Recruitment is a practical exercise in leadership

By: Kamil Toume

It is commonly known nowadays to hear the terms talent acquisition, talent management and many other terms that companies use to acquire the best talents and skills. that are required to function and run the organizations. Talent management systems and recruitment solutions have preoccupied the minds of most companies’ chief recruiters, executives, and CEOs. They want the best ways to develop the talent acquisition processes. Unfortunately, they always forget that recruitment is not an exercise in shortlisting CVs faster than the speed of light and meticulously hiring candidates using the best software solutions. Richard Sheridan, the CEO of Menlo Innovations, an IT company based in Michigan, USA described it better than me” Traditional interviews are two people sitting opposite to each other and lying to each other for two hours.

Why Recruitment is a practical exercise in leadership?

The most common failures for most companies on the face of this planet is that they hire people based on skills not on values. Recruitment is not a checklist where people are matched against person specification lists and jobs descriptions. Bringing the people who fit the culture and share the values is a hard and slow job. On the other hand, finding the people who do the job regardless if they belong or not and how long they will stay is a quick process. Associating with the right people should be like dating which is a long process through which both partners need time to discover each other and to see if they are complementary to each other in the future. If we treat recruitment based on this, we select the right people that their values and expectations conform and match the company ones and that in turn will save the time later in terms of training and retaining.

Hiring should be like dating. A great marriage does not happen in a 30 minutes interview, so how we expect in business to hire people in 15 or 30 minutes for a long-term relationship.


Using culture as a new recruitment tool.

Most businesses predict that the recruitment volume is to increase in 2017 and 2018, which means recruiters will need faster recruiting tools. Automated resume screening, recruiting software, video interviewing, LinkedIn, social media tools and many other stuff. They think the faster, the better. No one can form a great friendship or relationship with someone in 30 minutes and an hour interview. It is an impossible mission unless you need to hire and fire.

There is only one and a great tool that allows all leading companies to find the right people. It is the culture tool. Again, it is the only tool that leaders use to partner with people. The reason this tool is inaccessible and unused by most businesses and recruiters because they do not have an idea about leadership and how to run a business using leadership.

kamil toume

To practice leadership in recruitment, start using your culture as an attractive and inspiring tool to attract those who are genuinely willing to advance your mission. The problem lies in stating that if the leaders do not know what they stand for and how their companies’ missions are to be translated on the ground, how they will bring the people who share their visions and perceptions about the world.


Let us assume that Nelson Mandela, the South African former president (1918-2013) who brought an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights wanted to run a company instead of the movement that he led against the apartheid in South Africa.

To recruit people to work and campaign with him. His recruitment campaign would have looked like this using traditional recruitment which is prevalent in all industries and countries nowadays. A leading company specializing in campaigning against apartheid and promoting equal rights for the people of South Africa. We need talented people to campaign with us and raise our voice.

 Key requirements:

  • High school graduate or college educated.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Teamwork skills.
  • Events organization skills.
  • Computer literacy.
  • Previous experience in organizing and running rallies and demonstrations.

This is how most companies recruit people nowadays, they use the skills’ metrics to shortlist, filter and sort the applications to select the top ten or five candidates for the first round or second rounds of interviews. This is delusional and naïve. Mandela did not need the events ‘ organizers and planners. He wanted believers in fighting apartheid and raising the voice to reach that goal.

Attracting the believers not the competent ensures that those who share the same belief have a firm conviction in the business culture and its set of values, their loyalty is unquestionable and undisputed. The question is how to get to know if those people believe in your ideology or cause hinges on the shoulders of the leaders. The main problem today is that 95 % of companies’ visions and missions are a fluffy and abstract statement that inspires no one. Their actions on the ground are the evidence of their talk. You cannot recruit based on your culture if there is none, You cannot attract people based on values if your actions are the opposite of your talk. Skills and competencies do not matter, every organization needs people who fit the tribe’s customs, values, and traditions.


Great companies do not have employees; they have partners or associates. I hate so much using the word employee because it implies a sense of slavery for people. If we look it up in the dictionary, the definition is “someone who is paid to work for someone else”. It is very humiliating to call someone an employee, labor, or staff. Everyone belongs to the same human family. We are all human beings. I think using the word “associates” when communicating with other people would be more humane. Great leaders partner up with people to advance their mission not to hire labor to accomplish a task.

It is worth reminding the business community again that partnering up with the right people does not happen in a 30 minutes’ interview. All recruiters who proudly say that they can shortlist the right candidates in 6 seconds are ignorant. To attract those who believe in the company ideals, a radical change should be in the hiring “Partnering up” process to make recruitment based on values and beliefs not on a set of technical skills and competencies. Anyone can be taught a skill, but no one can be forced to believe in something. It is always questionable.


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