Find Your IKIGAI.

Jan 9, 2020 12:45:04 PM / by Jack Smith- CEO of Qualifi

I’ve been searching for years to develop a better structure to the way I approach recruitment. How I understand and perceive people, drawing out the bits of seemingly insignificant information that will lead to deep connections with others….framing it in a concise way has just eluded me.

Over the years, I’ve told anyone that will listen, no one aspires to be a recruiter, much less in the staffing industry. We all stumble our way here. If you are lucky, you connect with a company or manager or co-workers that provide you with a good foundation. Maybe you get a modicum of training or pick up a mentor. That’s what typically leads to initial success. As you progress, honing your interviewing skills falls squarely on your shoulders. You learn from trial and error-you press on. This leads to longevity.

Truthfully, my recruitment skills have slowly evolved over the years…rapidly jumping at times but mostly growing at a slow grind. With time and experience, I’ve learned to understand and professionally assess people across a variety of industries (nursing, technology, marketing and digital). Mostly, that is the easy part. The challenge is understanding people; who they are, what they actually enjoy doing, what ignites their passions, what drives their engagement… then how all of that shapes what they do professionally. But how do you incorporate all of that into a meaningful and consistent process?

To me, understanding a person’s professional skill set is penultimate; uncovering the core of a person is the pinnacle of connecting.

Recently, I came across a term that I immediately recognized as core to the approach I take interviewing people. Leave it to the wisdom of the Japanese to truly capture the essence of how a person should approach the place where work and life intersect: Ikigai.

Ikigai is a Japanese word whose meaning translates roughly to “a reason for being”, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being. A simple Ven Diagram elegantly explains how it is all interconnected.

When I meet people, I start with understanding what they love to do. Regardless of their current job or role, I want to understand what fuels their passions and what they are driven to accomplish. Then we discuss what they are currently doing and how it aligns (or doesn’t) with who they are. This always leads to a deeper discussion about how they got to where they are professionally-but with an understanding of how they maintained the path they had started down or veered off. It is eye-opening for some, an affirmation for others….but it affords insights you typically do not get in an interview. You are actually beginning to understand the person. 

We venture on to discuss what they excel at and how that shapes what they want their next role to be. This goes right to alignment of passion, skills, jobs, and compensation. After understanding a person, I can finally start thinking about the types of companies, opportunities and client partners that might be suitable. That’s when I am able to connect the dots.

It’s different, for sure. Many people leave a meeting with me probably feeling a bit confused. It may take a day or two for a few things to click, for them to understand that I am a long-term partner connection and not just a recruiter. 

Let’s discuss where Ikigai will lead you.


Tags: marketing, Career, Human Resources

Jack Smith- CEO of Qualifi

Written by Jack Smith- CEO of Qualifi

Expert in providing “people” solutions to align with great companies, key knowledge leader in candidate marketplace, client-focused approach to building better teams, has seen and done everything in the recruitment/staffing world.