Even Kanye Uses Staffing Firms!

Kanye West is starting up a clothing line and apparently needs some additional staff to get the line off the ground.  How do I know? The staffing firm he is using posted the openings on LinkedIn!  Yep, the kind of personal branding is using a firm to find his next CFO and VP of Production.  From Bloomberg:

“Two ads appeared on the site over a week ago by Decision Toolbox, a staffing firm in Irvine, Calif., that are looking for people to be chief financial officer and vice president for production at what is vaguely called the “Kanye West clothing project.” “[U]nlike those in which celebrities merely lend their name to a label, this venture will have the star power of Mr. West’s artistic vision at the heart and soul of it,” the ads say, although they neglect to mention that sometimes that vision is just a white T-shirt.

When asked if the posts were real, Decision Toolbox said that they were and that the person behind the new Kanye line was Richard Dent III, the former chief operating officer of Victoria Secret’s (LTD) PINK line who since 2012 has been the chief executive of custom menswear company Astor & Black. Dent did not reply to e-mails asking him to explain the new venture, so it’s unclear if Astor & Black is producing the line for Kanye or if the rapper is creating it himself and has just put Dent in charge.”

Here’s the thing – Decision Toolbox is your average, everyday staffing provider.  I’m sure they would say they’re special, but the reality is they do a little RPO, a little contingent and probably some contract work.  Besides Kanye’s VP and CFO positions, they are also looking for a Machinists and Automotive Service Manager.  Sound specialized to you!?

My first reaction — I’m a little surprised on how such a huge celebrity didn’t get roped into an expensive retained boutique firm!  My next reaction — I want to meet the person at DT who pulled in Kanye as a client!  There’s a story there, and I’m 100% sure it isn’t because they have the best customer service!

This does uncover a couple of issues, though, within the staffing industry:

1. If you can recruit, you can recruit.  Staffing providers sell the fact they specialize, but the reality is, you can either find talent or you can’t.  Given, you might get talent faster with someone who spends more time in a certain industry or classification of jobs, but good recruiters will get you people regardless.

2. Retained searching is the biggest waste of time and money ever created by the staffing industry, but it’s good work if you can get it!

3. If your ‘special’ staffing firm you just hired puts your CFO and VP positions on LinkedIn as their strategy to get you the top talent in any industry, you made the wrong choice of staffing companies!

4 thoughts on “Even Kanye Uses Staffing Firms!

  1. Kanye West is using Staffing firms because he is a busy artist that has no time to view one of his businesses. Cooperating with a staffing firm will help him to get the best workers for his clothing line business. This industry is quite competitive because a number of artists are already opening the same business previously.

  2. What’s wrong with using LinkedIn as 1 source to find a CFO & VP? Are great CFOs and VPs not on LinkedIn? They may be using alternative routes and that is just one of many avenues they are sourcing.

    • Greg,

      Here’s what I would say as a recruiting pro. You have this great opportunity to network with the best and brightest the world has to offer for this role. You have this window of opportunity to make people feel very special that you’ve reached out to them to work ‘exclusively’ with Kanye West. Once the posting goes up, you lose that ‘exclusivity’. It’s now open to anyone, your targets are no longer special. Most recruiting isn’t like this. You want multiple sources, post it everywhere, etc. Sometimes you get a very unique, rare opening, where you hold the cards. So, don’t give that away.


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