Everybody’s challenge is nobody’s challenge

If you want people to join your team, you need to challenge them big and it needs to be personal.

I chuckled at a post a friend recently made on Facebook.  It said, “looking for a very good web developer… for a project that is yet to be announced.”  There are a few problems with this kind of recruiting.

1. Very good web developers are probably not trolling Facebook for jobs.  They are busily meeting client demands.  Mediocre web developers might be trolling Facebook looking for jobs.

2. The project is vague and unannounced.  Is it a new porn site or a micro-lending donation site? I have no idea if this is something I should drop everything to try and do or if it’s just some guy who wants a wordpress blog setup.

3. Qualifications.  Do you need a flash programmer or some guy who loves Ruby on Rails?  Are you paying $20/hour or $100/hour?  It’s difficult for someone to know if they meet the criteria of “very good web developer”.

I haven’t ever met a non-profit operational leader who has a full team.  However, if you ask them on how they plan to recruit, they’ll give ineffective answers like make a video or send a job description to the HR department.

The problem with these kinds of recruiting is that by recruiting everybody, you actually recruit nobody.  Nobody will join your team because they saw a video at a conference.  Few will take the time to read through a job description on a hard to find website.

The people you want on your team are already doing world-changing things.  You need to get on a plane or in a car and go meet them and tell them that what they’re doing right now can’t even compare to the impact they could have if they worked for you.  Bring a one-page sheet with you that tells them exactly what you want them to do.

“Jim, we could engage 10,000 volunteers if you helped us build a Facebook fan page.”
“Sally, the financial accountability you could help our staff work on would save us $1,000,000 a year that could be re-invested in our mission.”
“Pierre, we could help partners in 20 countries provide clean drinking water to millions if you could train them how to use X tool.”

Often people will stand at the front of a large gathering and boldly call-out, “come join us in our mission”.  The dilemma is that each person in the audience thinks you’re talking to the person beside them.  “All the others will go,” they think.  Large talks can be motivating, but a personal challenge produces action.

Everyone on my team will tell you they joined because someone sat them down and told them of the impact they could have by joining my team.  I’m currently very satisfied in my job, but I always tell people, “I’ll consider any challenge [to a new job] you want to give me.”  Although I strive to  be working at optimal capactiy, it’s possible there is something out there, that I, specifically and uniquely could contribute to that will help change the world in a more meaningful way than I currently am.

Think like this and your team will grow.  Nobody will join you if you don’t ask them.


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