And the winner is... Competing

And the winner is... Competing

13 Mar 09:00 by Natasha South


It was one of the biggest clangers of the year; the biggest in Oscar history, and it has been seen by over 60 million people.

However, what could have been a disaster for the Academy, caused upset and tension for the crew of La La Land and resentment for Moonlight’s, actually turned into a celebration of the film industry.

Whilst these two films have been competing for a year now, from trying to get more of a share of box office audiences, through to trying to win the most prestigious awards in the industry, ultimately they realised that it was about the film industry and not them.

In announcing a mistake had been made and being so magnanimous, Jordan Horowitz (the producer of La La Land) showed his true character.  Even though it was difficult, awkward, and frankly embarrassing, he stayed on stage to congratulate his Moonlight competitors.

And in accepting the award, the Moonlight producers showed their class.  Backstage, after one of the most shocking moments in Oscar history, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins told reporters that “the folks from ‘La La Land’ were so gracious. I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. … I wasn’t speechless because we won. I was speechless because they were so gracious.”

It got me thinking; how would a recruitment business have acted in that position.  If you had to give way to your competitor in front of everyone.  I am not sure it would be done with so much grace on either side.

The recruitment industry is not known for competing well, which is to the industry’s detriment.  I am not talking about freak incidents at awards shows, I am talking about day in day out occurrences.  Whether that be at client meetings, candidate registrations, supplier events, PSL reviews etc.  The consultants that compete well are generally held in much higher regard and are also normally the most successful.  So why do so few do it?

Here are some top tips on how to handle the results of a competition:

  • Always congratulate your opponents
  • Win with grace / celebrate success respectfully
  • Maintain your dignity always
  • Suppress any infuriation
  • Show self-control
  • Stick to the rules
  • Give the benefit of doubt
  • Avoid whining

So why does the recruitment industry not compete so well?  Is it vanity or is it an organic culture that nobody really questions?   Or could it simply be demographics?

If we are to improve the perception of the recruitment sector, which is something I am passionate about doing, then we must learn to compete in a more appropriate way.  It starts at the top and needs to be driven through middle management levels.  People entering this industry – which is an amazing one – need to know that you can compete well and be successful.  Only then will recruiters unshackle themselves from the burden of being characterised as slippery with few morals.