The Recruitment Reading List: Autumn 2019

Through the door at 8.

Straight into a stand up meeting.

Power hour.

Emails.

Lunch.

Voicemails.

Candidates. Candidates. Candidates.

Poke round the CRM.

Broadbean. Admin. Home.

There’s enough to do in any given recruiting day that factoring time into reading up on your market – the one you spend every day living and breathing, that you know like the back of your hand – just isn’t possible.

Although I’m regularly reminded by best practice blogs, entrepreneurs on podcasts, and my own relative common sense that there are few, if any, downsides to doing your homework in recruitment.

You’ll not only improve your credibility with candidates and clients if you know what you’re talking about, you’ll genuinely upskill. And find the residual benefits in motivation are just as useful as all that sweet, fresh knowledge.

But it’s finding the time. A lot of which can be spent sifting through what’s out there.

We’ve had a few over the table chats at Hunted HQ to crowdsource opinions on the best books for some of the liveliest markets to recruit in at the moment.

Here we’ve covered Tech, Banking & FS, Creative & Design, Marketing, and C-Level & Executive recruitment.

Buy these books. Read them. And be marginally better at your job.

And as well all know, margins make a massive difference.

1

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Max Tegmark

Max is a Professor of Physics at MIT and Co-Founder of AI research organisation The Future of Life Institute. His book asks questions recruitment’s toying with itself at the moment:

“How can we grow our prosperity through automation?”

Refine that a bit and it becomes ‘How can we make more money using technology?’

It’s less talking speakers and smart watches and more getting to the heart of what artificial intelligence actually is, what tasks machines will eventually replace, and will robots be the death of all of us?

These are questions facing the tech industry in an increasing capacity over the coming years, and it’s good to be a recruiter with at least a vague idea.

Get it here.

4

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

Niall Ferguson

Ferguson released The Ascent of Money in the middle of 2008’s financial crisis. Prompting The Economist to argue “The world needs a book that puts today’s crisis into context”.

Channel 4 turned it into an Emmy-winning six part documentary. And it’s a reasonably broad snapshot of, well, money. And the systems that funnel it. From the birth of the Medici Bank through to present day.

The book attempts to explain the financial motivation behind, and consequences of, key world events. Touching on stock markets, mortgages, credit cards and entrepreneurs.

Talking about where the market’s at is one thing. Knowing where it come from’s another entirely.

Whether you work in Banking & FS, intend to, or simply want to increase your understanding of the complicated world of global finance, this is generally regarded as being a sturdy place to start.

Get it here.

5

A Designer’s Art

Paul Rand

Rand designed the logos for IBM, UBS, and ABC to name a few and is generally regarded as being one of the world’s leading graphic designers.

This book’s an attempt to explain the artist’s relationship with his clients and his customers through his work.

Rand was a champion of simplicity for the sake of clarity and original design. An ethos which will be shared by a hefty portion of creative clients, but also one which recruiters could do with taking up themselves.

That said, the book’s the sum of a rich and varied career. So the way this comes across can seem a little wordy at times:

“Visual communication of any kind, whether persuasive or informative, from billboards to birth announcements, should be seen as the embodiment of form and function: the integration of the beautiful and useful.”

It’s a peek into the mind of a man Steve Jobs called “the greatest living graphic designer”, who was able to command six figures for a single design. Ultimately, this book explores how.

Get it here.

7

Blue Ocean Strategy

W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

I made a note of this book at The Birmingham Recruitment Expo earlier this year when it was recommended in a keynote on how to cultivate a “modern talent ecosystem”. You can read more about that here.

Both authors are professors at French business school INSEAD. And the book’s about creating uncontested market spaces, by focusing on converting current non-customers. A shared objective for both recruiters and marketers.

In a recruitment context, it’s all the top of the funnel stuff. Your LinkedIn profile. Company page. Twitter. Instagram. Careers page. Blog. And the ethos to adopt is this:

“Blue ocean shift is a systematic process to move your organization from cutthroat markets with bloody competition—what we think of as red oceans full of sharks—to wide-open blue oceans, or new markets devoid of competition, in a way that brings your people along.”

It’s a way of marketing your brand – be that company or personal – which could change how you do BD or foster talent pools. But the main lesson for recruiters is to embrace innovation to the point you’ve rendered your competition obsolete.

Get it here.

6

Tribe of Mentors

Tim Ferriss

Mentoring’s quite common in a number of industries. Even recruitment, although we rarely give it such a formal name.

It’s working closely with people who’ve been there and done it all before, leveraging their experience, and learning from it. Not just to improve, but to avoid the kind of mistakes they’d made in the past.

Here, everyone’s favourite entrepreneur Tim Ferriss interviews hundred of the world’s top performers, to unearth the business lessons, morning routines, and battling mentalities that set them apart from the rest.

“Whether you want to 10x your results, get unstuck, or reinvent yourself, someone else has traveled a similar path and taken notes.”

Featuring the wisdom of Terry Crews, Dita Von Teese, Gary Vee, Maria Sharapova, Ben Stiller… it’s a diverse bank of insight. Which contains relevant talking points and conversation starters if you recruit C-level roles. But there’s also nothing stopping you taking that advice yourself and putting it right back into your own business.

Get it here.


Ferriss is a personal development guru, ninja, and guinea pig simultaneously. He gets a mention in this article on personal development.

You can read the rest of our Reading Lists here.

Recent editions feature the best newsletters for recruiters to sign up to, and books that’ll help look after your mental health.