Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs & Recruiting

For this week’s Monday Morning Inspiration insights from a famous psychologist on needs and motivations. Important for recruiters and HR professionals to understand psychological principles as they are matchmaking and helping people reach new heights in their careers.

The Hierarchy of Needs theory was coined by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.

The crux of the theory is that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs. Clearly, a person’s job can aid in fulfilling some of these needs.

The hierarchy is made up of 5 levels:

1. Physiological – these needs must be met in order for a person to survive, such as food, water and shelter.
2. Safety – including personal and financial security and health and well-being.
3. Love/Belonging – the need for friendships, relationships and family.
4. Esteem – the need to feel confident and be respected by others; achievement, self-esteem.
5. Self-Actualization – the desire to achieve everything you possibly can and become the most that you can be. To possess: morality, creativity, spontaneity, lack prejudice and accept facts.

According to the hierarchy of needs, people must be in good health, safe and secure with meaningful relationships and confidence before they are able to be the most that they can be (take their careers to the next level). Maslow believed that it was difficult to reach “Self-Actualization” but, of course, a goal worthy pursuing.

Applying Maslow to Recruiting

As sourcers, recruiters, and hiring managers go about the business of aligning the right talent, with the right opportunity at the right time it is critical to understand candidates and clients on a more personal level. Further, it’s imperative that recruiters are cognizant of how job opportunities will edify basic needs and what are primary motivations for achievement and mastery.

Additionally, it’s good to be reminded what are some key needs people have and to check-in periodically with employees to ensure that recruiting agencies and clients are doing everything they can to ensure basic needs are being met. Maslow talked about these principles as building upon each other, so once a person has their physiological, safety, love/belonging, and esteem needs met then the chance for Self-Actualization becomes possible. This is also an area where recruiters can add value to the development of their candidates and clients.

When recruiters can help candidates and clients realize their true potential and develop their creativity, awareness, objectivity, problem solving skills, and spontaneity this is a sweet spot for sure.

  • What are you doing to help get people to “Self-Actualization”?
  • Do you have any measures in place to gauge how your candidates are doing toward the goal of Self-Actualization?

This might be a great conversation to have with your team as you begin your week!