Hire 4 Performance Series: The Heart

January 18, 2023

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer

Hiring the right candidate involves more than a search, resume, interviews and offer. Heart connection is essential to a successful hire. Welcome to Part 2 of our Hire 4 Performance blog series, the Heart. 


By now, you’ve mastered the art of making the perfect Old Fashioned or if you’re reading this blog first, then make sure you check out part 1. Our guess is that, right now, you’re thinking an Old-Fashioned sounds surprisingly good, and perhaps you should get one, but wait!

To make an effective hire, you need the right ingredients. It just so happens that the perfect hiring process takes three: The Head, The Heart, and the Briefcase. 

Using each one of these approaches on their own will definitely yield insights and results, but it takes mixing them together to capture the full picture of what the candidate looks like AND how they will perform in your organization. 

The Head, Heart, and Briefcase are as follows:  

  • Head: Behavioral attributes and cognitive ability  
  • Heart: Value alignment – motivations and interests  
  • Briefcase: Professional achievement profile 

In Part 1 we mentioned that “When hiring, most companies fail to consider all three components. We’ve proven through our process that evaluating all three not only gets you the right hire, but also provides valuable information to help engage, retain, and develop your people.  

Most companies will look at two fundamental areas when hiring. They look at the resume for skills and experience alignment, and they conduct an interview to obtain the story behind the resume, and some insights into the person.” 

Think of the Heart as the “Directors Cut” of the story behind the resume. It’s the motivations, the insights, the WHY. A good movie is nothing without a strong story. It may be visually stunning, have the most bombastic action scenes, and may even have a cast made up of Hollywood’s best, brightest, and most talented, but without a strong story, it still falls flat. A great movie needs HEART.

You might have a candidate who has worked with some of the most prestigious and well-known brands or graduated from a top college. This candidate might have an eye-turning title and some unique skills (more on that in Part 3), they could also be a great fit from a HEAD perspective but if their HEART isn’t in it, then do you really have a great candidate or just a great trailer?

There’s something about a great movie that connects you to it. It’s the same with a great candidate, and that goes both ways. A great candidate is looking for an organization they can connect with too.

When we look at the Head, we can assess how someone behaves and reacts; to what they do. In exploring the HEART, we can get an understanding of the WHY. What it is that drives those behaviors, charts their desired career path, and how what they are doing impacts their personal lives, and the lives of those around them. This is the difference between someone who is borrowing time and someone who takes ownership.

Alignment of vision, values, and identity is immensely important when making a hire who is going to make an impact. 

This HEART alignment goes beyond hiring and steps right into retention and engagement. 

Has anyone ever recommended a movie that they are sure you would like but are completely wrong? It’s more of what they like, and they want you to like it. They think they know you, but it’s on the same level as that Christmas gift from your Great Aunt who, in her mind, still sees you as fourteen… 

Understanding what is valuable and meaningful to a person will give you great insight into how to coach and encourage them. Different life circumstances can also affect our WHY, so being in a position of empathetic connection and understanding will put you in a strong place to have conversations about change and shifts in direction.  

Knowing someone’s WHY, what they are working towards, and the reason they are doing can help you see how they will fit into your team, and how they will impact those around them. 

As part of our interview process with candidates (and this is a secret we can’t not share), we have two questions that help us dig into that why. Tell me about your lived values and What motivated you to explore this role? 

Tell Me About Your Lived Values 

“The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So, the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition. People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never worry about what the future has in store for them.” – Owen D. Young 

Lived values are the beliefs and ideals that fuel a person’s WHY and that subconsciously dictate the relationships they form.  

Our Titus Lived Values are: 

  • Passion: We value determination, perseverance, and a sense of urgency. 
  • Excellence: We deliver nothing short of our best. 
  • Integrity: We do the right thing. We are honest, ethically unwavering and inspire trust. 
  • Accountability: We take personal responsibility for our actions and results. 
  • Results: We love success and celebrate one another’s wins. 
  • Servanthood: We expect service before self for our colleagues, clients, and candidates. 
  • Entrepreneurial: We are empowered to take initiative, be creative, and own what’s ours. 
  • Fun: We embrace weird, wild, and a little wacky. 

Words are only as good as the definitions they hold and the proven actions that follow them. 

Asking a candidate what their Lived Values are, defining what that means and how they outwork it is critical to the interview process. Culture is made up of the outworking of belief, so finding someone who can demonstrate alignment with your company values will be essential for growth. We have a saying, “When Culture is a Priority – Everybody Wins.” 

Semantics are important! Finding someone who understands themselves, what they are about, and what they are after is essential. Who you hire WILL impact your culture.  

What Motivated You to Explore this Role 

When working with passive (or any) candidates, one of the most telling questions that will open valuable conversation is this, “what motivated you to explore this role?” With passive candidates, the first time they are hearing about a position is through targeted outreach, and in some cases, when the search is confidential, they may know little about the company or the role. If they have responded to a message, there is a reason. As they get to know the company, the role, and the growth opportunities (be it impact, job stretch, or compensation) their motivations will become clearer.  

Asking this question enables you to gain an understanding of where they currently are, what’s important to them, and how, with that knowledge, you can speak to the benefits/challenges of the role you are exploring. This objectivity is what separates the consultant approach from the contingent approach. 

A contingent recruiter is after the fill, a consultant recruiter is after the relationship; the win-win. For example, if a candidate’s sole motivation is the compensation, you can be sure of two things:

  • If a higher paying opportunity comes along then they’ll be considering it


  • An increase in compensation enables them to get closer to a personal goal/project, but will only last so long.  

Knowing what motivates a candidate to explore something or why they are open to moving roles (or what would entice them to move) is your greatest secret weapon when it comes to an accepted offer. It is what will separate you from other companies vying for the candidate’s signature.  

It will also guard you against making a hire that will potentially be looking to move on in 6 months… 

How The Heart Affects Attracting Top Talent 

Stepping back into the movie analogy, what can Twilight teach us about hiring? One question, Team Jacob, or Team Edward? How you responded (outside of no, this is dumb or irrelevant) indicated what you valued, what you saw as inspiring, and what you identified with. In a sense, it described who you were. The point we are trying to make is that brand identity in attracting top talent has arguably never been more prevalent. 

Employer branding is regarded as one of the top six themes for hiring in 2023. 

Who a candidate chooses to work for, or more accurately, align with, speaks to their personal identity. For example, “I love my company because I get to do something I enjoy, and because of our focus on generosity, it’s amazing to work with a group of people committed to doing something bigger than ourselves.” OR “Company X is known for innovation, and it is exciting to be part of a team who is continually working to create something new.” 

In these cases, what the candidate is really saying is: Helping others is important to me, I am a kind and generous person, and I am someone who loves being associated with new, exciting creative strategies because I am a non-conformist. Of course, it is far more nuanced than that, however; the point is brand identity correlates with personal identity. 

Candidates are becoming increasingly aware of how companies present themselves and what shines through in their culture. This includes their meaning, identity, association, purpose, and story. The lines between what we do, who we are, and what we stand for are becoming blurred. The power of association has increasingly affected how candidates perceive themselves, and how they feel they are perceived by others. 6 Hiring Themes for 2023 

Like the Head, the Heart on its own will give valuable insights, but a cocktail it does not make. The Heart will show you WHY someone does something, and the HEAD will show you how they will go about it. In Part 3, we will explore the Briefcase, which is used to explore CAN a candidate do what you are hiring them to do.  

Alright, I guess it’s time to reach for that Old-Fashioned; you’ve earned it. Until next week then. 


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

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