THE PEople

Alex: Always be recruiting

Years ago, I remember speaking to a new colleague of mine who had come in from another organisation.

As always I was keen to get to know him better and was curious about his experience, his thinking and his leadership style and approach.

I remember one day we were chatting and he suddenly had to go – when I asked where he was off to, he said he was heading off to meet with some potential recruits.

At the time, I knew he didn't have any vacancies in his team, so I was curious as to what role he was recruiting for.

And this is what he told me.

He told me that he didn't have an actual role right now, but one of his previous mentors had instilled in him the discipline of always having a recruitment mindset. His reasoning was that despite your best intentions, you never really know what lies around the corner, whether you will have a role to fill through growth or attrition, and that most leaders, when faced with that need, found themselves up against the wall in terms of starting the recruitment process from scratch – which is a really risky scenario when combined with an urgency to fill a role.

This is when you find yourself making decisions based on short term need rather than long term fit – which can compromise your decision making ability and the standards you would usually adhere to when you had the luxury of choice. Never a good place to be!

So these are my really simple tips for you:

  1. Remember that your role as the leader is to create a powerhouse team, and only have the best people. Talent acquisition and development is one of the most important things that you should be doing.
  2. Set aside a few hours in your diary every fortnight. Or if that feels too much every month. My old colleague set aside a friday afternoon every fortnight to meet and have a coffee with talented people in the market – not to offer a specific role, but to start building relationships.
  3. Know the market. Don't get sucked into being too internally focused. Make sure you are connected to the market you are operating in, know who the key players are and the high performers.
You may not need to fill a role for the next 6 months, but imagine the difference when you do, and you have a list of genuine relationships with high performers that you can call on for a serious conversation?

This is something you can start this week, and if you can develop this as a habit, you will never look back!


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