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

The clear theme for business owners, CEOs, and key executives is attracting, identifying, hiring, and retaining 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, Author

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, General Electric (1981-2001)

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, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway (1965-Present)

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, Chief Executive, General Electric (1979-1991)

6. "I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way."
- Lee Lacocca, President, Chrysler Corporation (1978-1992)

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, Founder, Virgin Brands

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

9. "Hire character. Train skill."
- Peter Schutz, President and CEO, Porsche (1981-1987)

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

11. “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”
- Jim Collins, Author, Good to Great and Built to Last

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! (2012-2017)

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 (1983-1987)

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, Co-Founder and 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, Inventor

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.”
- Richard H. Grant, Vice President, General Motors (1929-1942)

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

22. “Dating and hiring have a lot in common.”
- Scott Wintrip, Author, 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 Jeffery, Global Head of Sourcing and Employment Brand, SAP (2014-2019)

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