In their book, “How Google Works,” former Google bigwigs Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg write in a mostly even-keeled, helpful style. While it is certainly obvious that they care deeply about what their saying, they don’t go throwing around exclamation points or proverbially jumping on couches.

Except for one part: the part about hiring.

Here’s the excerpt, courtesy of Venture Beat:

“Never forget that hiring is the most important thing you do. People say this, but then they delegate hiring to recruiters. Everyone — EVERYONE! — should invest time in hiring.”

Look at the passion in those words, highlighted by an all-caps dash-surrounded “everyone”, complete with an exclamation point to boot. Two successful, experienced men were so excited about the concept of hiring they couldn’t contain their enthusiasm into the confines of English grammar.

Here’s the question though: are Schmidt and Rosenberg, two men who played huge parts in building Google into the company it is today, alone? Is their passion about hiring the sole voice in an abyss, their words echoing off the walls of an otherwise-empty thought cave?

The answer is an unequivocal no. Instead, if you research many of America’s greatest business leaders, one thing they get particularly passionate about is hiring.

Other Examples

Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative men ever, was equally passionate about hiring. In a book interview, Jobs declared hiring as “the most important task,” and elaborated on how getting a small group of great people was essential to his business.

“But, in the field that I was interested in — originally, hardware design — I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1,”Jobs said. “Given that, you're well advised to go after the cream of the cream. You can then build a team that pursues the A+ players. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”

Another great example is Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, who parrots exactly what Jobs and Schmidt are saying.

“The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people,” Gates said. “If we weren’t still hiring great people and pushing ahead at full speed, it would be easy to fall behind and become some mediocre company.”

Empirical data suggests that this passion for hiring is a trend across all industries. A recent Inc survey of America’s top 500 CEOs found that attracting top talent was their number one concern, by far.


So why do CEOs care about hiring so much? What is it about hiring people that gets these men so excited, so fired up?

Really, it isn’t about the hiring so much. These men, particularly men like Jobs and Gates, are passionate about whatever they are working on. Take Jobs, for example, who was passionate about a lot of things, but for awhile it was creating great animated movies (i.e. Pixar).

Job probably had a very clear vision of exactly what he wanted to produce but knew that, just practically, he couldn’t do it alone. So he is forced to hire, but because he is so passionate about what he believes in, he is equally passionate in the people who will be doing this work will care that much and produce the quality of the amount of work he wants.

Fundamentally, hiring well takes a great idea, like producing amazing movies, and makes it a reality. No one can do something like change the movie industry on their own, so they need to attract the right people. And they spend a lot of time designing hiring processes that uncover those great people.

So, bottom line, if you want to get a great CEO fired up, don’t ask them about their stocks or last year’s revenues, but ask them what hiring means to them. Chances are, they’ll have plenty to say.

About VoiceGlance

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