Danny Ocean’s Guide to Effective Recruitment

Danny Ocean wants to score the biggest heist in history. He combines an eleven-member team, including Frank Catton, Rusty Ryan and Linus Caldwell. Their target? The Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand. All casinos owned by Terry Benedict. It’s not going to be easy, as they plan to get in secretly and out with $150 million. This is how IMDB introduces us to Ocean’s Eleven, a movie that is inarguably one of the coolest heist films of all time. George Clooney is the epitome of cool, and accompanied by the ever-charming Brad Pitt’s Rusty, strives to defeat his rival in business and love. It’s as complicated as it sounds, and despite their collective slickness weighing more than any other duo combined, they need a team to carry out their plan. Their careful selection of their heist team occupies a significant runtime of the first half of the movie and has within itself several lessons for anyone in the business of hiring and recruiting.

Danny Ocean and his tips for effective recruitment!
Recruitment lessons from George Clooney and Brad Pitt. What a world we live in! Image Source

Running a successful business and planning the heist of the century in Las Vegas are clearly different goals, but the paths taken to get there are remarkably similar (never thought we’d be making this statement). It all starts with hiring the right people. For each employee to be able to make a big impact, every company needs to have a good plan for their recruitment, and in order to do so, the company must have an efficient team in place to ensure a smooth and streamlined hiring process. Proper recruitment and selection methods benefit organisations in multiple ways, especially when it is a Collaborative Hiring process with multiple people from various functions/teams evaluating the candidate in different respects. Employee engagement, sustained job performance, employee retention and low turnover are some of the most important outcomes of having a robust and well-rounded hiring process in place. All these factors have a direct impact on company productivity, indicating how important good recruitment is to a company.

Shared Priorities

Teams work well together only if they have a clear and precise understanding of what they are doing and why. When it comes to recruiting, a common vision is essential. Each job should be performed by those who are best suited for it. Danny Ocean’s team had a common desire for a ‘big score’, and it was their shared lust for money that unified them all, even with their conflicting personalities. Both the employee and the employer should be on the same page. If they have different end results or goals in mind, the partnership will simply not last. In order for the employees to have a clear sense of purpose and feel comfortable with their work environment, their aspirations must be in line with the broader company culture. Additionally, the interview panel must also have a clear understanding of what a specific opening demands of the candidates and should be broadly aligned as to what qualities and skills to check for as part of the interviews.

Skill Specialisation

All eleven members of Ocean’s team have a very specific set of skills, skills that they excel at. This allows everyone to focus on the task allocated to them, without having to be concerned about how others are faring. Pickpockets, casino workers, mechanics, even explosive experts, all know their roles clearly and perform them conscientiously. When choosing your team, ensure that you have diversity in terms of the skills that potential employees offer, this will prevent the company from having a myopic vision and keep them aware of unexplored possibilities. Look for a specific set of skills in potential hires even if they are not directly related to the opening at hand. This is especially important for Startups and young organisations to keep in mind as designations, departments and responsibilities tend to change rather rapidly in which case having employees who can down multiple hats becomes a competitive edge. At the very least, check for qualities that point to the candidate’s willingness and strong desire to pick up those skills if they don’t possess them right out of the gate.

Research Beforehand

Ocean selected his team members based on past collaboration as well as references. References are extremely vital and useful, especially if you ask more than the usual, basic questions about the potential employee’s work history and see how aspects of their personal, professional or volunteering history complements their skillset and makes them suitable to join your organisation. A quick run through of their profile on LinkedIn, AngelList and other similar career portals should do the trick. Utilise the resources that you have at your disposal to ensure that you select the best possible fit for the company. Ocean and Rusty carefully decided who to recruit, and each of them proved their worth in the heist.

The Ocean's Eleven ready to steal some loot!
Young, old, white, black, short, tall. A diverse team with a diverse skillset and a singular shared objective can do wonders. Especially they have George Clooney and Brad Pitt for managers. Phew. Image Source

Companies do not always have a smooth journey, with highs and lows coming in equal measure. Apart from the company culture, employees play an essential role in the success/failure of the company. Hence recruiting the right person for the right job with the right skillset is imperative to the growth and the stability of a company. In fact, good recruiting strategies can ensure the longevity of a company, as exemplified by the repeated, and rather successful, heist ventures of Danny Ocean’s team.

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