SmartRecruiters Blog

Top 5 Hiring Lessons from Robert Frost Quotes

If I had a dime for every time I heard someone quote Robert Frost, or saw a tweet or Facebook status with his words of wisdom, I’d probably be a millionaire. There is a reason his words keep on living and they can be applied to so many parts of a person’s life; they do say good advice never goes out of style. Robert Frost can teach us about many things, including hiring. The 5 Robert Frost quotes may not have been about growing a business when he wrote them, but they can certainly teach us a lesson.

5. “They must have seen ahead what now appears:
They would bring empires down about our Ears
And by the example of our Declaration
Make everybody want to be a nation.” 
This quote is from JFK’s inauguration, Frost reminds us that the Founding Fathers had a vision for the United States; this vision is being lived out by the president the people elect to run the country. This is not too different than hiring. Leaders have a vision, and good companies want to do something that matters. Blind decision-making is not an option when hiring or running a business. Effective business plans and decisions are backed up by a foundation which finds its grounding in a mission. To make great hires, ask yourself, “What impact will this decision have on the future of my company?” Hire with purpose. Hire someone who just gives you the impression that he or she will exceed your goals.


4. “All those who try to go it sole alone,
Too proud to be beholden for relief,
Are absolutely sure to come to grief.”

If an employee is going to be working with every department, or at least a few, why would one person make the hiring decision? Collaboration in hiring is key. Making the best decisions for your company and growing team is not something that can be achieved alone.  Let’s say for instance you decide to go about the hiring process by yourself. You hire someone you think will be a great fit, he or she meets the team they will be working with and everything flies off the handles. It’s just not a good match. Now you have spent time and money training, and interviewing someone who will end up costing you more than they had time do produce. Moral of the story – don’t do it alone; Frost predicts, “grief,” and he’s right.


3. “Pressed into service means pressed out of shape.”

Quality of Hire is a driving factor in the success of your company. Hiring someone quickly – just because – isn’t the answer. Hire the best. Pressing someone into a certain roll is not going to work in the long term unless they have the will to learn. People who are not invested in what your company is doing or aren’t passionate about the roll you have placed them in WILL get bent of out shape about it. And we all know the costs of a bad hire. Avoid that mistake entirely by hiring people invested in your company’s purpose.


2. “There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”

I am going to respond to a quote with a quote, “When you hire people that are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are.” As the leader of the company or as hiring manager what is most important is your ability to identify talent and amplify your employee’s abilities. You can’t teach talent, but you can find talent. There are two kinds of leaders: the kind that have to be at the top of the totem pole and stifle those beneath them, and the kind that want to see the people around them flourish and empower them to do so. Spoiler alert: you want to be the latter.


1. “I always entertain great hopes.”

When I started at SmartRecruiters, I was an intern. I was supposed to be coming in part time, but I took the initiative to change my internship into 5 days week. When all was said and done, SmartRecruiters created a position for me as Community Manager, a brand new job in the company. I wanted more for myself, and SmartRecruiters did too. If the right person comes along you do not want to miss them. David Smooke says, “Always keep the funnel open, and create jobs for new great talent.” Avoid the frame of mind that says, ‘Well, we’ll never get bigger than 10 people,’ or ‘We’re not hiring right now.’ A new person can always help you grow and improve. Keep jobs open on your career page to ensure you won’t miss the people who are going to help you do this.

Robert Frost Quotes

As a business you rely on your people to keep the wheels turning and the business innovating. You cannot learn a lifetime’s wisdom overnight but Robert Frost’s words can take you in the right direction. Having big dreams for your company and your people is the first step, and execution is the second. Use these quotes and words of wisdom to make the most of your hiring.

Lexie Forman-Ortiz

Lexie Forman-Ortiz is the Community Manager at SmartRecruiters.