Recruiting is a Triathlon, not a Sprint

Originally posted on the SmashFly Recruitment Marketing Blog.


I competed in my first triathlon this past weekend and overall I was really happy with the results. I walked off the course, knowing that I put everything I had into the race and beat a few of my friends in the process (which was the goal).


As I look back at the event, there are a few things that I came away with that I think fit really well with recruiting. Here are my takeaways:


Actual results trump Perceptions every time: When I finally was able to see my times for the Triathlon, I was surprised. After crossing the finish line, I thought my bike stage was by far the part where I made up time on everyone else with the run being the slowest of the three stages. But in looking over my recorded times, the run was actually my best event. I was able to finish 15th in my age group because I ran the 12th fastest run.


The key here is that my perceptions of where I excelled turned out to be very different from the actual results. It is important in recruiting that you don’t allow your perceptions of what works best to cloud your judgment when evaluating your best recruiting channels. Collect the right recruitment metrics and make sure your perceptions actually tie into the actual results.


Wear many hats but always have your favorite: For the triathlon, I had to train and get comfortable in three main areas (swimming, biking, running). I needed to know that I could do the distances for each as well how far I could push myself. But all through the process of training, I knew my favorite event would be the bike. While not my best event, the bike allowed me to set the tone for the run and where I was in the pack (and it also allowed me to put some serious distance in between myself and my friends in the Tri).


As a recruiter, you need to be flexible in the positions and people that you specialize in filling for your organization. Wear many hats in helping fill positions across the organization and always look for opportunities to match up candidates with other positions your company is hiring (not just your own.) But the key is to also know and understand your sweet spot as well whether it’s Java Programmers, External Sales or Customer Service. Those are the areas you really shine and can add the most value to your organization.


Preparation is the key to everything: As I was training for the triathlon, I made sure to master the distances for the Triathlon and then some, ultimately being able to do 1.5 times the distances required. Without this training wouldn’t have known I could push as hard as I did and I would have had a much worse time. I also knew in the back of my mind that I had done all this before, so I could build on all my previous efforts instead of recreating them.


For Recruitment Marketing, preparation is key as well! There are many ways to prepare for recruiting and here are just a few:


  • Decide what recruiting channels are the best to use for a given position by looking at your recruitment metrics.
  • Identifying candidate contacts in your Recruitment CRM or Opt-In database that meet the skill sets for the position. Reach out to them. (If you don’t have a CRM or Opt-In option on your careers page, I highly advise you get one.)
  • What does the interview process look like and who’s interviewing the candidates? Make sure to know this so you can set an expectation for qualified candidates.


Recruiting is a long and hard road. However, continued and sustained success in this area can lead to great benefits and growth prospects for your company. Make sure to think of recruiting efforts as a triathlon (or marathon or journey) where preparation, metrics and flexibility can lead to continued success.


Thinking of it as a sprint will just wear you out!



About the Author: Chris is the Marketing Analyst for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly is the provider of the first recruitment marketing platform called WildFire that enables companies and staffing firms to easily distribute and more importantly measure the performance of their recruiting efforts online.


The WildFire recruitment marketing platform offers every tool you need for your recruitment marketing needs all in one centralized solution including Real-Time Recruitment Metrics, Job Ad Distribution (job boards, social networks, SEM, email & SMS campaigns), Recruitment Opt-In Database, Recruitment CRM, Web Commercials / Micro-sites and Resume Sourcing services.

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