While Marry Poppins is used very often as an example to explain gamification (because “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go doooown”) there is a different case to be made from the 1964 film and it is about recruitment of professionals. Weirdly enough, it is alarmingly similar to the situations I found myself when hiring a web designer, only without a star talent gliding down with umbrella from the sky.

For me, the most unbelievable thing about Marry Poppins was not her umbrella flights or her crossing over to animated reality. The hardest thing for me was to believe that the adorable children in need of a nanny could be considered mischievous or misbehaved. Why would a nanny resign in such a protest? Sure, the kids disappeared again, being dragged away by their kite, but where was the nanny? Oh well, this is a Disney film. Julie Andrews had it easy as a nanny, first with the Banks kids and later with the Von Trapp seven. Yes, they did some pranks, but comparing with my kids, they’re pretty docile. and docile is what some project managers, corporations and even some creative leaders want their employees and freelancers to be. They are often regarded as highly valuable assets who don’t necessarily know what’s good for them or for the greater good.

When it comes down to recruiting new hires, executives tend to act just like Mr. Banks, the father. They receive requirements from the “children”, only to ignore them, while letting HR, or a project manager / producer compile a different set of requirements.
The difference between Marry Poppins and reality, is that in real life, a star talent is not blowing away the competition to be singled out and present the corporate with no alternative for the position.

Marry Poppins was the perfect match to the children’s original list of requirements, to the dismay of HR (which, for the sake of argument, is Mr. Banks). For one, she did not fit the “corporate culture” of stern, no-nonsense professionals (the cook, the maid). However, she did allow the children to change this culture into a creative, imaginative and fun dynamic.
Professional services for recruiting new hires often work against the interests of the hiring professional. This happens as HR specialists believe they know better that the recruiting party, with whom they should be working. It can be a corporate department or an external recruitment service working for small businesses. Marry Poppins’ case for recruitment shows the negative points of using recruitment specialists:

1. Advertising the wrong requirements for the job
2. Ignoring the stakeholders
3. Accepting only candidates who fit the bill exactly, with no differentiating qualities

Of course, dealing directly with the task of finding the perfect person for the job, is extremely time consuming. There are almost no shortcuts to it. The burden is much higher for independent studios, when the need to hire arises several times per month, according to project necessity. Well, there are many cases where you can let other people do the job for you, but talent recruitment isn’t one of them.

Posted by Samuel Miller

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