Fast Track Recruitment

Chickens, Pigs and Monkeys

Posted by Mitch on 4th December 2014


In one of the first recruitment blogs I wrote, I used chickens to describe the current state of the recruitment agency landscape and pigs to describe how that state could be improved.

Now I’m going to use monkeys to describe how they got there in the first place.

The story I’m going to cite is the research study called The 5 Monkey Experiment.

“They started with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, they hung a banana on a string with a set of stairs placed under it.

Before long, a monkey went to the stairs and started to climb towards the banana. As soon as he started up the stairs the psychologists sprayed all of the other monkeys with ice cold water.
After a while, another monkey made an attempt to obtain the banana. As soon as his foot touched the stairs, all of the other monkeys were sprayed with ice cold water.
It wasn’t long before all of the other monkeys would physically prevent any monkey from climbing the stairs.
Now, the psychologists shut off the cold water, removed one monkey from the cage and replaced it with a new one. The new monkey saw the banana and started to climb the stairs.
To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attacked him. After another attempt and attack he discovered that if he tried to climb the stairs, he would be assaulted.
Next they removed another of the original five monkeys and replaced it with a new one. The newcomer went to the stairs and was attacked. Even the previous newcomer took part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Likewise, they replaced a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey tried to climb the stairs, he was attacked.
The monkeys had no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they were beating any monkey that tried.
After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys had ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approached the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not? Because as far as they know, that’s the way it’s always been around here.”

Running a recruitment agency on the contingency model used to make sense. But that was back in the day before the internet, job boards, LinkedIn, social media and internal recruitment teams.

Now it makes no sense because too many people are all approaching the same much smaller groups of candidates.

But they keep doing it because that’s all they know.

Old habits get ingrained and jargon, clichés and sales patter become stereotyped.

Now the only real difference is they’ve learned how to not fill jobs at broadband speeds.

If you want to learn how to allow your best recruiters to get more bananas, get in touch and I’ll show you how.

This blog was written by a monkey who escaped from the cage 15 years ago.


By Richard on Monday, 18 January 2016

Very good, and thoroughly accurate, but to see this story through to it’s full extent, you also need to add that most of the psychologists have a huge amount riding on the banana being eaten, and still seem unable to comprehend removing 4 of the monkeys.

By Gerry on Friday, 22 July 2016

I absolutely love this post, i love the idea that its written by a monkey, great stuff!

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