5 Recruiting Lessons from Game of Thrones

Posted 6-May -2019

Characters from Game of Thrones possess admirable qualities – diplomacy, sharp-wit and a never-give-up attitude. These qualities differentiate leaders in Westeros, and also resonate with leaders in the corporate world. Here we present five recruiting lessons that an HR leader can take from Game of Thrones.

1. Look for qualities beyond the CV
Missandei was a slave who was used as an interpreter. But Daenerys- a true Leader, saw beyond her surface skills.
If you wish to recruit the best employees in your organization, you must see beyond the candidates CV. On the surface, it seemed like her only skill was in translations. But Daenerys also saw a tactful diplomat and an individual whose values resonated with her organization. By freeing her from bondage and offering a position within her inner circle, she won her trust. When you gain the trust of your employees and colleagues, you improve their morale and productivity.

2. Look for candidates who have a vision for your organization
When Daenerys inducted Tyrion as The Hand, she made the most significant addition to her organization. A master strategist, Tyrion has managed to stay ahead of his enemies using his wit and ability to make brilliant decisions bearing in mind any long term repercussions.
The most effective leaders lead an organization from the middle management. And when they are empowered by the top management, it drives their own growth as well as moves the organization forward. The right candidates for your organization are not driven by money, but by the values of your organization.

3. Intrinsic diversity is more important than surface-level diversity
The Stargeryns comprise of Dothraki horsemen, Unsullied infantry, Northern Houses, two Lannister brothers, and the list goes on to include people from various backgrounds.
It is easier to engage in surface level diversity for an organization. Gender, complexion, religion and sexual orientation of candidates are pseudo parameters of diversity. But they do not create value for an organization. But when an organization engages in intrinsic diversity, it creates value by offering a wide array of approaches to any problem. Daenerys has created intrinsic diversity in her organization by hiring people with diverse exposures, experiences, views, instincts and competencies.

4. Cultural fit is essential
When Ned Stark joined Robert Baratheon as The Hand, it seemed like a good decision. A decision that could improve the organization because he was a true leader. But Ned wasn’t a cultural fit among the Lannisters.
Corporate culture is often the glue that holds the organization together. It becomes easier to co-operate and collaborate with like-minded people in the organization. Ned Stark held values which were vastly different. This sparked animosity among the members, as a result of which either Ned had to leave, or the organization had to break. And Lannisters would never allow their organization to break.

5. Appear as a Mentor
When Jaqen H’ghar recruited Arya into the Faceless Men, she had no prior experience. She had the will to learn, and the intelligence to learn it quickly. And when Jaqen appeared as a mentor to her, Arya decided to join his organization.
Many employees who enter the corporate world lack experience. As a result, they are looking for a mentor to guide them at the workplace. New recruits want valuable feedback and insights to gain wisdom and institutional knowledge. And when you appear as a mentor, they are inclined to join you because it becomes a path for their own self-development and growth.

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