15 Inspiring Recruitment Marketing and Hiring Quotes from Industry Influencers

Julie CalliBy Julie Calli
December 6th, 2022 • 7 Minutes

The internet is loaded with blog posts, discussion boards, infographics and comprehensive guides all attempting to describe why some recruitment marketing and hiring efforts succeed while others fail. 

These deep-dives and analysis can provide valuable resources on your journey as a recruitment marketing professional, but sometimes all you need is a bit of inspiration to take things to the next level!

Some of the greatest minds in the industry have a way of cutting through the noise and summing up the basic concepts behind recruitment marketing and hiring in such a way that it becomes easy for just about anyone to understand. We’ve collected 15 of our favorite examples here!

1. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

– Red Adair, American oil well firefighter and industry innovator

Red Adair knew better than most the true risk of settling for less-than-top talent. He was a firefighter who specialized in tackling blazes in oil wells, so hiring a crew member who was less than the best could be a deadly decision.

It’s unlikely that your hiring efforts are quite so life-and-death, but the point still stands: it may seem expensive to pay a true professional their asking price, but there are other costs that come from choosing to hire someone with less experience and the required skills, and sometimes those costs far exceed the cost of hiring top talent.

2. “In technology, it’s about people. Getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment, and helping to find a way to innovate.”    

– Marissa Mayer, former president and CEO of Yahoo

Success in the technology industry may seem like it has more to do with the technology itself than with the people behind it, but much like every other industry, human beings are the ones putting the gears into motion with their motivation, creativity and innovation.

3. “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.”

Henry David Thoreau, philosopher

When you hire someone who looks at their job as nothing more than a paycheck, you shouldn’t expect more than the bare minimum from them. When you hire someone who looks at their job as a pathway to their passion, the sky is the limit for what they can provide.

4. “Recruiting talent is no different than any other challenge a start-up faces. It’s all about selling.”

Vivek Wadhwa, American entrepreneur

This quote emphasizes the “marketing” side of recruitment marketing. Top talent is always going to have the power of choice at their disposal; if you want to hire them, you’re going to have to view recruitment through the lens of a salesperson.

5. “Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.” 

Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine

There’s an unfortunate amount of hubris that finds its way into the hiring process, and it can easily be the downfall of your organization if you’re not careful. This quote urges humility and suggests that you should seek to build a workforce that’s even smarter and more capable than its own leadership.

6. “The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people.” 

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

The most important thing you can do when attempting to build a highly successful company is to focus on hiring the most gifted and capable people you can find. After all, a company is composed of people and people alone. In other words: focus your attention on recruitment marketing!

7. “You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb.” 

Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist

This quote is an interesting one when you view it through the lens of recruitment marketing and hiring. You might find a candidate who on paper is everything you’ve ever dreamed of in an employee, but there are equally important aspects that a resume and cover letter can’t possibly capture.

If the job seeker doesn’t have the motivation to become what their credentials tell you they can, you can’t force them to reach their potential. This can ultimately mean that they are not the ideal candidate for your organization.

8. “Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.”

Lawrence Bossidy, former COO of General Electric

Your business strategies may be the most perfectly tuned on the planet, but if you don’t have people with the capability of executing them, they have no real value. A successful company that fails to emphasize recruitment marketing and hiring is the Titanic headed for the iceberg.

9. “Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”

Thomas John Watson Sr., former chairman and CEO of IBM

Mr. Watson shows his sense of humor with this quote, but beneath that is something worth considering. Employees are only human and they’re bound to make mistakes, but those mistakes actually have a lot of value. More importantly, a good employee is a lot more valuable than the losses they may incur when training.

10. “Hire character, train skill.”

Peter Schutz, former president and CEO of Porsche

This quote speaks to the often underappreciated value of those intangible skills that can never be captured accurately on a resume: communication, personability, desire to learn, humility, self-confidence, and charisma. While these traits can be sharpened, they most often cannot be learned. They should be valued over other skills.

11. “Hiring the wrong people is the fastest way to undermine a sustainable business.”

Kevin J. Donaldson, CEO and founder of Real Wealth Solutions

Focusing on recruitment marketing in order to hire top talent is a great way to get your company on the fast track to success, but it’s also a crucial factor in avoiding the fast track to failure. 

12. “At the end of the day, if you’re not beating the teams on the road recruiting that you have to beat on the field, then you’re probably not going to win many championships.”

Kirby Smart, Head football coach of the Georgia Bulldogs

While Mr. Smart’s perspective is centered around athletic competition, his words translate well to the world of recruitment marketing. Failing to hire top talent isn’t just a loss for your organization — it’s a win for the competition.

13. “I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way.”

Lee Iacocca, American automobile executive

You’ve heard the first half of this quote a few times already, but the second half is what makes it interesting. When you’ve done the work to hire someone who is talented, capable, and intelligent, your best bet is to avoid micromanaging and just stand aside while they bring your organization to new heights.   

14. “Development can help great people be even better — but if I had a dollar to spend, I’d spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.”

Paul Russell, director of leadership and development at Google

This quote shows that a key member of one of the most successful companies on the planet places a lot of value on hiring the right people. He recognizes that spending 70% of all available resources on the right hire will be a worthwhile investment in the long run.

15. “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”

Jim Collins, researcher and author

 You can’t just hire anyone and expect success — you need to put the time, energy and effort into hiring the right person. In doing so, you’ll come up with one of your organization’s most crucial assets. 

The Importance of Recruitment Marketing

We hope this collection of quotes has provided you with a bit of insight and inspiration for your future recruitment marketing and hiring endeavors. Remember that the people who shape your organization are the number one reason for both its successes and its failures. There is no better way to invest in your company than by investing in them.   

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