Stop Hiring Generics

I know, I know, you only hire ‘top talent’.  The problem is you don’t have a top talent brand. You have a generic brand.  So, while you keep telling yourself you hire top talent, you don’t. You hire generics.

That’s okay, generics are just like top brands, right?  I’ve tried generic drugs and name brand drugs and I have to be honest, I didn’t see (err, feel) a difference.  So, based on my formal study of generics, you have nothing to worry about! Yay!

Generics suck. You know it, and I know it.

You are hiring generics.  Most organizations are hiring generics.

Here’s how you can tell.  Ask yourself why you hired one of your recent hires.  If it was because they had the skill to do the job, and a really nice personality, didn’t smell funny, you hired a generic.  If you hired them because they can do the job and  you can specifically say why they fit your culture, you hired a brand name!

Therein lies the problem, you have a generic employment brand.  It doesn’t have to be generic. You made it generic because it sounded safe and professional. Because it sounded like every other boring brand you have heard or seen. “Tim, you don’t get it, we aren’t Google or Tom’s”.  Thank G*d. No one really likes those crappy shoes and Google probably hires worse than you.

The question is, who are you? Really?

At my company, we’re grinders. We’re a little more blue collar, than white collar. We might swear in a meeting and no one will notice. We like kids and dogs and both are welcome to come visit the office, and no one will ever feel odd about that.  We like making money, and we love watching each other succeed.  We don’t get sick on Mondays or Fridays.  We like to try stuff. We probably hold on to bad clients longer than we should, but that’s because we get involved and relationships are hard to end.  Most of us like Michigan State, the ones that don’t get brutally harassed as much as possible.  We like to give everyone nicknames.

That’s not generic. That’s specific.  We don’t hire generic. We hire folks who fit our brand. The ones that get hired that don’t fit, get weeded out pretty quick.  Generics don’t fit well in with Brands.  There’s always something that just isn’t right. Strong brands build strong cultures. Generic brands build cultures where people don’t feel any connection.

Stop hiring generics.

3 thoughts on “Stop Hiring Generics

  1. I once worked at a movie studio in a department I expected to have specifically talented people. It was full of folks below that generic line. The manager didn’t even know what we did or how we did it. (She could be lied to but didn’t know enough to know she was hearing a lie.) I was/am a change agent which made people hate me plus I was told by the manager the staff didn’t have the ability or capacity to learn anything new even if it improved any aspect of our tasks, goals, or standards. So most of my improvement ideas were turned down, not even allowed a trial & error attempt. And the few that got approved just made at least any two co-workers mad at me or a while. One didn’t speak to me for 6 months for one particular idea even though she later realized (but wouldn’t admit) my idea was useful (because it made things easier for everyone, making us efficient & effective).

  2. you hire for whatever yoru company is – technology, culture, size and such. yes a lot of recruiters use that stupid phase but the truth is you need to hire for whatever is the specs on the company, and yes, generic may well be that. so look for the compelling area in which to sell to the candidate.

  3. Tim – Your last two paragraphs are right on; at least with how my company operates. People need to share the vision and mindset of the company and that should be explored before ever considering that person as a hire. I only disagree on the MSU comment; although they are in the Sweet 16 now and my team isn’t.

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