Recruiting Isn’t Win at All Costs

According to the dictionary definition, Sportsmanship is an “aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with your competitors” (WIKI). Simply boiled down, Sportsmanship often becomes a respect for your sport and a respect for your competitors alongside a drive to win the game. It is conceptualized with courage, self-control in the face of turmoil, and discipline in your training.

In football, unsportsmanlike conduct can cost you 15 yards or maybe even your star quarterback for the start of your season. A great example is the 2011 Indianapolis Colts who ended their season with a 2-14 record, effectively losing their way to one of the best team rebuilds in this generation of the NFL. On the cusp of releasing their franchise Quarterback Peyton Manning, many wondered if the Colts were intentionally throwing games in order to secure a higher draft pick and pick up current play-caller Andrew Luck. With two of the best pass-rushers in the league on their roster, it was a questionable as to how the Colts had one of the worst pass defenses in the league in 2011 (WIKI).

They have since made playoffs every year with Andrew Luck standing in the pocket, and it brings their Sportsmanship into question.

Throwing a game to secure a professional advantage is disrespectful to both your sport and your opponents.

04 Ed Cartoon

In the workforce and business, Sportsmanship is the ability to own up to your mistakes but keep your perspective and focus on a goal without walking over others to reach your aspirations. Where the recruiting industry falls is the lack of support from professional to professional, as well as the continued lack of respect shown towards the industry as a whole.

The lack of training that is given to recruiters in this industry has given professionals a “win at all costs” attitude, but not the ability to do so without burning candidates and clients alike with unprofessional activities. A lack of respect for the reputation of the recruitment industry and the consummate professionals who are doing their jobs efficiently everyday means that unsportsmanlike recruiters get by every day with subpar tactics.

Do you understand yet how Sportsmanship affects you in the corporate world?

Oftentimes, Corporate North America conflates Gamesmanship with Sportsmanship but the two are not alike in the slightest.

Gamesmanship is based on the idea that winning and getting ahead is everything. This means that everything is done to gain a competitive advantage over an opponent, sacrificing the welfare of the competition (SCU). The ends will always justify the means to a recruiter who doesn’t care about the game.

Those who are slamming unqualified candidates into their pipeline just to play the numbers game, or harassing candidates that aren’t interested in their reqs will ultimately get fills doing their job poorly. But they affect not only their organization, but their industry poorly.

How about the people who are constantly putting others down in an attempt to validate their own business and professional experience? It happens in every industry, but because recruiters are such social animals it becomes a more in-your-face problem.

These unsportsmalike recruiters become the reason a candidate won’t speak to you, or why your client has no idea how to work with recruitment professionals.

But this idea of Gamesmanship over Sportsmanship is perpetuated everyday in the media with the vision of business as a bloodthirsty, no holds barred battle against everyone who isn’t with your organization. Yes, there are no ethics in business but the recruiters in your organization should have enough respect for their team and their ability to win that they behave with decorum and the idea of sportsmanship.

How do we affect change in our industry so that we can adjust this view of negative view of recruitment?

It comes down to those three boiled down points from the beginning; courage, self-control in the face of turmoil, and discipline in your training.

The courage to know you can win without slamming others in your industry, the self-control to avoid putting down others to propel yourself forward in business, and the discipline in your training to back up the notion that you deserve to win.

We have created a place where recruiters can go and vent, chat, and share their work day stories judgment free. Feel free to ask questions about clients, candidates and your career. Join the Recruiter’s Breakroom, open to everyone in the industry.


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