Recruitment Lessons We Can Learn From Guy Fawkes

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In this blog, you will learn:

In light of Bonfire Night on 5th November, we have compiled some recruitment lessons from none other than Guy Fawkes himself. Bonfire Night is a special night in the UK, stemming from an iconic moment in Britain’s bloody history, but it’s much more than a night of fireworks, bonfires and toffee apples. It actually comes from a story that has a lot of morals and interesting insights.

Bonfire Night is associated with the Gunpowder Plot and there are valuable recruitment lessons that we can learn from the notorious Guy Fawkes. Although Guy Fawkes wasn’t successful, he is a recognisable figure still taught in schools across England today. So let's learn from his mistakes and apply these lessons to your recruitment journey!

Who is Guy Fawkes?

Bonfire Night essentially celebrates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot on 5th November in 1605, in which 13 conspirators unsuccessfully planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill the King in order to bring about change and establish catholic rule in England. They were stopped after an anonymous letter to the authorities revealed their plans and Guy Fawkes was the one caught red-handed.

Guy Fawkes became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, but he wasn't the ringleader or the mastermind behind the plan. Despite his criminal status, Guy Fawkes has also been painted as a symbol of resistance, rebellion and political intrigue, and his nearly fatal actions could have meant things were very different today. 400 years on, people in Britain still light bonfires and models of Guy Fawkes on Bonfire Night.

Recruitment lessons we can learn from Guy Fawkes

Now we’re not saying to take inspiration from a man who planned to blow up Parliament, but here are 7 valuable recruitment lessons that we can learn from Guy Fawkes.

  • Have a plan of action.
  • Know the risks you're taking.
  • Trust is priceless.
  • Consider candidates' intentions.
  • Attract the best people.
  • Consider your role.
  • Timing is everything.

Have a plan of action

Good recruiting requires effective planning and thinking about the present as well as the future of the business. It is important to have an action plan and strategies in place to ensure the smooth and successful growth of a business and to discuss the plan so candidates can understand the way that the business works.

The Gunpowder Plot was planned in advance and everyone knew what their role was. They ultimately failed, so make sure your plan is foolproof. Planning is effective to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page. Effective communication, meticulous planning and research are vital to ensure that your plan runs smoothly and that you stay relevant in a competitive job market.

Know the risks you’re taking

Probably the biggest takeaway from the Gunpowder Plot is to understand the risks that you are taking and not bite off more than you can chew. Guy Fawkes didn’t consider every possible risk, otherwise he might not have got caught and punished! 

It’s important that you don’t make mistakes in your recruitment process and consider every possibility and outcome to ensure you are prepared. Discuss opportunities as well as concerns and risks with candidates letting you down, problems with worker rights or false credentials.

Paying attention to detail allows you to determine where the risks lie and ways to improve or prevent it. Under or overestimating a candidate can have a negative impact on the candidate experience and negatively impact your business. Assess the situation and consider every possible risk or outcome, so candidates can trust you.

Trust is priceless

The Gunpowder Plot partly failed due to a breach of trust, and while it’s good that no one was hurt, the failed attempt is a prime example of what can happen when there is a lack of trust. The same can be applied to recruitment and the importance of forging meaningful relationships with candidates.

It’s important to treat candidates with respect, fairness and to foster loyalty from the start of the recruitment process. Communicating with candidates and keeping them in the loop cultivates a culture of trust and allows recruiters to identify and nurture top talent. Open discussions, a welcoming environment and plentiful conversations are important factors that increase trust, reliability and integrity in candidates.

Regardless of the hiring outcome, it is important to contribute to a positive candidate experience and leave candidates with the belief that there are better options and more fulfilling career options out there. Be honest about their career experience, role suitability and their goals, to ensure that they are kept updated about the status of their journey.

Consider candidates intentions

It sounds simple, but it is really important to get to know your candidates and identify their goals and intentions. Engaging with candidates allows recruiters to source better options and opportunities. Ask candidates what they hope to achieve, or what they want to prioritise in their career, and consider the impact you can have on their recruitment experience.

The reasoning for the Gunpowder Plot was to bring about change and reestablish Catholic rule in England. Guy Fawkes and (most of) his fellow plotters had clear intentions and motivations, but it was the execution that failed… quite literally.

Take the time to understand what candidates are looking for and see if this aligns with your business plans and goals. Discover candidates needs, expectations and what it is they hope to achieve and refocus your own values and ethos to keep employees fulfilled and engaged.

Attract the best people

In today's competitive job market, it is crucial for recruiters and hiring professionals to attract the best talent and match them to the perfect opportunity and work environment. You don’t want to settle for second best so it’s important to make sure you source the best candidates for the role while also considering the best cultural fit.

A great way to find the perfect candidate is to build up a talent pipeline and keep them on file ready when the next opportunity arises. The talent pipeline for the Gunpowder Plot consisted of 13 men and to this day, there are theories that one of them betrayed the others. The lesson here is to be sure that someone is the right match for an organisation and that their goals align with those of the business or organisation.

Consider what role they will play

Consider the part everyone plays in a business and what you're looking for in order to ensure the best growth. Guy Fawkes wasn’t the mastermind behind the Gunpowder Plot, but as the explosives expert he played an important role and brought his own expertise to the table.

Guy Fawkes might have been the one caught with the barrels of gunpowder, and the first of the plotters to be arrested, but his actions ensured he would be immortalised on Bonfire Day and talked about for centuries. 

The same can be said of people who are looking to target and attract ideal candidates. The way to do this is by considering the qualities and strengths that make up the best person for the role and who will help the organisation thrive.

Timing is everything

Guy Fawkes was about to blow up the Houses of Parliament when he was caught in the act. His timely arrest is proof that timing is everything, and that goes for finding the right employees for your business.

You should know exactly where to find your ideal candidates and how to approach, select and hire the best talent to ensure your organisation is able to prosper. The timing can differ depending on the role, organisation, seniority of the position etc.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

We continually reimagine the recruitment process to challenge convention and defy expectations; from creating a better recruitment experience to remodelling employee engagement, we thrive off doing things differently and turning heads along the way. 

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