Lions Tour… who would you recruit?

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The Lions are now well underway with their tour of New Zealand.

A group of mixed performances is probably the best way to describe it so far, impressive performances against Crusaders and Maori’s are overshadowed by poor efforts against the Blues and Provincial Barbarians.

It was no surprise that New Zealand came out comfortably on top in the first test and hopefully the Lions will have learnt a few lessons and a few positive changes can take them to victory in the two further tests.

I have always loved the Lions tours as there are generally a few surprise candidates in there. You wondered how they were put on the plane in the first place but they turn out to be a star of the tour. Thoughts spring back to previous tours with players like Alex Corbisiero and Ugo Monye looking like world beaters despite having slightly above average performances back home. This tour seems to be no different as Ben Te’o and Peter O’Mahony show their class. When looking back over the history books I’m sure you will find a few from each tour.

On the flip-side there are always a few you believed would be definite for the starting 15 and they just can’t seem to turn it on. Jonathan Joseph and George North are two of the world’s best in their respective positions on their day but, as yet, can’t seem to show their full potential this summer. Previous tours have seen Brian O’Driscoll dropped, Stephen Jones failing to live up to his 6 nations hype and Josh Lewsey being shown up last time in New Zealand.

The selection process for the Lions Tour is similar in many ways to the recruitment selection process, and shows sometimes you need to have a slightly more open mind when considering people for certain roles and in turn candidates need to keep an open mind when considering companies. There are always a few surprises and some, who on paper look to be perfect, actually don’t work out whereas on other occasions the candidate/client you didn’t think too much of to begin with, can turn out to be the perfect match.

As with the Lions you must first shortlist from a large pool of people, too many times will a company go through a tick boxing exercise of years’ experience, qualifications, sectors whereas the guys with slightly different skills and experience in different sectors can often bring a new way of thinking and new approaches which could benefit a company even further. Candidates must also look at companies with a fresh set of eyes and think positively how some of their different capabilities and background can suit a company. In many ways, this is how Ben Te’o used his Rugby League background to shut down Sonny Bill Williams offloading in a Rugby Union game for the first test with great effect.

When selecting people for interview some people will always stand out from the crowd and seem to have the exact experience needed, worked for the right companies and be the exact salary range. But, let’s be honest, these candidates don’t always exist and in these cases you need to think a little bit outside of the box. This is where it is important to not only interview the “perfect candidate” on paper but also a few others with different levels of experience and skills. Also, the perfect candidate on paper may not always be the ideal fit come interview “game“ time (much like George North on this tour). Then, the person who offers something different like Ben can steal the show and be the best person for the role. It may be the enthusiasm they show, the parallels they bring from other industry or passion they have for the role fits like Peter O’Mahony’s work ethic throughout this tour earning him the captaincy for the first test.

Morale of the story? What is more relevant than this? Perhaps the point I am trying to make is the stats and form on a player or the name they have is similar to that of a person’s CV and references. They can look great on paper have great people saying good things about them but the interview falls flat whilst the person you sent over based on enthusiasm and willingness who only ticks half the requirements turns out to be the one who gets the job.

Using the Lions tour as an example, my choice for the Lions match day squad varies massively since the start of the tour to now.

Before the tour based on skills shown over the past couple of years:

15 Hogg, 14 North, 13 Joseph, 12 Farrell, 11 Nowell, 10 Sexton, 9 Murray, 8 Stander, 7 Warburton, 6 O’Brien, 5 Kruis, 4 itoje, 3 Cole, 2 Owens, 1 M Vunipola

Although I accept some of these players have since been dropped due to injury, this is who I said at the start:

16 George, 17 Marler, 18 Furlong, 19 Wyn-Jones, 20 Haskell, 21 Laidlaw, 22 Davies 23 Watson

Now since watching the players who have stepped up to the mark and put their best foot forward (this is my opinion, I accept there are a few close calls in there but this is who I would go for):

15 Williams, 14 Watson, 13 Davies, 12 Te’o, 11 Daly, 10 Farrell, 9 Murray, 8 Faletau, 7 Warburton, 6 O’Brien, 5 Lawes, 4 Itoje, 3 Furlong, 2 George, 1 M Vunipola

16 Best, 17 McGrath, 18 Sinckler, 19 Henderson, 20 O’Mahony, 21 Webb, 22 Biggar, 23 Nowell

As a man who lives and breathes rugby I could talk about the Lions tours for days but due to a lack of talent I have a different job to get on with.

I am always open to a discussion on any recruitment needs you may have or, if I can help you with your search for a new position, I can always have a quick chat about the second test with hopefully more good news than the first!

Author: Garrath Bell, Recruitment Consultant – Technical Engineering

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