What Game of Thrones season 6 taught us about recruitment

Oh Game of Thrones, how we miss you. The end of season 6 has left an aching void in our lives, and withdrawal symptoms are starting to kick in.

It’s not just the epic battles, the jaw-dropping plot twists and the occasional CGI dragon that we miss. It’s also the wise recruiting lessons.

You might not have been paying attention, but when the Westeros lot aren’t scrabbling for the Iron Throne, they’re also imparting some pretty valuable tips on recruitment. Here’s the top 3.


  1. Don’t judge candidates on face value

Imagine the scene. You’re enjoying a huge feast in celebration of a significant conquest, tucking into rich food and being waited on by pretty serving girls. And then woah… the rich food is revealed to be a pie filled with the flesh of your butchered sons, the pretty serving girl tugs off her face and reveals herself to be a murderous foe, and the celebration ends with your abrupt, bloody death.

We’re talking, of course, about Arya Stark’s brutal vengeance on Walder Frey. Arya taught us that you judge people on face value at your own risk. A candidate may look and talk the part, but are they really what they’re painting themselves out to be?

Screen thoroughly, assess experiences and cultural fit, and run skills-based tests. Admittedly, you probably won’t end up eating human pie if you judge candidates too quickly, but you will end up losing fees.


  1. Brand alone isn’t enough

In season 6, Sansa Stark and Jon Snow conducted an army recruitment tour of the North. And it’s fair to say that it was a flop. If Littlefinger hadn’t saved the day at the last minute, Sansa and her half-brother would be at the mercy of Ramsey Bolton and his savage dogs… famous name or no famous name.

The Stark brand simply wasn’t enough to win armies over. Robert Glover sent them and their prestigious house packing, the Wildlings were only won over by Tormund Giantsbane, and it was Davos Seaworth who convinced Lyanna Mormont to support their campaign. In the end, the Stark force was surprisingly small.

There’s a valid recruitment lesson in this. Brand is important – but it isn’t everything. Candidates want to work for a distinguished business, but only if they can see ample gains for themselves. In the world of recruitment, it’s ultimately career rewards that win candidates, not employer branding.


  1. Organisation is everything

There’s a lot of careful work that goes into blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor, don’t you know. All that wildfire to procure; all that scheming and planning and positioning; all that hate and rage to channel into a calm, perfectly executed attack.

Let’s look at what Cersei achieved. Firstly, she had to recruit her team carefully, picking only the people she could trust to get the job done. She had to delegate tasks efficiently, making sure that each

had a job suited to their skills and background. She had to ensure that these minions knew exactly what they were doing, managing with great care and competence. She had to acquire all the necessary resources and use them to best effect. She had to arrange a timed, large-scale campaign with pinpoint precision – and she pulled it off with panache and her token smirk.

Now, recruitment may be explosive, but fortunately it doesn’t require any specific arson skills. What it does require is organisation. It requires all the careful selection, support and skilled management that Cersei demonstrated – and that’s where recruiters can take a leaf out of her book. (Just no wildfire, okay guys?)

If your Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms are as bad as ours, there’s a perfectly valid case for re-watching season 6…. purely to take note of all the hidden recruitment lessons, of course. What you see might not help you climb to the Iron Throne, but it could just help you climb the recruitment ranks.