#72 How To Recruit Without Going Broke Or Crazy: It's All about FIT

I hear this exact same frustration over and over and over.

“The business is out there…but we just can’t find and land enough great employees.”

So figuring out how to recruit top performers is number one on everyone’s list.


A common first step is to lead with your Mission, Vision, Values. Lay this stuff on thick via social media, at gatherings, and in private discussions.

Wow, that’s unique. They probably haven’t seen or heard this boilerplate crap anywhere else. Even though the same consultant worked with you and the last 10 businesses they’ve interviewed with, I’m sure yours is somehow unique and memorable.

Next, tell them about your coffee. You have custom ground coffee from a machine that also sings the star spangled banner. Nothing shows commitment to employees like free caffeine.


Next comes the stand-up desks. Oh my gosh you must have read the same article everyone else read. Wow, what a unique place you’ve created.

And last but not least, carry around the blueprints for your new open concept office design. But you better jump on this one fast. The articles are starting to come out suggesting that maybe it’s not such a foolproof idea after all. Turns out some people don’t like to be stared at while they’re trying to think or carry on a conversation.


These things might be great recruiting tools if you were the only one doing them, but you’re not. Your competitors are doing the exact same stuff. So you’re all spending money, but not making any relative progress.

You can't do easy stuff that everyone else is doing and expect to stand out.

So you pull out your big gun and wax poetic about your one-of-a-kind world-class culture.

“Our culture is so freaking amazing.
We’re like one big happy family.
Look at these cool photos of smiling faces from our last mandatory company party.”


Guess what? Your competitors are also bragging about their amazing culture and their family-like atmosphere. And they too have pictures of smiling faces from their last amazing company outing.

And, by the way, the more times you use the words culture and family the less believable you become.

Think about it. If someone told you over and over how brilliant they were, would you think they were brilliant? Or would you get the feeling that they’re a bit insecure about their intelligence?

So how do you think your repetitive culture flogging comes across? Does it suggest that you’re insecure about your culture? Would you tell your kids to go to work for the shop that brags about culture the most?

Probably not.

When you, the person primarily responsible for architecting the culture, brag about it, it feels a bit self-serving. It’s kind of like bragging that you’re a great parent. It’s only believable if it comes from one of your kids.

So if there's any bragging to be done about your culture, let somebody else in your organization do it.


It’s easy for me to tell you what won’t work. But is there something out there that will work? Something you can do that’ll help you stand out from the crowd?

Sure. Make your culture so deep and true and obvious that recruits feel it every time they cross paths with someone from your organization.

I worked at a place once that had this kind of genuine culture. Competitors, partners, and customers accused us of being a cult. They said they could somehow pick us out of a crowd.

That’s what culture’s all about. Remaining unique as an individual while clustering around a very small number of beliefs and behaviors. And we didn’t get that way through culture training. We, instead, followed the consistent behaviors and beliefs of our leadership. And we reinforced that culture by hiring folks that FIT those patterns and beliefs. 

So, as the lead recruiter for your business, you have one primary responsibility. To figure out who you are and what you stand for and to express that essence via your business. 

And you don’t have to worry about folks copying this strategy. Getting to your core and applying it consistently is too hard for most people. And the payoff isn’t immediate or obvious.

So if you want to stand out from the crowd give this a whirl. Your existing employees, partners, and customers that FIT will rave about your business. And potential recruits will call you. I promise that’s a true statement. I’ve lived it. When recruits hear about your amazingness from someone other than you, they’ll line up at your door. 


(This site is all about building a Map that will help me do work and life better. So at the end of each post I check in to see if any changes / insights come to mind.)

For you folks following my Map drawing exercise, this is pretty much a carbon copy of what I told you last week.

Get vulnerable by CONFRONTing your WRONG STORIES (see posts 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 3368 for more info on WRONG STORIES). And once you have all that garbage under control you can build your SELF Map. Then build your WORK Map in alignment with the SELF Map.

This clarity and consistency will feel like a warm embrace for recruits that FIT. And it’ll feel like an ice pick to the forehead for recruits that don’t FIT. They’ll bow out gracefully which will save you the hassles of turnover down the road.

So do this hard exploratory work. It's effective, it's free, and your competitors won't have the guts to follow suit.

It’s the only long-term effective recruiting strategy I know.

***Note: This site works best when you read the posts in order. So please head to the ARCHIVE to get started.