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What Parallels are There Between Recruitment Businesses and Formula 1

What Parallels are There Between Recruitment Businesses and Formula 1

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Last edited May 2, 2023

What Parallels are There Between Recruitment Businesses and Formula 1

Ferrari have been the first team in F1 to announce the release date of their Formula One car in 2017 – In such a competitive Industry teams are racing against the clock even before Christmas to prepare for the next year.

And this is an attitude successful business must adapt to, never resting on their laurels – So this brings me to day #23 on our Advent Calendar, what parallels are their between recruitment businesses and Formula 1.

The difference in lap times from first to twelfth is often less than a second so what is the difference that makes a difference in Formula 1 and what can recruitment organisations learn from this?

There are six success factors that we need to consider for any recruitment business to outperform the market that are present in Formula 1. These are;

  • Strategy
  • Leadership
  • People
  • Control
  • Range
  • Momentum


The strategy of any business is made up of:

  • Planning (in an uncertain / changeable world)
  • Making data driven decisions in real time

In Formula 1 it can take up to three years to build a car with 800 people working full time on the project. With this timeframe the car is then often outdated based on changes to strict rules and regulations for cars in races. So planning in Formula 1 is a continuous process reacting to the market conditions and reflects how recruitment organisations should view their planning process.

There are many external influences that can impact on an organisation and as a business you should have the flexibility and desire to alter your course based on these influences to still achieve your business objectives.

In Formula 1 data is key to the performance of the team, with many data channels reviewed in real time as the basis for race decisions. As a leader of a recruitment organisation data is vital for understanding your business, but you very easily drown in too much data.

The data you collect is only valuable if it is the right data and determining the right data should come from your business objectives. Understand the measures that make a difference to your business and ensure this is the data you focus on – ignore the rest. Once you have collected your data you need to look at it objectively – don’t fall into the trap by creating your own hypothesis and then seeing what you want to see in the data.


There are many people involved in winning a Formula 1 race that exist beyond the driver, such as Team Principal, Technical Director, Chief Aerodynamicist etc. Each member of the team has a vital role to play and is a leader, adapting and taking control in each situation.

In any organisation sub teams exists with leaders and managers of each of these teams. Theses teams have to be headed up by the right people for your business who can invest time and energy into getting the best out of their team to achieve the overall business objectives.

Every team member and leader must be told what business objectives are to understand how their cog fits into the wheel, this will maximise both performance and engagement.


As mentioned above there are many people that exist beyond the driver in Formula 1 that makes team success happen. Like any business, the growth of a recruitment organisation is underpinned by the talent on board and retaining that talent.

By the very nature of the job, we determine the right candidate fit for a client and spend time and resources to search for the best talent that will have both the desired technical skills as well as cultural fit. If we are honest with ourselves do we invest the same amount of time into our own talent management strategies? In a recent article we talked about leveraging your brand to recruit and attracting candidates that really want to be part of your team and live by your values.


Control is created from a blend of:

  • Adaptability
  • Reliability

In Formula 1 there are many areas of the race where the teams need to be able to adapt quickly and make changes to planned tactics, for example the release of a safety car in a race slows the pace of the race down allowing teams to take advantage of this or limit any damage the situation may have caused their initial strategy.

Reliability is another factor giving drivers ultimate control. They can’t afford to stop their race and lose points following any unexpected problems.

Formula 1 teams and organisations are tested when things go wrong for them, adaptability and reliability are key.  The recruitment market will continue to change as new influences on the industry impact the way we work; we must adapt to ensure we don’t get left behind.

Some recruitment organisations have not adapted to changes in the recruitment industry and are still using outdated, antiquated methods of candidate and client acquisition. What is the most outdated thing in your business and how can you change it?


The Formula 1 season is a long one that visits many different countries, the different countries test the teams further with climatic conditions playing a big part in the car set up and decisions made in qualifying and on race day. Therefore a teams range is tested to the full by adapting strategy and control to suit every circuit and environmental conditions.

The same can be said for recruitment organisations who must demonstrate a good range with:

  • Client penetration
  • Client spread
  • Market penetration
  • Service variety

What can you do to maximise the opportunities that exist within the clients you currently work with?


The team that maintains the most momentum throughout the season with consistency and speed allowing them to gain points ultimately wins. Technological advancements ahs allowed clients to have greater access to talent, so recruitment organisations have to penetrate deeper into untapped talent pools, provide a better service than a system can provide and do it quicker than anyone else.

How can you install a speed culture that also is a quality focussed one, into your organisation?

Recruitment is an extremely competitive industry and performance differentials are small so the efficiency and effectiveness of every aspect of the business is critical.

Managers and owners of recruitment businesses need to invest in areas (technology, training, development of processes, third party support) that will add incremental improvements at every level to the business. If we make enough the incremental improvements will add up to and enable your organisation to maintain a significant competitive edge and outperform the market.

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