You Want Volunteers, Not Recruits


One of our favourite podcasts both for fun and for unique and smart career advice is Happier in Hollywood. Two female producers and writers talk about working in Hollywood, building a career in a male-dominated industry, and the realities of what a successful career entails. This podcast has made us question whether we should start saying 'fuck' in job interviews and if we can save valuable time by pre-ordering our lunches at the beginning of every week. 

If you're a woman looking for an ambitious career (even outside of Hollywood) we really recommend this podcast.

Something Liz and Sarah talked about in a previous episode hasn't left our mind for weeks and it's really changed our attitudes towards almost everything we're working on: you want volunteers, not recruits. 

It's obvious, really. When you're looking for employees, partners, collaborators, even employers, you want someone who is volunteering for the position. Not someone you have to convince. Because if you have to convince someone to sign up, think about how much energy you're going to use up keeping them motivated, happy, and productive?

It's harder than it seems sometimes. Think of how many times you excitedly convinced someone to do a side project with you? You explained all the benefits, how much fun it would be, and how it would work out. They might sigh or tentatively agree. Does their enthusiasm ever match your own? Rarely. Best case scenarios they sign up and do their job, worst case they resent you for the responsibility and the whole thing blows up in your face.

Now think about someone who volunteers to dive into something with you? Their commitment equals your own right off the bat. You're not going to waste precious time or energy keeping them engaged or happy.

We've been in a few situations in our career where a fun project turned into a full-time job trying to corral teammates and receive deliverables.

Why didn't we think of this before? From now on, we're not convincing anyone (and definitely not begging) because the expectations are too high and it's not worth it.

We can tell you in the few short weeks since thinking about this advice, it's like a weight has been lifted off us and we're working with other people in a much smarter and efficient way.

Want some marketing help? We're your volunteers! Send us an email at and let's talk!