If you’re not aware of the gargantuan achievement of Leicester City this past week, either you’ve been living under a rock, or you just don’t care for football. Either way, Leicester’s premier league triumph will be talked about for years to come, an absolute underdog success story. To put their win into perspective for those of you less interested in football, it’s basically on par with someone winning the Grand National, on a cat. Whilst performances on the field are ultimately what did it, planning and work behind the scenes was entirely crucial in achieving the feat. So, what can Leicester city teach us about recruitment? Here’s 4 recruitment lessons learned from the newly crowned premier league champions.
Seems obvious right? But in both the business world and the football world, too often the biggest downfall is poor recruitment. Well planned out and smart recruitment is the foundation of Leicester’s success. Hiring based on a perception of potential quality, rather than splashing the cash on big names has been key to their success. The likes of Danny Drinkwater, Wes Morgan, Marc Albrighton and N’Golo Kante, we’re considered a band of outcasts and misfits at the start of the season. Now two of them, plus Vardy and Mahrez, earned a spot in the PFA team of the year. What this can teach us about recruitment, is all about spotting potential, and smart hiring. The underdog mentality is certainly something that drove this team forward all season. Hiring the ‘scrapper’ gives you someone motivated to prove their worth and passionate about exceeding expectations; just like Leicester did!
Recruiters and hiring managers can often be found guilty of rushing recruitment processes. Taking the time to really understand the needs of the business as well as the potential of the person is critical to success. There’s an abundance of top flight football clubs who are more focussed on recruiting those who are best on paper, rather than take the time to realise the future value of a player. Not long ago, star player Riyad Mahrez played in the French second division, and leading marksman Jamie Vardy was a lowly non-league footballer. Recruitment at Leicester City took the time to properly assess these players, taking into account what they could achieve, rather than what they already have done. Having the patience, and skill, to know whether somebody has the potential to be a success, and not just identify their past experience, is a skill that applies just as much to recruitment as it does to football.
No matter how close they got, and how many records they broke, Claudio Ranieri always kept Leicester grounded. Early on in the season when they were flying high, Ranieri told the media that the target was always 40 points; Premier League safety (see video below). And even when people began to realise they had a genuine chance of winning it, the targets were always small steps at a time. By doing this, Ranieri was always in control of the team’s expectations, protecting them from being over hyped in the media and losing it on the pitch. Smart goal setting applies to all walks of life; not just in the world of recruitment. For recruiters, being able to deliver on a realistic target ensures a healthy client relationship. And for hiring managers, setting realistic time frames for filling a vacancy, and doing so with someone who’ll deliver value, is one of the most important recruitment lessons that can be taken from Leicester’s success.
There’s so many life and business lessons that can be taken from Leicester’s remarkable success. But one of the recruitment lessons that really underpins their success? Teamwork. It’s easy to preach the importance of teamwork, but putting it into practice can be a whole other challenge. Leicester’s team of outcasts and misfits may be the best story in football ever, maybe even sport itself. It was only possible with an unbreakable team spirit where everyone banded together for one shared goal (excuse the pun). Utilising the people around you (your HR department, your recruiting colleagues) and their skills and knowledge, is absolutely the best tactic you can take from the new Premier League champions.