People Don’t Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It

By its simplest definition, the role of the recruiter is to find individuals who are the right fit for their company’s open positions. But the job itself is more than that, requiring that they keep up with the company’s changing needs and requirements, stay familiar with the latest recruiting technology and, overall, have the unwavering desire to help people find their ideal jobs. As with any profession, some individuals are better than others at accomplishing these tasks.

I am often asked what the difference is between an average recruiter and a top recruiter, and the answer I always give is having passion for what they do. The best recruiters’ life passion is seeing other people achieve their life’s passion. That is what separates the best recruiters from the rest, and what drives them every day to deliver quality candidates to their business. However, recruiters can often get inundated with the tactical aspects of their jobs due to increased workloads and having to review droves of unqualified candidates. As a result, their passion can take a back seat to the day-to-day tasks of the job.

When recruiters focus their efforts on finding more candidates rather than the right candidates, they may lose sight of the bigger picture; that is, their role in driving revenue and bringing additional value to the company by delivering top-performing talent. And as the recruitment function continues to evolve, the best recruiters understand that their job is about doing everything possible to put the best candidates forward and thereby help the company achieve its goals.

To elaborate, the talent acquisition function is often viewed by the CEO and the executive team in two ways. The first is all about cost containment, figuring out how to cut operating costs. The second aspect is how recruiters contribute to growing the business. For greatest success, the company should focus on the latter, implementing the tools, technologies and processes that facilitate the way they connect with the qualified individuals who can make a positive impact on their organizations. The challenge is that HR has historically been focused on cost containment and identifying areas to cut budgets, rather than working to actively grow the business.

So what can companies do to change this? For one thing, they should work closely with recruiters to ensure they know how they can generate new interest in their companies’ positions and connect with the most qualified talent. Doing so can have a real impact on the bottom line, but more than that, if recruiters feel that they are directly helping the company, they can gain a new sense of passion as they conduct their jobs. And this passion will be noticed by candidates, giving the company a significant competitive differentiator in its hiring activities.

If your organization is struggling to get to this state, consider the following steps to get you there:

  1. Increase self-awareness: The first step to spur the passion of recruiters is to recognize where the company is and determining where you want it to be — and how the right people can get you there.
  2. Compare to others: Benchmarking the company against top performing organizations and determining what they did to improve will give the company the insight to make the needed enhancements to its recruiting strategies.
  3. Don’t give up: Such change won’t happen overnight, but working to create an environment where recruiters understand their value to the organization and what they can do to drive positive results will spur them to act and contribute to company success.

Perhaps Simon Sinek put it best: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If recruiters aren’t driven by their passion, their company and their candidates, people will notice, and the company will struggle to reach its true potential. Instead, by ensuring recruiters understand their unique role in bringing value to the company, they can enhance their ability to engage the right individuals and supply the company with the best talent possible.