Talent Circles

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Difference Between Dumb Luck and True Luck in Hiring

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

There are two types of recruiters in our industry – those who let candidates come to them and those who go after candidates. We know that the success of a recruiter often lives and dies with their ability and desire to proactively source candidates. However, the common view from outsiders is that it’s all about luck. But we know that the way recruiters work is far from completely running on luck, although there is a type of luck that recruiters also must rely on.

Luck is deceiving because it’s typically only categorized in one way – plain, dumb luck. But luck can actually mean a few different things. It can be true dumb luck, the type where you bet on the winning horse for the Triple Crown and your best guess was truly a shot in the dark. You rolled the dice and won, simple as that. But the other type of luck is what I like to call true luck. It involves planning and research long before something comes to be. For an outsider looking in, it’s hard to discern which type of luck you, as a professional, are leveraging. And to most people it may not even matter which luck you’re utilizing, but once you sit down and talk to business leaders, recruiting professionals or CEOs you can easily get a sense of which type of luck they are favoring.

Jac Fitz-Enz, author of the book “The New HR analytics,” describes the difference between dumb luck and true luck as being preparation. Sure, planning seems simple enough, but just like there is more than one type of luck, there is more than one type of preparation. The best kind of preparation doesn’t simply mean getting ready. It’s more about predictive planning. According to Fitz-Enz, there are four steps that make up what we simply call preparation.

The first step in predictive planning is to survey internal factors and external forces to see how they affect, or could affect, your organization. This lets you know where you’re starting and what you need to plan for.

The planning portion of predictive management takes what we know about succession planning a step further. In the past, succession and staffing planning has been structured while it should be something fluid that makes use of critical thinking, not just tradition.

Since most human resources processes are considered to have inputs, throughputs and outputs, analysis should reveal how to optimize the inputs and throughputs so the outputs are maximized.

All the things that have been observed, including strategic, operational and leading factors are combined to tell a story, and in this case, it should be of the future.

I like to think of predictive planning as preparation on steroids. This systematic, yet flexible approach to gearing up for what’s around the corner is far more effective than what most of us call preparation. By using this predictive planning model, we’re setting ourselves up for true luck, the kind that combines our hard work with being in the right place at the right time. And as you’d probably guess, true luck beats dumb luck any day.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell


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