The following is adapted from Recruiting Sucks… But it Doesn’t Have To: Breaking Through the Myths That Got Us Here.

A message to all business leaders, recruiters and hiring managers:


No, I’m not misquoting the centuries-old expression “mind your P’s and Q’s,” I’m talking about following the five P’s that help us uncover the values and intrinsic motivators of candidates: Purpose, Person, People, Profession, and Profits.

Everyone has different P’s that drive them, but recruiters often assume we are all propelled by the same things (namely, money and title). The truth is, not everyone places high importance in each area or even has complex answers; however, the five P’s serve as a guideline of topics to touch on with each candidate in order to spot important indicators that tell us if they’re meant for the job.

Here is a brief look at what each P means:


Everyone is driven by some type of purpose. What shapes their individual purpose is a culmination of a person’s life experiences and beliefs, along with environmental factors. There is no single answer to one’s purpose: some may be literal, while others are more abstract. What it boils down to is that learning about a candidate’s purpose brings us closer to understanding the focus behind their decision making and if it aligns with the role you’re hiring for.


This is all about how individuals view and treat themselves. Do they set aside time to take care of themselves mentally and physically? Can you accommodate or encourage people to be the best version of themselves? Everyone’s version of self-care may look different, but it’s an important practice that correlates to behavior in the workplace. If a person cannot take care of themselves, its difficult for them to take care of others – including your clients.


Family and friends can have a large influence on what makes or breaks a job for someone. What relationships does the candidate value? Imagine someone who absolutely loves attending their child’s sporting events; they may pass up on a high-paying job that doesn’t allow the flexibility to leave early every now and then to attend those games. Overselling flexibility for family time to a candidate driven by their connection with people is a recipe for disaster.


What are their thoughts about who they are as a professional and what they want to become? Let’s say you have a position that looks like a step backwards for a candidate but has a lot more growth opportunity than their current position, they may be willing to accept the role if it means advancing in the future. There will also be those who are satisfied with their professional development and have no interest in title changes.


Of course, we all need money to function in society but much like the other P’s, the level of importance varies from person to person. Some desire the financial freedom to take extravagant vacations, others are content making what they need without the burdens that tend to come with higher salaries, such as extra stress or working more than 40 hours. As the saying goes, some work to live while others live to work – Make sure you know what drives your candidate!

Exploring each of the P’s and getting to know candidates at this level is not only important for finding right fit, but can also help with retention.

To learn about more ways to expand and improve your recruiting game, you can find Recruiting Sucks on Amazon.


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