top of page

Atomic Habits applied to Recruitment

The best seller: Atomic habits by James Clear, was published in 2018 and since, has sold over 9 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages.

With the New Year kicking in, we have all set some resolutions that we are hoping to achieve. With Atomic habits you will discover a practical guide on how to optimize your habits and get 1 percent better every day. The book draws on proven behavior change ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience and explains them in a way that is easy to understand and apply.

It shows how minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. James uncovers a handful of simple life hacks, by using the science of tiny habits to stay productive, motivated, and happy.

This article is not a promo of the book (even though we invite you to read it in full!). However, Atomic Habits can be applied to every aspect of your day to day, and we want to explore them into Recruitment.

One of the bases of the book is that every time we perform a habit, we execute a four-step pattern: cue, craving, response, reward.

  • Cue. A piece of information that suggests there’s a reward to be found, like the smell of a cookie or a dark room waiting to light up.

  • Craving. The motivation to change something to get the reward, like tasting the delicious cookie or being able to see.

  • Response. Whatever thought or action you need to take to get to the reward.

  • Reward. The satisfying feeling you get from the change, along with the lesson whether to do it again or not.

If we want to form new habits, we should make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. On the other hand, for those habits that we wish to remove, we should make them invisible, unattractive, difficult and unsatisfying.

Now, how can we translate this into Recruitment?

Firstly you are going to have to look into your responsibilities, your targets and your own goals. Identify the areas where you wish to see improvement, in order to determine the habits that you need to encourage versus the ones you need to discourage. Once you have your list, you can proceed to establish the tiny changes that will lead you to remarkable results.

4 other Tips, you can easily apply:

Track your progress, in Atomic Habits, James Clear explained that tracking your habits on a daily basis is the key to consistently compounding small behaviors over time for incredible outcomes. Whether you track your recruiting activities in an Excel spreadsheet, a Trello board or your hiring software application, don’t break the chain. You can not measure what you can not see!

Habit stacking, the book introduced the idea of habit stacking to make sure that a newly desired habit is easy to remember because it immediately follows an existing habit–it’s “stacked” on top of it. Ex:

  • After I make a cup of coffee, I turn on my computer.

  • After I turn on my computer, I check my inbox.

  • After I check my inbox, I call 5 candidates.

The NEW YOU, create a new recruiting superstar persona for yourself and become that person. You’ll be more successful if you focus on being a new you, rather than just on achieving goals. “With outcome-based habits, the focus is on what you want to achieve. With identity-based habits, the focus is on who you wish to become”. Identity-based habits result in the longest-lasting change and success.

Surround yourself with like-minded people, you are more likely to experience positive cues and cravings that lead you to optimal behavior. Find a peer group that exhibits similar beliefs and behaviors about successful hiring practices. In the same way, a single accountability partner can keep you honest on maintaining positive hiring habits and seeking continuous professional development.


James suggests that the environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.

By taking time to analyze your environment’s impact on your current habits, you can start to make incremental changes that create repeatable systems which support positive behaviors. Improve pieces of your hiring process day by day, in small chunks, and before you know it you’ll be on your way to recruiting top talent with ease.



bottom of page