The Luck Factor. “The harder I work the luckier I get”. The luck factor in recruitment.

This is something I published on June 21, 2020 on Linkedin. And forgot to publish here! 🖖

I’ve been busy last week. While conducting my first recruitment coaching sessions I was researching something called luck and how to apply it to recruitment, especially nowadays.

“Bad luck” AND “good luck” appeared a lot during these sessions, in various contexts so I felt obliged to take a closer look at this fascinating factor. It actually exists in the actual book written in 2003 by prof. Richard Wiseman called — no surprise here — “The Luck Factor”. How and why I came across this particular book is a different story and I am happy that I did. Was I lucky to find it? Doubt it. Did I do the job to find it? Yup. Did I know I am looking for this exact book? Nope.

So, cut to the chase. In 1993 prof. Richard Wiseman started his research and experiments that over a decade gave him a solid scientific proof that people can influence their luck. He wanted to find out why some people are luckier than others. One simple experiment he conducted was to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot opportunities. He gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He also secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” While it was clear for everyone to see, the unlucky people missed it and the lucky people found it. He concluded that unlucky people are generally more anxious than lucky people, and this anxiety prevents them from noticing opportunities. As a result they miss potential opportunities because they are too focused on achieving a given goal.

You probably see where I am going with this and you probably think “what an obvious bullshit, why even waste time on writing this” ergo why you are wasting time to read it. But is it really so obvious, though? 5 out of 5 already somehow successful recruiters that I had the pleasure to conduct a sample coaching session said that it frustrates them that other recruiters are luckier. Especially 3 recruiters coming from agencies were highly frustrated by that since they heavily compete with other agency based recruiters. But it was also relevant to 2 in-house recruiters, as they came to realize that they are also competing with other recruiters outside of their organization. Now, again — so obvious, you would think. Well, think again.

What opportunities were they missing then, while focusing on chasing the ideal candidate? Why were they frustrated when this ideal candidate already said “no”? Why do they feel they didn’t meet expectations while having a sense of urgency to fill a given position? What would help them — which tools, what attitude?

Sounds like very basic and dry questions. This is just the beginning of our discovery journey. 3 out of 5 recruiters signed up for a regular 4 weeks coaching programme with me and we will be focusing on how to maximize chance opportunities, how to listen to gut feelings, how to expect good fortune aka how to not assume, and how to turn “bad luck” to “good luck”.

Recruitment is all about taking a holistic approach, being able to see the bigger picture or, as my favorite manager from Accenture used to say — having “helicopter view”.

Stay tuned for more.

Thanks for reading. Like, share, comment!

P.S. If you wonder why I started this article with a quote from Gary Player, a widely considered to be one of the greatest golfers ever — nope, I really don’t play golf :)

IT Recruiter. Not influencer nor expert. Just people person with hint of geek-ness at heart. Unconscious competent. Looking hard at things around. Holistic.

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