Recruitment Woes: Squid Game vs Reality

Reality Check

***** Spoilers Disclaimer ******

Do not read this if you have not watched the insanely popular Netflix series, Squid Game.

If you have bingewatched the Netflix series, Squid Game, it might have occurred to you that some of the situations in the dystopian fictitious world reminded you of your daily toil as a recruiter.

In between the deliberately desynchronised scenes of cheerful bright colours, giant playgrounds and light-hearted background music of “Fly me to the moon”, you may find yourself more disturbed than the average viewer of the series, simply because of how close to heart some issues were.

Here in this article, we have made a list of all the recruitment woes that are direct parallels between reel life and real life, in the name of good fun. (Please do not hate us for it, especially if you find the dystopian world a tad too close for comfort to your actual reality)

With that in mind, grab a drink and a front row seat as we review the list of unsettling parallels of recruitment woes between Squid Game and reality!

Natural distrust of recruiters

In Squid Game, a recruiter for the game participants goes out looking for specific target individuals to offer them an “opportunity of a lifetime”.

And not just any recruiter, but this recruiter, dressed to the nines:

Gong Yoo as Game Participant Recruiter

Even with these looks and immaculate dressing, the recruiter was met with scorn, and at one point, even yelled at by the potential participant.

Candidates being sensitive

For seasoned recruiters, approaching passive candidates as cold leads (e.g. you saw their LinkedIn profile or resume from a job portal database) often start from a less than neutral point - Naturally so, as candidates tend to be wary of strangers reaching out to them.

To cross the barrier and establish rapport with the candidate, recruiters often have to overreach and do lots of homework to understand the career aspirations and goals of the candidate and align them to the organisation. Lots of storytelling, and lots of hard work.

Finding skilled labour is hard

Skilled labour in short supply

In Squid Game, they had to put up with the errant behaviour of employee no. 29, because they could not find others with similar skillsets to do his job (diver). Even with seemingly unlimited resources, the organisation could not find suitable talents, so imagine having to find skilled talent with much less. But wait… No imagination is needed, as that is your reality.

The good news though, is that unlike the secret underground operations that is run in Squid Game, you can shout out your employer brand from the rooftop to scour for the best talents to join you. And we have some tips on how you can do just that:

Contract signing in dystopian times is awfully similar

Who would have guessed that the reliance on hardy paper contracts would persist even in a fictitious dystopian world?


Digital Signatures Please

As you watch the streams of game participants lining up to sign their contract, one can’t help but wonder if this tiresome process can somewhat be digitalised. And in case you are really wondering; Yes, you can.

Handling candidate interviews

Candidates that try too hard to impress

Interviewer: "What are you good at?"

Candidate interviews can be more gruelling than the games sometimes; Back-to-back virtual interviews, and having to dole out choice questions to elicit meaningful information from the candidates on their suitability for the role.

It might be a lifesaver to leave your hiring managers with a digital candidate review form and sample questions to ask the candidate during the interview, so that they are prepared and can help draw meaningful conversations and proper evaluation of the candidate(s) during the interview.

Expectations Misalignment and Data Insights

“How hard can it be, to offer people a job and pay them?” - Says nobody ever (hopefully), to any recruiter.

During the recruitment process, the recruiter often have to overreach and actively seek out the potential candidates to assure them of any doubts or clarify unspoken worries about the job scope and expectations. When expectation misalignment do occur, it can get ugly, but (thankfully) not Squid Game ugly.

Even in a dystopian world, recruiters are painfully reminded that it is important to track data metrics and have regular management reporting on the recruitment performance and retention rate.

management reporting exists in reality and in reel life too

Even fictional characters are not spared from management reporting - #Sad

Interview Assessment - Cheating

Know that any well-prepared candidate is probably versed in searching for past assessment questions doled out for similar roles in your organization. Candidates are generous in sharing the information, and it is virtually impossible to prevent them from guessing your frequently asked interview questions well ahead of the interview.

Rather than rely on a rote set of questions and having the candidates to regurgitate out the standard model answers, why not add behavioural interview questions to your arsenal of interview questions or use any of our recruitment assessment platform partners to conduct rigorous proctored assessments to verify the candidate’s technical capabilities?

And that's all we have,till the next season!

Image source: Netflix (Squid Game)

Netflix Official Site

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