Fell Running and Recruitment

This post is about me, Peter Cobley, the founder of Found Us, and my love of fell running. I’ve always been an outdoor type from having grown up in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and developed into a mountain biker cycling predominately around that part of Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire.

My first fell run was in 2013, which was the Shelf Moor Fell Race held by Glossopdale Harriers, and something I was persuaded to do by Karl Shields, an old school friend. I was third from last and dressed for a hike, thus marked the start of my fell running career.

I suppose this was like recruitment, or to be frank the start of Found Us, in that I launched into something without full planning or thought, but I knew that I wanted to do it and try. Three years on and the business has morphed into a people business, providing consultancy services centred around people for the advertising marketplace, with reach into agencies, media owners, and client side businesses. And you know what? I really enjoy it, just like I have grown to love fell running and am now a member of Saddleworth Runners and race.

I’ve realised like a lot of things in life, two very different beasts recruitment and fell running have a lot of analogy between themselves.

I’m often asked advice by candidates and it is not always easy to give advice, sometimes just listen. Senior candidates and for that matter clients have been around the block a few times and at times need a ear to listen whilst they verbalise ideas across to coalescing them into an action plan; with my experience in the business I try and provide information, alternate options, ideas, and structure; so ultimately enabling the person to reach a considered decision or that plan of action they seek. Fell running is the same, you can advise a new person, or a new person to a particular race, but they won’t know until they do it, with or without preparation. Recruitment like fell running is clearly about turning up, starting, and making it up as you go along. Do read the next paragraph.

So, fell running? When you start a fell run you are normally apprehensive and nervous, with other runners milling about you at the start line. You do not know how the race could or will pan out. Which route do you take if checkpoints are involved and you choose your route? Advice? Well you prepare the night before with kit, route planning, and a good night’s sleep, and if you have time you do a dry run of the route. It is the same with recruitment, job seeking, employing. You in theory, write a brief and research candidates, or you research a role and prepare to interview for it. And in both cases nerves and apprehension can come into play. In both cases a lot of people are involved with a lot of variables. The point I drive at being the hidden or unpredictable element which I now realise is normal, or what others may call risk or fate. I think it healthy to approach job hunting, role filling, fell running with the unexpected or being unprepared.

I’ve learnt that it is okay to go for that run not being prepared or being unsure of the end result. I’ve learnt that you cannot always prepare to hire the right candidate or get that role. Like the fell runner you look at the hills and just do it, and see what happens. What is the worse? Well you don’t finish the race? You try again. You don’t hire or get  the job, you try again. Fell running allows one to go, settle down, and find a route and rhythm, and my advice to clients and candidates is to be a fell runner. Yes plan, but also don’t plan, do it, and find your own route. It may take time but you’ll get there, and if you DNF (Did not finish) go back again. Embrace the unpredictable. It is okay to be unsure about hiring, moving to a new role, taking the proverbial plunge so to speak. Like the fell runner you get there in the end.