Talent recruitment, what can you learn from the special forces?

There is a war going on. A war for talent. If you have read “Talent masters”, “Workplace 2020” or any of the latest books in the human resource space you are aware of the importance of recruiting and retaining talent.

What can you learn from the special forces?

81% of CEOs claim that they are losing that war. George Anders in his book “The rare find” looks at what makes recruiter successful and uses examples from the special forces, the FBI, sports, venture capitalists, education and the medical sector. It explains how Facebook recruits their talent (online coding puzzles!).

The long tail in talent

The book refers to “The long tail” and how you can use that long tail to spot talent outside of the standard top resumes. Has elements of “Business exposed” (super CEOs and super talent are hugely overrated) and “Blink” (trust your instincts).

Key message

The book has a few key messages:

  • if you don’t know what is coming you need to hire the unexpected
  • look outside the box
  • resumes are only the tip of the iceberg, find out the whole story
  • read the resume upside down
  • it is not about skill, it is about character and hidden virtues
  • compromise on experience, do NOT compromise on character
  • use observation
  • ignore cultural fit at your peril
  • don’t look for “good enough” but “try to find the “could be spectacular”

Common sense

The book makes absolute common sense and in some ways, there is nothing new in it. The good companies and CEOs will understand the messages in the book instinctively.

Mavericks at work

I think it is a sister book besides “Mavericks at work” where the key message is that you need to recruit people that share your passion and that skills are secondary. This book has the same message about the importance of character and how that supersedes experience.

Your mum and dad and the FBI

How your mum and dad raised you is more important than your education. And it is best explained through what the FBI looks for in candidates.

  • Initiative, perseverance and compatibility
  • Discipline, trainability and judgement
  • Loyalty, leadership and maturity

You can’t gauge that from a resume.


sensemaking cover

Why reinvent the wheel and why not learn from the best business thinkers? And why not use that as a platform to make better business decisions? Alone or as a team.

Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

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Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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