25 Inspirational Quotes for CEOs about Attracting, Identifying, and Hiring Difference Makers

I love quotes as I find that they inspire imagination and are more often remembered. As a premier level headhunter who finds difference making talent for the top positions in companies, I am often asked why hiring is so expensive. My answer is simple: because it's too expensive not to have great talent.

Here now are 25 of my favorite quotes on the importance of hiring the right talent, inspiring that talent inside your workplace, and retaining the same talent. The clear theme for business owners, CEOs, and key executives is the necessity to attract, identify, hire, and retain difference making top talent.

  1. “Executives owe it to their organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.” - Peter Drucker

  2. “Hire people who are smarter than you are—whose talents surpass yours—and give them opportunities for growth. It's the smart thing to do and it is a sign of high personal humility.”― Bruna Martinuzzi, The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow

  3. "If you pick the right people and give them opportunity to spread their wings – and put compensation as a carrier behind it – you almost don’t have to manage them." - Jack Welch, CEO, GE

  4. "Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you." - Warren Buffet

  5. "I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies." - Lawrence Bossidy, GE

  6. "I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way."- Lee Iacocca, Ford

  7. "Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it's personality." - Richard Branson, Virgin Brands

  8. “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”— Richard Branson

  9. "Hire character. Train skill." - Peter Schutz, Porsche

  10. "A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people." - Jim Collins, Author, Built to Last and Good to Great

  11. “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” – Jim Collins

  12. "In technology, it's about the people. Getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment, and helping to find a way to innovate."- Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo

  13. "I'd rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person." - Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon

  14. "Hire right, because the penalties of hiring wrong are huge."- Ray Dalio, author and investor

  15. "The secret to my success is that we’ve gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world." - Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and CEO, Apple

  16. "My theory is that A players hire people even better than themselves. It’s clear, though, that B players hire C players so they can feel superior to them, and C players hire D players. If you start hiring B players, expect what Steve [Jobs] called ‘the bozo explosion’ to happen in your organization."- Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Apple

  17. "Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth… Hiring was- and still is- the most important thing we do."- Marc Bennioff, CEO, Salesforce

  18. “I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.” – Robert Bosch

  19. “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – Chinese Proverb

  20. “When you hire people that are smarter than you are, you prove that you are smarter than they are.” — R.H. Grant

  21. “If you can 'hire tough,' you can 'manage easy.”― Sue Tetzlaff, The Employee Experience: A Capstone Guide to Peak Performance

  22. “Dating and hiring have a lot in common.”― Scott Wintrip, High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant

  23. “Recruitment IS marketing. If you’re a recruiter nowdays and you don’t see yourself as a marketer, you’re in the wrong profession.” — Matthew Jeffrey, Global head of sourcing and employment brand for SAPAnd lastly, a little humor:

  24. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire and amateur.” – Red Adair

  25. And lastly one of my own, in line with the maxim of pennywise and pound foolish, when considering investing in recruiting services, please remember that 'the sting of poor quality lingers long after the remembrance of a good price.'