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Recruitment lessons from a galaxy far, far away

Posted: 04 May 2016

May the Fourth be with you! To celebrate Star Wars day we take a look at the recruitment lessons we can learn from the franchise.

“Now fulfil your destiny, and take your fathers place”

For Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker is the perfect apprentice. He’s powerful, he’s young, he’s got great hair. But what about Palpatine’s current apprentice, Darth Vader? Granted, he’s not as spritely and his outfits are a little dramatic, but Vader has been Palpatine’s top candidate thus far. It seems a little rude to instantly replace him. Vader’s rejection causes him to turn away from his master and kill him. Had Palpatine continued to nurture his relationship with Vader while he also tried to recruit Luke, things may have turned out differently.

Lesson learned:
Even in a galaxy far far away, the candidate is still king. Be sure not to alienate them or you could pay the same price as Palpatine – being thrown down the proverbial reactor shaft.

“He is too old, yes, too old”

Emperor Palpatine may have seen Luke as the perfect apprentice but Master Yoda has his doubts. Despite Luke’s passionate plea to join the Jedi order, Yoda almost dismisses him because of his age. Yes, Luke Skywalker who saves the galaxy multiple times, and may continue to do so, was almost denied a Jedi career because he was too old.

Lessons learned:
A candidate’s age should have no bearing on whether they are well qualified for a job. Never dismiss someone because they do not fit into the age bracket you envisioned for a role, or you may have to acknowledge ‘wrong, was I.’

“Who’s the pilot?”

When Han Solo first meets Rey he assumes that she is unable to fly the Millenium Falcon due to her lack of experience on paper. What he soon finds out is that, despite never having flown the Falcon, she has highly transferrable skills from her time on Jakku. Not only this, but she is also highly sensitive to the Force and quite possibly the saviour of the Resistance. Han’s initial dismissal of Rey’s abilities is soon retracted as he eventually goes on to offer her the job of Falcon co-pilot.

Lessons learned:
Just because a candidate doesn’t meet all of your specific requirements does not mean that they won’t be able to perform well in a particular role. Make sure to explore all of the candidate’s experience even if, at first, it may seem irrelevant, you may find a diamond in the rough or a jedi in the desert.

“Sanitation? Then how do you know how to disable the shields?”

As we know, Finn’s experience on Starkiller Base did not mean that he knew how to disable the base’s shields. The Resistance acknowledged his time working on the base as a stormtrooper but failed to ask exactly what he did until it was too late. The Resistance assumed his experience on the base was relevant to the mission. This almost caused the Starkiller base to remain intact which would have resulted in, literally, millions of deaths. Luckily, Finn had a shiny stormtrooper card up his sleeve and so was able to save the day.

Lessons learned:
While your mistakes may not carry a giant death toll, it is important to research a candidate’s experience. They may seem well qualified for a task but, after a couple of questions it could become clear that what you assumed was relevant experience is not as useful to the role as you had imagined.

“I take Anakin as my Padawn learner”

Qui-Gon Jinn didn’t listen when everyone told him he was making a mistake. He’d seen Anakin win a pretty cool pod race and was smitten with his potential candidate. He didn’t take the advice from his colleagues and so recruited Anakin to the jedi order. By doing this, he unknowingly creating a legacy of evil that resulted in the deaths of all those innocent younglings, and a whole lot of other people.

Lessons learned:
No matter how experienced you are, you are not always right. You may really love a candidate but it’s always worth asking for a second opinion. You may be blinded to the fact that they might not actually be the best fit for the role. Qui-Gon died before he had to acknowledge his mistake but his hologram probably shed a tear or two.

“Ooh mooey mooey I love you”

When you have a new addition to your team, sometimes they just don’t work out. You have to know when to let them go. Unfortunately for everyone in The Phantom Menace, and everyone who watched The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn did not feel this way. Despite being nothing but a blundering mess, causing chaos with every step and panic with every utterance of “meesa,” Jar Jar Binks, somehow, manages to retain his position in the team.

Lessons learned:
When faced with a bad candidate, sometimes you have to know when to cut your losses and let them go. It is better to acknowledge that mistake early rather than let it go on. If Qui-Gon had just left Jar Jar in the swamp, everyone could have avoided a major headache, and surely the team would have been far more productive without him.