Recruiting 101: Exploring Career Choices Through Ikigai

Oct 5 / Thomas Bartelsen
There is nothing worse than sitting in an office and hating what you do or asking yourself why you are doing this. It doesn't feel right.

Personal story:


To keep track of my life goals, I utilize a journal. When searching for guidance, I stumbled upon Blinkist, which provides audio summaries of books. This is where I discovered the Ikigai method, a Japanese concept that integrates passions, skills, purpose, and values to achieve a fulfilling and meaningful life. Ken Mogi's book on Ikigai had a profound impact on me. Ken Mogi (2018). The Little Book of Ikigai: The Essential Japanese Way to Finding Your Purpose in Life.

This book, authored by Japanese neuroscientist Ken Mogi, delves into the concept of Ikigai and its origins in Japanese culture. Using real-life examples and practical exercises, Mogi guides readers in discovering their own Ikigai by exploring their passions, values, strengths, and aspirations. The book also provides a visual representation of the Ikigai framework, which consists of four overlapping circles, and explains how to use it to achieve a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Now that you have invested time in determining what you want let's work together to build your Ikigai.

I have a personal story to share: Early on in my career, during an internship that I disliked, I was asked a question and quite frankly the tone was condescending:

"Why do you want to work in HR or recruiting?  followed by an immediate question (without giving me the option to answer) Don't you want to do one of the 'cooler' jobs?"

I responded that being a gatekeeper and participating in the decision-making process for the best job candidates was the coolest thing.

Without realizing it, I had identified my professional purpose by giving a straight answer without thinking. I knew I wanted to do HR and recruiting, but never really why.

Introduction to Ikigai 

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to "a reason for being." It's the intersection of four pillars: what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. By exploring these four pillars, you can better understand your career path and find a fulfilling and successful career. Understanding your ikigai can help you make better career choices, as you'll have a clear sense of what you want to do and what you're passionate about. Exploring career choices through ikigai can also provide numerous benefits, such as increased motivation, a sense of purpose, and a better work-life balance. By finding your perfect career match using the four pillars of ikigai, you can create a career that aligns with your values and passions. Tips for making the most of an ikigai journey include reflecting on your values, desires, and skills and seeking opportunities that align with your ikigai. By harnessing the power of ikigai, you can create a fulfilling and successful career path that brings you joy and purpose.

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Understanding Your Career Path Through Ikigai 

Understanding Your Career Path Through Ikigai is a powerful tool to help you find your true calling. By exploring the four pillars of Ikigai - what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for - you can find the perfect career match that aligns with your passions, skills, and values. This approach can help you create a fulfilling and successful career path that brings you joy, purpose, and a sense of fulfillment. By taking the time to understand your Ikigai, you can make informed decisions about your career choices and avoid the frustration and burnout that comes with a job that doesn't align with your values and goals. With the help of Ikigai, you can find your true calling and create a career that pays the bills and brings you happiness and a sense of purpose. So, if you're looking to explore your career options and find your Ikigai, start by asking yourself what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. With a bit of self-reflection and exploration, you can harness the power of Ikigai to create a fulfilling and successful career path.

Benefits of Exploring Career Choices with Ikigai 

Exploring career choices with Ikigai can be a life-changing experience. Not only does it help you understand your career path, but it also provides numerous benefits. One of the most significant benefits is the clarity it brings to your career goals. By understanding what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, you can create a career that aligns with your passions and values. This alignment can increase job satisfaction, motivation, and a sense of purpose in your work. Furthermore, exploring career choices with Ikigai can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus on and develop your weaknesses. It can also provide a sense of direction and focus, helping you make better career decisions. With Ikigai, you can find a career that pays the bills and brings you joy and fulfillment. So, if you're looking to create a fulfilling and successful career path, harness the power of Ikigai and start exploring your career choices today.

How to Find Your Perfect Career Match Using the Four Pillars of Ikigai 

One of the most significant benefits of exploring career choices through Ikigai is the ability to find your perfect career match. This process involves understanding the four pillars of Ikigai: passion, mission, vocation, and profession. By identifying what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, you can find the intersection of these four pillars: your Ikigai. This sweet spot represents the ultimate career match that will bring you joy, fulfillment, and success. To find your Ikigai, you must reflect on your values, interests, skills, and goals and explore different career options that align with them. You may also need to experiment with other jobs, industries, and roles to find your Ikigai, but this journey will be worth it. When you find your perfect career match, you will feel a sense of purpose, meaning, and contribution that will enhance your overall well-being and happiness.

In my case it was this

What (professional) activities do you enjoy doing the most?

I would pursue a career in Talent Acquisition and career coaching that helps other achieve their dreams. + I´m the gatekeeper and take part in the decision of who get´s the best job. That´s coolest to me. Personal: crossfit, outdorsy stuff like hiking or jumping from some place 

Why do you do something or for what?

In short help people to discover their ideal career in Germany.

Give (international) job seekers access to german job market and help our industry flourish with talented and gifted individuals that immigrate into Germany as my grandfather did in the 70s + help companies identify, find, attract, select and ultimately WIN THEIR best matches according to THEIR culture.  

What are you skilled at or what do you have expertise in?


Recruitment, Analytics, Employer Branding, TA Technologies, Interview techniques, Conversion Rate Optimization, Career Website Design

What career or job would you pursue if money was not a concern?

the same 

Tips for Making the Most Out of an Ikigai Journey 

Embarking on an Ikigai journey can be a life-changing experience, especially when finding your ideal career path. However, it's essential to remember that this process takes time and effort. Staying open-minded and curious is necessary to make the most of your Ikigai journey. Feel free to explore different options and try new things. Remember that your Ikigai is not set in stone and can evolve as you gain new experiences and insights. Another tip is to seek guidance from mentors or professionals who can help you navigate your career choices. They can provide valuable advice and support as you explore your options. Finally, remember to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Recognizing your achievements can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. By following these tips, you can harness the power of Ikigai to create a fulfilling and successful career path.

Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of Ikigai to Create a Fulfilling and Successful Career Path

In conclusion, harnessing the power of Ikigai can help individuals create a fulfilling and successful career path. By understanding the four pillars of Ikigai and exploring career choices through this framework, individuals can align their passions, talents, and purpose with their work. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher levels of engagement, and a sense of purpose in one's career. It is important to remember that finding the perfect career match using Ikigai may take time and require patience, but the journey can be rewarding. By staying open to new opportunities and being willing to take risks, individuals can make the most out of their Ikigai journey and create a career path that is both fulfilling and successful. So, if you feel stuck in your current career or need help with your next steps, consider exploring your Ikigai and see where it takes you. 

Reflect on Your Passions, Values, and Skills:
Take time to introspect and understand what truly ignites your passions, what values are most important to you, and where your skills lie. Reflect on what activities bring you the most joy and fulfillment, what causes or principles resonate with you deeply, and what you excel at naturally. Identifying these elements is crucial in the pursuit of your Ikigai.
Seek Guidance from Mentors or Professionals:
Contact mentors or professionals who have walked similar paths or achieved what you aspire to. Their guidance and insights can be invaluable in shaping your journey toward finding your Ikigai. They can offer advice, share their experiences, and provide valuable perspectives to help you navigate your career choices and personal growth.
Stay Open-Minded and Willing to Try New Things:
Embrace the spirit of curiosity and adventure. Be open to exploring different paths, taking on new challenges, and trying out experiences you haven't considered before. Often, your Ikigai may evolve as you gain fresh perspectives and insights through new experiences. Staying open-minded allows you to adapt and grow along your journey.

Celebrate Your Successes:
Acknowledge and celebrate even the most minor achievements along the way. Recognizing your progress and accomplishments can boost your motivation and confidence. Each step forward brings you closer to aligning with your Ikigai, and celebrating these milestones keeps you on a positive and fulfilling path.
Remember That Your Ikigai Can Evolve:
Understand that your Ikigai is flexible but can evolve as you grow and gain new experiences. It's a dynamic concept that can adapt to different phases of your life. Embrace change and embrace the idea that your purpose and passions may shift over time. Continuously reassess and refine your understanding of Ikigai to ensure it remains aligned with your evolving self.
By following these principles, you can embark on a meaningful journey to discover and nurture your Ikigai, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
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