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Ask the Headhunter/ General Management

Stop Recruiting: Find Jobs For Talent


by Nick Corcodilos
Contributing Writer

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"Don't find customers for our products; find products for our customers," says Seth Godin, who is quoted in an ExecuNet article— “Do The Impossible—Ignore The Lizard”—aimed at marketers who are still stuck trying to sell stuff to people who don’t care. But who are those marketers?

For most of’s audience, “marketers” are the people who serve as a company’s interface to its customers. But what about the company’s other important interface—the one to the community it recruits from so it can hire the talent that makes the products marketing promotes to produce revenue?

The typical HR department “finds employees for our jobs.” I’ll bet Godin would suggest the better plan is to “find profitable work at our company for the best talent in our professional community.” What a concept!

Imagine if a company’s recruiters stopped trolling the job boards for resumes of people who can fill open jobs. (It's one of those "Stupid Human Tricks.") Imagine if those recruiters instead invested their time finding the very best talent in their industries—and actually recruited those people. But isn’t that backward? No, because any smart company should want to hire the best talent. If you hire the best, then you can assign them where they will produce the most profit for your company.

Blasphemy! Hire people without having a specific job to match them into? Yup, because true talent can ride a fast learning curve without falling off. Those people will figure out how to do a job, just like a skilled entrepreneur knows how to create a great new product without anyone handing over a blueprint. And that talent will probably bring the “out-of-the-box” thinking that HR claims it values.

Traditional HR makes “Ten Stupid Hiring Mistakes.” It recruits for a single position by casting a net into the ocean of millions of job hunters. Godin explains why that model no longer works in marketing. It’s also why it doesn’t work when hiring. What’s the alternative?

“If the one-to-millions model is ineffective, what is working? Godin proposed a ‘simple rule’ to find ‘a tribe’ of other people who care… Tribes are groups of people who are connected by a passion, a language, and who just want to make things happen.”

Does your company find work for the very best talent in its industry? Does it build its tribe? Or is your company trying to find pegs to fill all its empty holes? Come to the and tell me about your marketing strategy for recruiting from your professional community. (Or do you hire who comes along?)


About Nick Corcodilos

Nick Corcodilos writes "Ask The Headhunter," a weekly blog on in which he shows you how to tackle the daunting obstacles that job hunters and managers face when trying to work together. From time to time, Corcodilos also will provide feature stories offering insights into various management career strategies, In addition, his newest books, Keep Your Salary Under Wraps, How to Work with Headhunters and How Can I Change Careers?, are available as PDFs.