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Mayweather vs McGregor – A Recruitment Parable

by Thomas de Freitas

Watching the mesmerising spectacle that was the Mayweather/McGregor fight from inception to inevitable conclusion, I found myself noting the parallels between a specialist agency recruiter vs an onsite recruiter.

In the one corner, you have the agency specialist – as an industry they’ve been around, at least in their current iteration, for over 50 years, focusing on one key discipline – let’s call it Finance recruitment. They have a fully coded database of over 50,000 Finance professionals and an unrivalled understanding of Finance requirements.

In the other corner, you have the young pretender, the onsite recruiter. A new form of recruiting that’s multidisciplinary. Recruiting into Finance but also into HR, IT, Legal, Marketing, Sales – in fact there are very few things they can’t and won’t recruit into. They have no database, only LinkedIn (with no salary indication, no specific geography, no personal knowledge of the candidates) etc.

Only in the last two or three years has the direct sourcing model come to prominence with many saying it will take over from specialist agencies (in much the same way UFC has blown up in the last few years and is touted by many as taking over from boxing).

So, when a Finance role comes up – who is going to fill it? Mayweather or McGregor? The specialist, or the newcomer who has had exposure to Finance recruitment, but has no substantial grounding in the discipline.

My money would always be on Floyd – but with a healthy respect for what Conor is trying to do and how big an ask it is.

My interpretation would also be – both parties ought to offer the other more respect from the outset.

The onsite recruiter needs to appreciate they are effectively a novice in the space – it’s disrespectful to suppose you can just pitch up with a bit of ham-fisted LinkedIn headhunting and the odd advert and secure your company the best candidate for the job… and that’s before we get to the minefield of closing a candidate with no intermediary buffer.

Equally, the seasoned pro needs to avoid underestimating their opponent. As we saw on Sunday morning, spirit and determination can get you 10 rounds in. That isn’t going to win, but it’s impressive – especially with so little experience (to stretch the analogy you might consider a coded database with phone numbers and emails with prior relationships vs clunky LinkedIn). And there’s always the lucky punch – the miracle ad response that KO’s Mayweather. But how often does that happen?

Do I think UFC will take over from Boxing? Not any time soon, and Boxing will always exist in one form or another. Do I think there is further cross-over potential from both sides?

Absolutely.

Don’t get me wrong, Floyd would get murdered in the Octagon. But equally, you aren’t going to catch Floyd anywhere near an Octagon. He’s a specialist and his specialism is governed by the Queensbury rules.

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