The Flappy Birds Approach to Recruiting

Every few months or so, a new game app comes around that my 16 year old daughter and all of her friends go crazy over. They sit there in a deep stare, barely moving, likely not even breathing - then BOOM - an eruption of disappointment, followed by the resolve to do even better next time, even if it means subsidizing their time spent on homework or interacting with their parents. This goes on and on and on. The latest such app to grab their attention is Flappy Birds.

For me, as a guy in his mid-40's, this game goes back to simpler time (1980's) when graphics in games were pixelated and rough - certainly not the realistic, life-like graphics of today.

It reminds me of a portion of Mario Brothers when he would be in water and have to swim in between various pipes to get through the maze. Flappy Birds has the same pipes, but the bird must navigate through the sky, between pieces of pipe, and the goal is to see how many you can pass before eventually touching one and crashing to the ground. The player has to tap the screen to give the bird a little burst of wing power, or flappiness, in order to go up. No flappiness, the bird drops to the ground and crashes. It's really quite tragic!

As someone who focuses on Recruitment Optimization, I witness a lot of Flappy Bird recruiting taking place. As I speak with HR and Talent Acquisition leaders from across a wide spectrum of industries, they operate in a survival mode most often. They want to go with the strategies and processes and technologies and so on that they've been using for several years. They do this for a few reasons:

  • It's a comfort zone. They are used to doing it this way.
  • Change is scary. Fear of the unknown.
  • They think it is too time consuming and/or too expensive to evaluate and consider other options.

The Flappy Bird approach to recruiting is one where you intend to glide as long as possible, and only have to make a conscious effort to put more wind under the wings when absolutely necessary or when trouble lurks ahead. In other words, the status quo is good enough. But what happens when things begin to shift and the status quo is no longer good enough? There's a fine line in knowing when extra effort is necessary, and crashing altogether and having to start all over.

The truth is, in Recruitment Optimization, part of the evaluation process is taking into consideration where a team is today, the personalities reflected among the team, and trying to make sure that your optimization efforts do not overwhelm or become a drastic change for the team that will be executing the changes.  The implementation of recommended changes should be transitioned in slowly and in small bites in order to win the confidence of the team.

Click here if you'd like to know more about my Recruitment Optimization services.

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