Passion, Grit, Personal Value Statement – Why I Recruit

Passion and Grit are two positive character traits that I believe are valuable to the individual and in the work world. Passion is what fuels the individual and adds excitement and enjoyment to life and Grit is what is often needed to get things done.


I discovered my passion for recruiting by accident in 1987 and have been acting on it ever since. In 1987 the research I was involved in at the Georgia Tech Engineering Experiment Station in Solar Energy was winding down. At that time Tech had a solar power tower poised over 100 feet and above the trees on the campus across from the Student Athletic Complex. We conducted experiments in high temperature high flux thermal environments.  It turned out that Atlanta, GA wasn’t all that idea for solar thermal work due to the high moisture content in the atmosphere.

I was a 28-year-old engineer who was single and really enjoyed the work at tech but it was time to do something else. Should I continue to pursue solar and move to Arizona? I knew that the solar market was small and being specialized in a small market could mean additional future job changes and relocations as programs and funding changed. I thought I’d explore something else.

Things were different in 1987. It was a time before personal computers, fax machines, answering machine, cell phones, and no internet. When you wanted to explore new jobs you sent a resume via US Mail and received a phone call or a US Mail reply. It was odd that I found myself on an interview for a sales recruiter’s job because I really didn’t know much about recruiting and had never done sales.

During the interview something very strange happened. I’d call it an epiphany.  I listened intently while the manager was talking about the job and suddenly the room got brilliantly white! I mean everything whited out and a feeling of elation and excitement overcame me. I saw myself doing and enjoying what was being described. The job had the components of research, hunting, discovery, helping people and there was no cap on earnings. You could work anywhere so long as you had the ability to connect with your clients and your candidates ( US Mail, dial telephone, face to face). This is how my passion for recruiting was born.

I didn’t take that job but I did use the process to find another and ultimately started my own firm a year and a half later. I carry that same feeling of elation and excitement with me almost every day as I continue to recruit. The business world has changed significantly and so has the recruiting practice. The Internet, email, job boards and attitudes about recruiting talent have continued to leave all but I maintain my passion.

I share this experience with the reader because I believe it is important to find passion in the work you do or to work in the area of your passions. Yet many people never do. People who are passionate about their work are typically very good at it because they are more willing to expend energy, effort and attention to the details of the work.  Engagement of people with people, and people with ideas will often lead to accomplishments that wouldn’t happen otherwise.


The discovery of your own passion may not come in the form of an epiphany like it did for me but is important to a productive and engaged workforce and for your own personal enjoyment.

may come through a series of iterations and changes in your own career. The rule of thumb is do the things that you’re attracted to and if you lose that attraction to the thing you do consider a change. Of course this rule has many caveats as there are many influences to one’s own job such as work environment, compensation, location etc. so I’m really talking about the essence of the work and not the specific position. If you really enjoy painting houses to make them more beautiful but the government mandates that every house must be painted black and you hate black then you should make the change from painting houses to painting other things that give you that same satisfaction. Finding and fueling your passion is a lifelong process of discovery.

I like to discover the passions that other people have. Whether I am recruiting or meeting new people my discussions are often around understanding that person’s passion(s). Once I learned a person’s passion I try to understand why are they passionate about this thing? People with passion are typically motivated people and if put in the right position can accomplish more within their passion area than they can outside of it. I have met many passionate engineers, software developers, business analyst, functional leads, technical leads, architects that really enjoy their work and because of this enjoyment are very good at it. People that are really good at jobs that are valued within the marketplace are almost always employed and are happy and productive at their work.

What is your passion and how can you best leverage it in the workplace? This is what career building is all about!


Along with passion comes the idea of Grit. Grit is a personality trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve an objective. In college basketball it is a team’s grit that can propel them to a national championship even when things look bleak. People with grit just do not give up when trying to obtain an outcome. They may suffer many losses and be knocked to the ground but they will always rise and continue toward their goal. You want to be associated with people that have grit and you want to hire them to be on your team.

The employment marketplace is filled with a diversity of people and opportunity. How do you determine which job to take or which people to hire? Talent or the ability to perform a specific job at a high level is only one component of the successful hiring equation. Good people and good jobs ARE HARD TO FIND. How do you know you have found one? Some of the best hiring decisions are made when you accept a job or hire someone because of shared passion and grit.


By definition a Personal Value Statement is a statement of what value you offer someone else. It brings clarity to why you might be hired over someone else with comparable skills. The best job matches are when you’re value statement and a company’s objectives are in alignment. It should accurately reflect your character, skills, objectives.

Everyone in today’s marketplace has to be aware of their value statement. Failure to understand your value in the employment market leaves you open to layoffs, cuts in employment, difficulty in finding jobs and a host of other maladies. People can pursue many passions outside of employment to keep them happy but when you find people who are passionate about their work there usually very good at it. Most people passionate about their work evolve with the marketplace and are rarely without satisfying work. If they find themselves without satisfying work they typically will make a change.

While you might not publish your value statement you should know what it is. Your value statement will guide you to pursuing opportunities that are the best fit for you. Below is an example of what my value statement :


A recruiting leader with hands-on technical and business experience, skills, character traits and grit is likely to be more successful at guiding hiring managers and other recruiters through the recruitment process of finding the best technical and business talent because of the basis for identifying talent and making good decisions.  I identify, recruit and deliver candidates to clients who seek high performers in the enterprise IT, business, software sales and sales leadership, engineering and technology markets.


Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.