In the summer of 1977, I waited outside a movie theater with my best friend, Raj, and the other members of our Cub Scout troop. The line was long and excitement was high. Our group had never been to the movies together and today, we would see Star Wars.
It was the first movie I wanted to see more than once and did.
There was no way of knowing I would one day write a blog post about the lessons Star Wars can teach us about recruiting, and yet here we are, and this is that post.
To start, let’s acknowledge that Star Wars is a prime example of the classic hero’s journey. Even if you’ve never seen it, you’ll be familiar with the story pattern because it has been used since Greek and Roman mythology. It begins with a character who longs to leave the confines of their ordinary world and experience a more exciting future. Upon meeting a mentor (Obi-Wan in Star Wars, Morpheus in The Matrix, Ursula in The Little Mermaid) the character embarks on a journey of transformation in which they encounter challenges, make a transformation, and ultimately return to their original world as a hero.
For the purposes of helping you become a more effective recruiter, we’re going to focus on two key elements of this journey: EXIT and ARRIVAL.
When we first meet Luke, he is living in his ‘ordinary world.’ His reality consists of being a good nephew, doing farm chores, and bulls-eyeing womp rats in his T-16. He longs for more but doesn’t know how to get it. He wants an exit from his current reality and an arrival in a new, more exciting future.
Think of Obi-Wan as Luke’s recruiter. We can learn a lot from his intervention in the story, and we can apply those lessons to become more effective recruiters.
In the movie, we meet Obi-Wan when Luke comes under attack from a band of Tusken Raiders. Obi-Wan rescues him and provides the mentorship that Luke needs to exit his ordinary world. Of course, when Obi-Wan first meets Luke, he doesn’t immediately enlist him. First, and even before rescuing him, he recognized that Luke needed to be rescued.
In other words, Obi-Wan provided value first.
And going deeper still, he was smart enough to hang out in a place where his particular skills would have value to anyone passing through. He put himself in position to find his Luke. Are you in the places where your Lukes will show up?
Advertising on Indeed and Craigslist are a good start. People searching there already recognize their pain and are actively seeking a remedy. They are looking for their EXIT and you may be able to provide it. Of course, many of the best people are already employed elsewhere and you need a strategy to get to them.
The good news is that you meet these people every day. They’re waiting to be rescued from their ‘ordinary worlds’ of waiting tables, stocking shelves, and bulls-eyeing 5 p.m. from the moment they wake up in the morning. Like Obi-Wan, you should be spending time in the places you’ll meet talent and you should have a plan to offer the help they need.
Think about that. Who are your Lukes? Where are they now? What are they doing? What is their present pain and how can you best help them?
In the film, Luke’s present pain was a band of Sand People kicking him in the teeth. What kind of pain are your potential recruits feeling? Is it financial? Is it time-based? Is it lack of flexibility? Is it lack of having a compelling vision for their future?
By anticipating their needs and having a plan to help them, you’ll become a more effective recruiter. It’s your job to help them ARRIVE in that new and better place. Join me for our Growvember webinar series and I’ll show you how to put the Star Wars strategy in place.
I’ll close this post with one final observation: Luke was a recruiter too. In my next post, I’ll explain how your recruitment strategies change when you’ll be working alongside those you recruit. In the meantime, leave your comments below.
(This webinar has already taken place. If you’d like to view it please leave your request with a comment below.)