We all want to be the kind of recruiters who have the swaying power to convince candidates to follow us on a journey to pastures new. We like to think that we’re persuasive headhunters, capable of bringing people on board and selling them a vision that completely changes their prospects. But could any of us convince candidates to leave their pleasant positions for a placement in a crocodile-infested island thousands of miles from home, terrorised by pirates and disrupted by constant war?

Probably not, right? Then we’ve got a lot to learn from the prodigy recruiter that is Peter Pan.  Here’s a look at why Peter Pan is the original boy wonder of recruitment.


1. He persuaded his recruits to go to Neverland

Let’s be honest, if any of us tried to recruit candidates by creeping through their windows in the night, covering them in dust and trying to get them to fly out of the window, we’d probably end up behind bars. And yet Peter executes such charm and persuasion that he singlehandedly succeeds in accelerating the number of Neverland’s recruits.

With the gift of the gab and the innate trustability that he possesses, Peter persuades Wendy and her brothers to take a leap of faith into a new world armed only with a vision and a sprinkle of pixie dust.

As Peter explains, “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.” This is a motto that any recruiter will easily understand. Even after all the hard work and strategy involved, the hiring process is still essentially built on trust, a wing and a prayer and the ability to work magic.


2. He created conditions where his candidates could fly

With a little instruction and encouragement, Peter Pan made it possible for his recruits to follow him flying into the sky. It’s a recruiter’s job to streamline the hiring process for their candidates and facilitate an environment where they can achieve what they’re truly capable of.

With the nudge from Peter, Wendy & Co. believe that they can fly and go straight on to do it. Following Peter’s lead, the bright young recruits take the second star to the right and go straight on ‘til morning.

Likewise, if you’re a successful recruiter, your candidates should be able to fly in the role you place them in.


3. He didn’t neglect his guide duties

Nobody can say that Peter wasn’t fully transparent about Neverland. He took Wendy on a tour of the island that demonstrated the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright dangerous!

Wendy was fully aware of the pros and the cons and decided to stay. To avoid a high drop-out rate in newly placed jobs, every recruiter should be fully honest about what’s on offer. Unless you’re Peter, you probably won’t be able to convince candidates to stay somewhere that involves a blood-thirsty tyrant with a hook, but your honesty will at least get you better retention rates.


4. He led a team of Lost Boys

Let’s not forget that Peter was the head of a department of Lost Boys. Not only were these Lost Boys his friends, they also followed his every lead and together formed a tight unit. Not easy when you’re still a child!

Now, we’re not advising you to spirit away young boys as part of your recruitment drive, but it would certainly help if you had the strength of character to lead teams. If Peter could do it before he’d even hit his teens, there’s nothing holding you back either.


5. He always thought happy thoughts

We all know how horrible a bad day in recruitment can be. When it all goes wrong, it’s enough to make even the happiest of us want to weep/burst into rage. A candidate hasn’t turned up, you can’t source a single strong CV, you’ve missed a target…we’ve all had those days.

Now, we aren’t all lucky enough to have eternal youth to make us happy, but we can still attempt to think positive like Peter Pan. Even on a bad day, his thoughts were so happy that they enabled him to fly. If that doesn’t make for a prodigy recruiter, then we don’t know what does!


One thing is for certain: if Peter Pan would’ve grown up, he’d have been a world-class recruiter. Okay, he might need a better PA than an aggressive, jealous fairy to make it outside of Neverland, but he’d still smash it out of the water in the recruitment world.

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Comment by Nicholas Meyler on December 10, 2014 at 12:03am

J. M. Barrie, the author of "Peter Pan", was a chess master.  A trait or skill I would recommend for all Recruiters whose job it is to help others make wise 'career moves'.  The story also emphasizes 'derring-do' and sword-fighting onboard Hook's pirate ship... Fencing being another skill I highly recommend Recruiters should learn.

I remember the book being one of my favorites as a small child, and how I was fascinated with the picture of 'green poison' in the copy I owned.  Later, of course, I earned a living selling green industrial chemical solutions of Electroless Nickel, before I decided to get out of the highly toxic chemicals industry, and become a Recruiter.

Excellent article!  Thank you.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on December 10, 2014 at 12:25am

I was looking for some proof that J.M. Barrie was a chess master, and I might have been wrong.  However, his nephew was definitely a British Champion and a world-class player.  Here is some historical information about William Winter (Barrie's nephew):   http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/winter.html

Comment by Roxanne Abercrombie on December 10, 2014 at 3:41am

Ahh that's an interesting insight, thank you! Glad you enjoyed Nicholas. 


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