Taking risks vs playing it safe in recruitment

When it comes to recruitment, the balance between taking risks and playing it safe is a delicate one. Both approaches have their merits and drawbacks, especially when you’re considering the integration of disruptors and innovation-driven growth within your company. Let’s dive into the nuances of both strategies and see how they might align with different organisational goals.

Taking Risks in Recruitment


  • Attracts disruptors: Risk-taking in recruitment can attract innovative and disruptive talents who may drive transformational change.
  • Fosters diversity: It opens doors to non-traditional candidates with diverse experiences and perspectives, promoting creativity.
  • Encourages growth: It may lead to unexpected successes, with new hires offering fresh insights and solutions.


  • Potential misalignment: Risky hires might not align well with company culture or objectives, leading to conflicts.
  • Increased turnover: If the risk doesn’t pay off, it can lead to a higher turnover rate and recruitment costs.
  • Potential Impact on team dynamics: A disruptive hire might affect existing team cohesion and performance if not managed well.

Playing It Safe in Recruitment


  • Cultural alignment: By focusing on candidates with proven track records and alignment with company values, you minimise the risk of cultural mismatch.
  • Stability: A conservative approach often leads to more predictable outcomes, supporting stability within teams and overall organisational functionality.
  • Minimises immediate risks: You are less likely to face immediate conflicts or friction within the team, leading to a smoother integration process.


  • May stifle innovation: Playing it safe might exclude unconventional thinkers who could drive innovation and growth.
  • Limits diversity: This approach may lead to hiring people with similar backgrounds and perspectives, potentially hindering creativity.
  • Possible Stagnation: Without fresh perspectives and willingness to challenge the status quo, the organisation might face growth challenges in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Striking the right balance

  • Understand your needs: Assess your organisation’s current stage, goals, and areas where innovation or stability is required.
  • Define your risk appetite: Clearly articulate the level of risk that’s acceptable in your recruitment process and communicate this to all stakeholders.
  • Incorporate both strategies: You can apply a mix of risk-taking and conservative approaches, depending on specific roles or departments within your organisation.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Continuously evaluate the success of your recruitment strategies and be willing to adjust as needed to align with evolving organisational goals.

Neither taking risks nor playing it safe is inherently superior; they serve different purposes and align with various organisational needs and stages of growth. A thoughtfully crafted recruitment strategy that balances both approaches, grounded in a clear understanding of your company’s mission, culture, and objectives, can optimise both innovation and stability.