In the summer of 1977, I waited outside a movie theater with my best friend, Raj, and the other members of our Cub Scout troop. The line was long and excitement was high. Our group had never been to the movies together and today, we would see Star Wars.
It was the first movie I wanted to see more than once and did.
There was no way of knowing I would one day write a blog post about the lessons Star Wars can teach us about recruiting, and yet here we are, and this is that post.
To start, let’s acknowledge that Star Wars is a prime example of the classic hero’s journey. In the story, Luke’s journey follows the same pattern as the heroes in Greek and Roman mythology. This has been well studied, and you can read more about that here.
For the purposes of helping you become a more effective recruiter, we’re going to focus on a few key elements of storytelling. And like some of my favorite childhood reading, you’ll soon see that you have the power to choose your own adventure.
At their core, all good stories are about two things: EXIT and ARRIVAL.
When we first meet Luke, he is living in his ‘ordinary world.’ His reality consists of being a good nephew, doing farm chores, and bulls-eyeing womp rats in his T-16. He longs for more but doesn’t know how to get it. He wants an exit from his current reality and an arrival in a new, more exciting future.
Think of Obi-Wan as Luke’s recruiter. He sets him on the path.
There’s a lesson here. Notice that when Obi-Wan meets Luke, he doesn’t immediately enlist him. First, and even before rescuing him from a band of Tusken Raiders, he recognizes that Luke needs to be rescued.
In other words, Obi-Wan provides value first.
And going deeper still, he was smart enough to hang out in a place where his particular skills would have value to anyone passing through. He put himself in position to find his Luke. Are you in the places where your Lukes will show up?
Advertising on Indeed and Craigslist are a good start. People searching there already recognize their pain and are actively seeking a remedy. You may be that remedy. Or – and this is never fun – you may find people who will be in pain wherever they go. Avoid recruiting them.
Like Obi-Wan, you’re more likely to succeed by rescuing your recruits from their ‘ordinary worlds’ of waiting tables, stocking shelves, and bulls-eyeing 5 p.m. from the moment they wake up. Some of these people are very talented, and like Obi-Wan, you may be able to see innate skills that they themselves are unaware of. Think about your Luke. What is his present pain and how can you help him?
In the film, Luke’s present pain was a band of Sand People kicking him in the teeth. What kind of pain are your potential recruits feeling? What’s the most valuable thing you can do to help?
Join me for our Growvember webinar series and I’ll show you how to put the Star Wars strategy in place. You can save your free seat here.
I’ll close this post with one final observation: Luke was a recruiter too. In my next post, I’ll explain how your recruitment strategies change when you’ll be working alongside those you recruit. In the meantime, leave your comments below…
And may the Force be with you! (Sorry… I had to. Couldn’t resist!)