The Common Denominator of Success

A common question that people are asked during interviews is “How do you define success?” Every person defines success differently, but for me it brings to mind an article a past supervisor shared with me – Common Denominator of Success

The article is actually a speech by Albert Gray at an insurance convention in the 1940s. While the speech was originally intended for insurance underwriters, it easily translates to recruiting and nearly every other profession.

Albert Gray talks about how he was searching for the factor all successful people have in common, the common denominator of success. He explains how he believed, like myself, that the answer would be hard work. However, there are plenty examples of people being successful without necessarily working hard. Here is what Albert Gray discovered:

The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”

How does this common denominator of success relate to recruiting? In order to become a successful recruiter, we need to go above and beyond to make a habit of doing things that other recruiters don’t like to do. Here are a few examples of how making a habit out of these things can help to set a great recruiter apart from an average recruiter:

  • Asking difficult questions: It’s easy for a recruiter to settle for what their candidate may be telling them upfront, without looking further into specific issues. A great recruiter needs to dig deeper into the reasons for their candidate looking for a job, what opportunity they’re looking for, etc. and asking the difficult questions in order to find a job they would be comfortable in.
  • Making the extra phone call: If you make a few extra phone calls each day you can potentially reach the candidate you haven’t been able to speak with. By making a habit out of making the calls you traditionally do not, it can go a long way into becoming more successful.
  • New ways to find strong candidates: An average recruiter would be content with posting a job on a website, or searching CareerBuilder or Monster for their candidates. By making a habit out of sourcing in new ways, it will help to become more successful. This can happen through websites like LinkedIn, getting referrals from candidates, or talking about opportunities with a candidates references.

These are just a few ways a great recruiter can set themselves apart from the average recruiter. In whatever profession we choose, making a habit out of things that others don’t like to do is key to becoming successful.


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