Spoiler alert: Batman's recruiting strategy in the Justice League

Let’s look past the critical faults in the movie — it was still entertaining.

Every hero in the Justice League is a lone wolf profile — individuals that are highly talented but don’t necessarily work well on a team.

So how did Batman recruit all of them? Any recruiter or team lead who watches the movie will instantly recognize several of the tactics that we use every day in business.

Wonder Woman — executive recruiting.

Batman knew that Wonder Woman was the best leader for the team. Her moral compass and compassionate yet powerful persona makes her a talent magnet. Besides, she has key leadership experience from her days in Amazonia leading troops of star fighters. So he recruited her first.

He had to do a lot of research to find her and built a relationship with her over a long period of time leading up to the events in the Justice League, which was a very long period of candidate nurturing. He even sent her email nurture campaigns as we saw at the end of the Wonder Woman movie.

This kind of long term relationship building is key in executive searches.

Aquaman — do you know someone that’s good? Why yes, it’s me.

A great recruiting tactic is asking for referrals — sometimes from the person you want to hire. Have you asked someone “Do you know someone good for this position?” only to have them say “Maybe I might be interested” or “Yes, it’s me.” Mark Roberge used this tactic when hiring a billion dollar sales team at Hubspot, in his book The Sales Acceleration Formula.

That’s exactly what happened with the Aquaman recruiting scene in the movie, where Batman asked a room full of villagers if they knew someone powerful and benevolent because he’d really like to get an intro. Turns out Aquaman was one of those present and reveals himself as both, with a dash of aquatic swagger of course.

The Flash — college recruiting and trust building.

Note that Batman didn’t outsource recruiting to Alfred. He did the first outreach himself. With the Flash, this created a great first candidate experience because he was blown away by the fact that Batman himself came to see him.

In case you didn’t notice, Batman always went on recruiting field trips as Bruce Wayne, and not Batman. By revealing his true identity in the first encounter with the Flash, he signaled instantly that he was willing to trust the Flash, which created instant loyalty from the new grad recruit.

Turns out that the level of trust you build with your future boss in the recruiting process matters a lot to candidates when accepting a job offer.

At the very end, when Barry Allen gets a job in his civilian life, he mentions to his father that he got a referral from Bruce Wayne. Follow through in supporting employees after they leave your team is just as important!

Cyborg — learning and development as a recruiting tool.

Sending Wonder Woman, the future leader of the Justice League to recruit Cyborg was a master recruiting move. It did a few things

  1. It was important for Cyborg’s first interaction to be with someone who he could relate to, someone who was more compassionate than Bruce Wayne, and Diana Pierce was a great choice. Note that she too, didn’t go to him as Wonder Woman, in order to build trust.
  2. Wonder Woman didn’t pitch the skills needed for the job or interview Cyborg, she pitched it as a learning and development opportunity when she revealed that she was also getting over loss, and that maybe they needed each other to get better.
  3. She implied that what Cyborg had was a gift, a talent that he could develop and harness, rather than a burden — a signal that by joining the team he could undergo personal development, something that’s very important especially for millennial job seekers.

One of the funniest points in the movie is when Barry Allen (the Flash) asks Batman — “What’s your superpower again?”

Bruce Wayne replies “I’m rich.”

What he should have said is “I’m a recruiter.”


PS: When I'm not nerding out about superheroes, I'm nerding out about recruiting at Drafted

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