Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Hiring Tips You Can Learn from the Marathon

The super storm that ravaged the east coast this past week has been an ongoing source of grief, stress and anger. Sandy tore through the northeast and has left hundreds of people out of their homes and waiting for assistance. Although it is certainly one of the minor setbacks the city had to face, the New York Marathon was cancelled just two days before it was set to go on. The cancellation of one of the most popular runs in the country angered many runners that trained for months to participate. However, the marathon and its cancellation got Spark Hire thinking a lot about the similarities in training for a marathon and the hiring process many recruiters and employers must navigate.

You may not think that the two are at all comparable, but there are certain traits marathon runners must possess that correlate with the traits that hiring managers and employers must possess as well. As a result, here are four hiring tips you can learn from the marathon- cancelled or not.

It’s not easy running 26.2 miles at once. In fact, many people think that it is downright crazy. So it’s east to say that it takes great endurance to complete a marathon. You can say the same thing about the hiring process as well. It takes a lot of endurance to constantly search through resumes, contact qualified candidates and interview with them- be it through video interviews or in-person interviews. Hiring takes a lot of time and it comes with a lot of stresses as well. However, if you stick with it and pull through you will appreciate your accomplishments at the end of all of your hard work. For a hiring manager or employer, that includes seeing your new hire succeed and take off in the position you hired them for.

Your endurance and failure to let unqualified or annoying job seekers bother you makes the road that much easier to follow. Plus, implementing video interviews into your hiring process will certainly make it much easier to endure the hardships of hiring. Since collaboration is easy with video interviews, it will certainly help you endure the hiring process.

It’s fairly obvious that running a marathon takes some time. It takes much discipline and even more patience. You can certainly go out and try to run a marathon on the spot, but chances are you would not succeed. Training for a marathon takes months, and marathon runners must have a lot of patience with themselves. To top it off, all of that training is just for a few hours of one day. The hiring process isn’t much different from that. As hiring manager you are reviewing possibly hundreds of resumes, speaking with handfuls of candidates and meeting with a select few. This process is not only tedious, but very time-consuming as well. Much like training for a marathon, hiring a new employee takes a lot of time. If you do not have the patience to adequately ruffle through resumes and applicants, you may just lose it!

This is another reason why video interviews in the hiring process are such a great tool. When you replace phone interviews with one-way video interviews you are saving yourself loads of time and frustration. Instead of testing your patience to the max each time you have to hire new employees, utilize video interviews.

Focus on Goals
The goal of most marathon runners is to finish. Some might be looking to finish in great time, but others just want to finish. When training gets difficult, the best runners focus on their goals and keep in mind why this run is so important to them. The same can be said for the hiring process. When you are looking to hire a new employee, you always want to keep the company goals in mind. If finding someone that is a great fit for corporate culture is very important, you cannot lose sight of that goal. Even if a candidate’s strong qualifications and experience distract you from the end goal, you have to remember what is most important for the company or department. A marathon can get very difficult, especially around mile 17, but remembering your goals helps. Hiring can get very tough at times too, but remember what you are looking for and stay focused on your goals.

Best Equipment
You wouldn’t go out and run a marathon in old, holey shoes, would you? All signs point to no. You want to be sure you have the right equipment to complete the run. The same can be said for the hiring process as well. If you want to maximize your hiring and be sure you are doing the best you can, you need to use the correct tools to attract and find the best talent. Specifically, you want to be sure you are using video interviews in your hiring. You can get by without them, but if you do not utilize the power of video then you are not using the best tools for the job. Video interviews are part of the best hiring and screening tools, so be sure to use them in your hiring process.

So you see, you can learn a lot about your hiring techniques from marathon runners all over the country. Endure the long hiring process, keep your patience, focus on your goals and always use the right tools and you will be on the road to great hiring.

Do you think you can take some of these marathon tips and apply them to your hiring process? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Martineric

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter


  • Nice article, Nicole! What a timely, entertaining comparison. The way a marathon may be cancelled, recruiters must be ready for the race ahead. Keep moving forward with the hiring process, even as hiccups and delays arise.

    • @ProvenCandidate Thank you very much for your kind comment! One may not think you could relate the hiring process to a marathon, but there are many similarities! It’s also true that candidates can cancel a meeting out of nowhere and hiring managers have to keep on going and training for that next one. Thank you!