I’ve been in the recruiting business for many years. As I talk to the world’s leading recruiters and the best talent leaders, it’s clear that with few exceptions, there are three prerequisites to consistently hiring the best people for other than entry-level roles, specifically:

Rule One - You must have a great job. Whether they’re active or passive job-seekers, the best people aren’t looking for lateral transfers. So if your job descriptions are laced with hyperbole and an excess of “must haves” you won’t have a single top performer to consider.

Rule Two - You must have a great recruiter. Most candidates, whether they’re actively looking or not, emphasize what they get on Day 1 (title, location, compensation, company) as a condition to proceed. Yet, those who do proceed decide to accept a job based on what they’ll be doing during the first year, the team they’ll be working with, and what they could become if successful. To be considered great, recruiters need to convince great people to focus more on the doing and becoming, rather than opting out if what they get on Day 1 isn’t overwhelming.

Rule Three - You must have a great hiring manager. It’s commonly assumed that managers hire people just like themselves. If so, it explains why they find it difficult to hire diverse candidates or people stronger then themselves. However, there’s an opposite effect that’s rarely considered: the best people want to work for the best managers. They also don’t want to work for managers less competent then them. This is the likely reason managers can’t hire people stronger themselves, not that they don’t want the competition.

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