How Purpose-Driven Recruiting Can Evolve Your Talent Strategy


The world has transformed since the turn of the twenty-first century, yet why are we recruiting the same way we did in the 90s?

Fifteen years ago, I co-founded my first staffing company. We filled jobs by running ads on job boards and by matching up resumes based on keywords. As I look around at the hiring strategies of companies today, not much has changed.

According to the PwC’s 17th Annual CEO Survey: 93% of CEO’s say they recognize the need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent. Only a third of CEO’s actually feel their HR department is well prepared. What’s the hold up?

Purpose-driven Recruiting

Three years ago, I co-founded Y Scouts, an executive search firm, based on an experiment. Like every good experiment, we had a hypothesis: posting jobs and reviewing resumes neglect the importance of matching candidates based on purpose, individual behaviors and functional expertise. We imagined a recruiting process that would uncover the truth to align the best companies on the planet with the best leaders on the planet.

One of the challenges we quickly encountered was the fact that there is no way to tell whether the candidate is a good fit for a role when they already know the job for which they are applying. As a society, we’ve trained people to stretch the truth in the interview process in order to “get the job.” In some cases, people flat out lie. By concealing this information we’ve been able to uncover the truth about candidates and pursue the best possible recruitment outcome for purpose-driven organizations.

At Y Scouts, we have discovered three critical behaviors every leader must demonstrate in today’s ever-changing business landscape. These are behaviors that don’t show up on a resume, and certainly won’t be found in an interview where the candidate knows the job for which they are being considered. These behaviors are relentless learning, people development and results driver.

Relentless Next-Level Learner

Relentless next-level learners aggressively pursue professional and personal growth opportunities. They actively choose to create the future by challenging the habits, rules and mental frameworks of what has worked in the past. Relentless next level learners have a growth mindset that leads them to pursue continual learning. They tend to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. The right candidates for leadership roles will have proof points in their career of relentless next level learning. You just have to ask the right questions to draw this information out of them during an interview.

People Developer

A people developer recognizes the success of the leader is a direct result of the success of the team. They focus on raising everyone’s game and driving accountability. Developing other people is the foundation of elite teams and a direct result of true leadership. When interviewing for leadership roles ask open-ended questions that lead to proof points that clearly show an emphasis on developing others.

Results Driver

A results driver demonstrates specific, measurable proof points of consistent, needle-moving accomplishments. They make the ‘impossible’ possible. When interviewing listen for examples of measurable progress in short and long intervals.


The first step in this new way of recruiting is to find alignment with candidates and companies at the level of purpose. If candidates are not innately driven by the same sense of why as the organization, then they will never be a good match no matter how experienced. The second step is to seek out candidates that demonstrate they are relentless learners, people developers and results drivers. The final step in the process is to ensure that the candidate has the necessary functional expertise. By emphasizing purpose and critical behaviors ahead of functional expertise, you will end up with a pool of more qualified candidates who truly have the potential to lead your organization into the future.





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