Workforce Visibility

Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate: Following Saracens' lead to talent acquisition success

In much the same way as sports like rugby, the success of hiring through Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) solutions boils down to teamwork and dedication to seeing the project through and making it a success.

As can happen in rugby, recruitment doesn't always go your way, and you learn that in order to win, you need to adapt your tactics to the game in front of you, much like England did in their surprisingly challenging victory over Italy recently in the Six Nations at Twickenham.

As a big fan of Saracens Rugby Club, I like to think that the club's core values can be seen as an example we can take away from the rugby pitch and into the world of recruitment and RPO.


Before any team can function seamlessly and find success by getting the ball over the try line, it's vital that everyone knows what they are working towards, and how they work together to get there. At Saracens, club values are at the core of this, and we can apply these to RPO as follows: 

  • Honesty: Working as a team and gaining the trust of clients to ensure that they know we have their business' best interests at heart and are working towards finding them the best talent
  • Discipline: Everyone knowing what their own individual role is, and what they bring to the table to help the team effectively find success and ensure the best talent is hired for the right positions
  • Humility: Taking a modest approach that makes sure no one is bigger than the team and that every part of that team has to work as a unit to ensure we win in talent acquisition terms
  • Work rate: Knowing that success is not a given and making sure we never take it for granted, working hard as a team to ensure we execute client goals and find success in hiring the right talent.

Going for the line

If we see talent acquisition through an RPO like a game of rugby, it can be somewhat easier to map out a road to success. Imagine the ball as being highly skilled talent, and the players being recruitment firms. Everyone on the pitch is competing for the ball, with the ultimate goal of getting it over the line and scoring a try, or having the right person in the right role and settled into their new job.

Various aspects of the game come into play, and much like on the rugby pitch, everything has to gel together just right for the team to get over the line.

  • Teamwork: Everyone has a different role to play when it comes to getting that ball over the line, much like everyone working on an RPO has their own job to do on the road to success. Whether it's your forwards battling for possession to attract talent, your half-backs moving talent through the phases and correct channels towards the right positions, or the wide forwards who touch the ball down over the try line to complete the move, everyone has played their part in getting it there, and without each one getting it right, the try would never have come about
  • Adaptability and tactics: Nothing is set in stone in terms of how to get the job done, whether it's on the pitch or in the RPO world. You always start out with your own preferred tactics in mind, but being flexible in adapting to what the opposition does, or to new regulations or market trends is the only way to make sure you get the win
  • Phases of play: Nothing happens automatically, and on your way to RPO success, you will come across various roadblocks, tackles and scrums that will slow your progress. However, taking time to play the ball through the phases patiently, and being ready to address each ruck and tackle as they come will help you get over the line

Sport and recruitment may seem like a world apart, but at their core, the two are essentially the same. Whether you are trying to get the right skilled talent highlighted and onboarded, or trying to score a try, adopting a strategy of teamwork and adaptability and living by the values of Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate are the best ways to give yourself a chance of success. 

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    Written by Greg Barber
    Greg Barber was the managing director for EMEA RPO at AGS, responsible for major strategic programs, where he applied over 20 years’ experience in the outsourced recruitment and staffing industry. He is a dedicated leader with a strong emphasis on delivery, improved operational efficiencies and a high performance, relationship-based culture. Prior to joining AGS, he was head of talent acquisition for a global financial services client where he led an extensive team of recruiters with responsibility for the governance and delivery of all permanent and contract hiring in 26 countries throughout Europe and the Americas. Greg has worked from the agency side, consulting and senior global client side roles. The majority of Greg’s experience has been in the financial services sector and this broad experience, supported by the expertise and knowledge within AGS, enables him to bring global best practice and direction to all the clients with whom he works. Greg moved on from AGS in 2020.