.  A significant part of this process is the high performance consultant’s knowledge of selection methods in order to identify talent and provide you with the most appropriate approach to be used in the interview process. They will be able to add value by offering different types of selection even offering in house assessment methods in the shape of skills based or psychometric tests.

We have found the relatively nominal costs of putting candidates through these assessments not only makes the pool of talent that you select for interview clear and defined in terms of the skill-set or attributes required but also ensures when they do join, their skills and attitudes are what your organisation requires for the role.  

Understanding our business

Going in to a tournament like the Rugby World Cup a team will have had a pre-prepared plan from day one and as the saying goes “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. In terms of actual selection the hard work is done by the selection firm behind the scenes; this isn’t a dark art but rather a focused approach using a series of techniques.

In five recently conducted separate studies conducted by Longwood and Indiana Universities across 198 sectors sampling 63,300 people, results indicate that only 20% of candidates are truly high performers. Research also shows that the defining factor in a high performance candidate is attitude and what is the right attitude varies from company to company. The question is how do we measure attitude?  This is where your selection firm should add significant  value by virtue of its own selection methods focused on the 20%.

The CIPD estimates the average cost of recruiting the wrong person is twice that person’s total compensation, rising to  2.5 times for senior managers or directors.  As an employer you have a 20% chance of finding a high performance  candidate when hiring and an 80% chance of hiring someone that could be a rather costly mistake.

Partnering with the right high performance selection firm from the start can help reduce this percentage and be a more enjoyable journey for both parties – clients and candidates.

Kind regards

Wade Newell