“I am homesick for a place I am not even sure exists.” 

– Melissa Cox

Okay, this is going to be a little controversial.

One of the challenges I constantly face in dealing with clients is actually borne of a very noble quality.  The folks we typically work with are operating from a faith-based or very high integrity place.  

They desire to help others and make a real difference in people’s lives.  This is actually the beautiful collision of the world’s greatest need and our greatest opportunity as leaders.  It is also a minefield when it comes to hiring.  Needing to hire high quality team members and knowing someone who needs to find a job, might be a mutually exclusive proposition.

The main qualification for hiring someone for your key position is not how desperately they need that job.

Okay, I said it.  

The nobility of our leaders often has them:

  • hiring the wrong person
  • out of the best of intentions
  • expending tremendous time and energy to make it work
  • realizing it won’t
  • and then, because of the same nobility that drove the hire, can’t seem to fire them

out of the best of intentions…comes an incredible mess.

We’re all posting for new hires. 

We need that next great team member. 

We need to upgrade the team in some key positions.  

We need to find the missing piece that might just change everything.

But the answer may not be to find someone who is looking.  

It may be more about finding someone who is longing.  

Someone who is looking might be discontent, desperate, or even unsuccessful in their current role.  Someone who is longing could be very successful, have a great job, but just desiring to be part of a better team.  Someone who likely wouldn’t change jobs unless they knew that they could work in a better culture with more noble aspirations for making a difference in the world.

They might even be longing for a place they quit believing exists.

Of course, if you find someone who is looking for a job and their ability, training, and experience fit the position beautifully…AND they are a great culture fit, it is the best of all worlds.  But in my experience, that rarely seems to be the case.

As people of good intentions, differentiating ourselves in a crowded job market is not only crucial to our business future, it might just address the biggest challenge we are facing with subsequent generations.  The millennials I hear so many leaders complain about are far more aware of their longing than my generation. 

It is essential that we create strong and attractive cultures.

That we clearly differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.

Then and only then, will we attract and hire the right people for our teams.



  • Would you say that the culture of your organization is special and valuable?
  • How successful have your most recent handful of hires been?
  • Do you think you are doing a good job of connecting what is special and valuable about your culture to those longing for more?