The Power of Dreams for Recruiting and Retention

I spent more than a decade as a Recruiting Leader not knowing the most critical piece of recruiting.

Generally, the type of people we are looking to recruit are the people who aren’t planning to make a change. So, we need to appeal to them so much that they are willing to take that leap.

And the most essential piece that can inspire people to leave where they are comfortable and join you is dream fulfillment.

If we can create a framework for our recruits that shows them that we

  • Know their dream
  • Know why that dream is important to them
  • And we are invested in helping them achieve that dream,

then we can stand out as a unicorn in this industry.

Here's the framework:

When I meet with someone for the first time in a 15-minute meeting (where no recruiting is allowed), I ask a question that engages them around desire. I do this so I can get to know the dreams of the recruit I’m talking to.

  • One of the questions I ask is: What is something big you want to accomplish in the next decade?

This starts a dream conversation. And you know what? A lot of people don’t know what that is. So then I can come alongside them and dream with them.

When we talk with recruits about dreams versus goals, we go into the right brain area of thinking. It’s the creative side that allows for more excitement, exploring, and establishes trust between the recruit and myself.

Not to mention, it makes me stand out. In all my career, I never had a leader ask me what my dreams were beyond a 12-month window. And a decade is a very important window of time—anything is possible within a decade. It allows space and freedom for us to really dream big and envision a future we’d like to move toward.

That’s what not only converts recruits to team members, but it also creates retention. People want to follow a leader they can dream with. With a leader like that, anything is possible.

There is power in dreaming with our people.

And it helps us build the best team, too. Because when we share our dreams with one another, we quickly learn whether or not our dreams, values, and desires are in alignment.

So as we share our dreams together, we learn if we are the right fit. And one of the biggest factors of retention is hiring the right people.

Dreams and desire lead us to some of the most incredible places that will motivate us and drive us to do things we couldn’t do otherwise.

So as a Recruiting Leader, some questions you have to ask are: What’s the big dream? What do you want to accomplish over the next decade? And then follow through in helping them see how you can help them achieve this dream.

When a leader has an identity as a dream facilitator, people flock to and rarely leave that leader. Show me a leader who is a dream facilitator, and I’ll show you a leader who attracts and retains their people.

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