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Group photo of the Love Island Cast

Can we learn valuable lessons in recruitment from… Love Island?!

Love Island continues to attract a highly engaged and loyal audience, with the latest series drawing this year's highest viewing figures for the 16-34-year-old age bracket on live and digital platforms.

The popularity of the TV show may result from the intrinsic interest humans have in people's personal lives, the never-ending drama between couples or how the drama makes our personal relationships seem pretty straightforward, but whatever the answer, all we know for sure is that those who commit up to 7 hours of viewing a week love it.

At Marmion, our success as a recruitment & retention consultancy is a result of our ability to get to know and understand people, their character, career goals and personal objectives. This makes Loves Island a fascinating programme to watch from an anthropological perspective.

Paying particular attention to the characteristics of the cast and their behaviours alongside the impact producers have in manipulating certain situations, we can see how levels of manipulation can destroy a good match, impact relationships within a group and affect how viewers feel about the individuals.

With this in mind, we look at what lessons we can learn in recruitment from life on the island.

Don’t be fooled by appearances

This may seem odd considering the whole show is based around girls and boys parading around a villa, showing off their gym-honed bikini bodies and six packs. However, as the show has progressed contestants have realised that for the relationship to last, they must care more about their partner’s personality and characteristics, than just their appearance. This can be related to viewing a potential candidate’s CV.

At first glance, a CV may appear very impressive – glamorous job titles and an impressive list of company names, however these can make it easier to ignore the more obscure details hiding within the CV that will really show the recruiter the true candidate.

Image of two individuals in a casual interview situation.

Recruiters should ask, what specific skills and attributes did they demonstrate in these roles? How long did they stay at each of these rolesWere they promoted internally whilst working in these roles?  These will help the recruiter make an assessment on whether the candidate is the right fit for the role and the company in question.

Once selected candidates have been shortlisted, recruiters should always meet their candidates in person. Yes, they may be ‘their type on paper’, but we all know that doesn’t always lead to a perfect match.

Candidates will ‘keep their options open’

Companies need to be aware that the candidates who have applied for their job are active in their job search and will more than likely be applying for jobs elsewhere… ‘they’re keeping their options open’ and they’re definitely ‘not putting all their eggs in one basket’. Recruiters therefore need to ensure they take enough time to consider the decision but be careful not to prolong the application process as this could mean losing out on the candidate, which consequently means losing out on the financial investment and time spent searching for that candidate.

Unlike Georgia from 2018, you cannot rely on your candidates to be ‘loyal’; if a better offer comes along before your offer, don’t be surprised if they take it.

Grafting pays off

Whether it’s finding the ideal person to ‘couple up with’ or finding the ideal candidate for a job, the process takes time and often requires a lot of hard work.

Recruiters need to be prepared to devote time and effort into finding their ideal candidate, after all ‘grafting’ pays off. Look at Jack and Danni from season 4; Jack managed to escape the classic friendzone situation and turn their relationship into one of the most successful couples of 2018.

cartoon of a candidate being picked out from a line up of similar looking characters.

Once all the hard work has paid off, the ‘graft’ needs to be continued to ensure the selected candidate remains in their role. Look at how easily and quickly individuals move on in the villa when they send in new islanders – the possibility of being ‘happier’ in another couple, or similarly in another role or another company should not be ignored. Attrition is a real problem in the work place today and it can be very costly to a company; not only through having to repeat the recruitment process, but also through wasted time, money and productivity on the previous hiring process and any training the candidate has been put through.

Dangers of over-manipulation

It is no secret that the producers are actively involved in manipulating the show in order to maximise entertainment for viewers. They introduce scenarios for the islanders to act out with one another, in order to influence them to engage in a certain way and with certain people. This often leads to individuals being portrayed in a way that fails to represent them in their true light.

Recruiters can also be guilty of this; they can influence a candidate to act in a certain way in front of a client at interview. Whilst this may lead to the candidate securing the job because they have displayed key qualities the client is looking for, are they really the right fit for the job or have they just been manipulated to come across in a certain way?.

Additionally, clever editing by the producers ensure we, as viewers, only see what the producers want us to see. 24 hours of footage is condensed down into an hour-long episode each night, giving viewers a limited and biased insight into what really happens within the villa. In a similar manner, recruiters may carefully edit CVs in order to ensure the content compliments the criteria listed on the job description.

This ensures the CV matches exactly what the client wants to see, but by doing this it also effects the validity of the CV by portraying the candidate inaccurately. We, at Marmion, avoid both of the practices described above because we want to ensure that the candidate who secures the role will be real, honest and most importantly remain loyal to the company

Whilst many may not like to admit it, there are clearly several valuable lessons we can all learn from the hit reality TV programme that has captured the nation. Providing we view it from a professional mindset, it can be used as an incredibly useful and unique tool to study human behaviour and interactions in a real-life setting - maybe that is why it is such addictive viewing for so many of us.

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Group photo of the Love Island Cast

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