How 5 Minutes Can Completely Change Your Recruiting Results

Bill Jensen

One of the most crucial tips in Stephen Covey’s classic book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is to begin with the end in mind. And most everything you read about recruiting results covers this approach.

From the company’s perspective:

For example, Google structures interviews to reveal how candidates think. Their goal is to find great problem-solvers and those who can work well with a team to resolve wicked challenges.

Or from the candidate’s perspective:

When Jamie Hichens, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Glassdoor, was asked about the best interview answer she has ever heard, she shared this candidate’s reply: “I want to run toward a new opportunity, not run away from my current one.” For Jamie, this revealed the candidate’s ultimate goal of being driven by passion.

But That’s the Wrong End Point

Tips like those just cover the recruiting process, or a candidate’s cultural and skills fit. They’re all from the perspective of a transaction — getting the right person hired. We need to go further to get to a better, richer, more powerful end in mind.

Every candidate has a life beyond the potential company/employee relationship. Every candidate has a life story — their own hero’s journey, which has driven them to this moment in time, to this recruiting moment.

To truly succeed in the recruiting process, the end that must be revealed is that individual’s dreams and personal goals.

Depending on the person, these dreams and goals may be part of their job, or they may not. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is whether the candidate sees themselves moving toward or achieving their personal goals while at your company. Through the projects they work on, or from the freedom they’ll experience. Through financial independence, or from team relationships. Or maybe through parenting, or from volunteering.

The end-in-mind you need to elicit from them revolves around their personal dreams and goals. You need to be far more focused on who they are, and what they need as a person.

Why This is Huge

At TED 2017, Maurice Conti, head of Autodesk Applied Research, said: How we work will change more in the next twenty years than in the past two thousand years. Our work will include far more than technology, tools, robots, AI, or our jobs. It will change why someone works for one employer and not another. More will changes will happen in the workplace in the next few years than you ever thought possible.

During my global research for our Future of Work Study, Making the Future Work: 2015—2020, we asked a simple question: Can you achieve your dreams where you currently work?

Less than ten percent said yes.

Just under one in ten people said they could achieve their dreams working where they currently work! That does not bode well for retaining your talent.

To be fair, the initial result was higher: 29 percent. (Which still sucks.) But when we examined the results and put aside C-suite executives and Silicon Valley-type firms and small-firm entrepreneurs, we found that only one in ten in the mainstream workforce can achieve their dreams and personal goals by working where they currently work.

Through this research we found how Millennials-and-younger workers view employment or contract work: Like an app on their phone. If their current employment or gig helps them achieve their personal goals and dreams, they’ll stay. If it doesn’t, they won’t. They’ll hit Delete (quit) like they would a no-longer-useful app.

What You Can Do in Just 5 Minutes

You should spend at least five minutes — (preferably more, but you can learn a lot in just five minutes) — asking them about their dreams and personal goals. Not related to any specific job. Just ask questions like…

  • “Three years from now, what do you want your legacy to be? What impact do you wish to leave on everyone you touch?”
  • “What makes you, you? And tell me how that is connected to your dreams and personal goals?”
  • “Can you tell me about a personal experience that has had a defining impact on how you make choices in life? And how that helped form your dreams and personal goals?”

These kind of questions reveal their most personal end-in-mind, how they see themselves making a difference in the world and what they wish to achieve personally.

In their replies, you will see their passionate spark, a driving force in their life. In that moment, you will see how and why they will love your company and the job posted. Or why they won’t. In that moment, you will see the true person who is before you — beautiful, raw, vulnerable, and powerful beyond measure. Ready to put a ding in the universe.

Contributing Author
Bill Jensen CEO of The Jensen Group

Bill Jensen makes it easier to do great work. He helps companies and teams double their productivity and pursue their passions. He has spent the past 25 years studying how work gets done. Bill is an internationally-acclaimed thought leader, author of eight best-selling author, and CEO of The Jensen Group.

Comment on this post

Lets us know what you think.

Your email address will not be published.

Hiring is time-consuming and costly, and, let’s face it, it isn’t easy.

This guide will help you find the tools you need to hire quicker and for less.

Download Now