One Key For Hiring the Right People: Offer Them More Than Money

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On April 2, 2017

Steve Jobs was a brilliant entrepreneur. He had ideas, drive, intelligence, and big dreams for his start-up company. But he was also only 28 years old. He needed to hire someone with the skills and experience to scale up his start-up. He knew how important it was to hire the right person—someone who knew how to do what he did not. But he also knew that one key for hiring the right people: offer them more than money.

That’s why, when Steve Jobs went after John Scully (then President of Pepsi), he enticed him with something more than a fat paycheck. He offered him a chance to make a difference, and he did it in a way that only Steve Jobs would dare to do. His challenge is now legendary:

Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?

There are two important things to take away from this now familiar story.

First of all, Steve Jobs knew he needed someone like John Scully. It’s a gross understatement to say that Steve Jobs wasn’t known for his great humility. But Jobs was smart enough—even at a young age—to know that he couldn’t accomplish what he wanted to do on his own. Scaling up a business like Apple would quickly outgrow his ability to manage important aspects of the business that were critical to success. He wasn’t threatened by Scully’s business acumen. Instead, he recognized it as essential.

When your business is small, you may be able to manage everything. But if you are planning to scale up your business and grow it dramatically, the demands will quickly outstrip your ability to cover all the bases. Jobs knew that and took appropriate action.

The other thing Jobs understood was that money alone wouldn’t make Scully move from Pepsi (a known entity that was extremely successful) to a start-up with an uncertain future. What Jobs offered (in addition to what was surely an attractive financial package) was a mission.

That concept is part of Apple’s corporate culture. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told college students in Glasgow, Scotland, “My advice to all of you is, don’t work for money — it will wear out fast, or you’ll never make enough and you will never be happy, one or the other.”

If you want to dramatically grow your business you have to hire the right people. And one key for hiring the right people is to offer them more than money. Offer them a mission.