Hiring People Is Like Buying a Car: Do You Go With Flashy or Reliable?

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Oct 30, 2014

I’m going to put this into a car analogy.

Reliable is a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry. Flashy is a Chevy Camaro or a Dodge Charger.

You really can’t be both. In the auto world, the closest thing to being both is a Tesla, and most people can’t afford one of those!

Hiring people like you buy cars

You either lean one way or the other.

  • If you want flashy, you are comfortable with the fact you might not get to work every day, because those cars tend to break down more often.
  • If you want reliability, you probably aren’t turning any heads, but when you turn your key, that engine is starting every time.

I find most people select people like they select cars.

You are biased one way or the other, and find most people biased towards “flash.” They like the good-looking people and the smooth talkers — and damn the results.

That person made me turn my head! They must be good.”

Looking good, or being good?

And therein lies one of the major problem we have. Looking good has absolutely nothing to do with being good.

People look at that new Audi A8 and believe because it looks awesome, it must be awesome. Do a little research and it becomes a bust of a buy, because it constantly breaks down and has problems. Then they look at a Subaru Forester and think “boring!” — until they realize that thing will still be running well long after you retire.

So, what I’m saying is that people are basically cars, minus the extended warranty!

I tend to lean towards reliable. It’s not that I don’t like pretty people who speak well. I really do. But I really love people who come to work every day and bust ass.

You can be both. Yes, you can be a Tesla, but let’s face it, most of us can’t afford that kind of talent! So, we make offers to Camrys, but no one pins up photos of Camrys in their bedrooms as a kid.

What kind of buyer are you, anyway?

It’s just so easy to get sucked into flashy. They’re all bright, shiny, and smell good, and you feel better about them representing your brand — until they completely screw something up. Then you’re out there trying to explain why you hired them to begin with, knowing you can’t tell the truth. “Well, have you looked at him!? He’s gorgeous! How could we not hire him?

So, the question to you HR and Talent Pros, is this: Are you a Toyota Camry buyer or a Chrysler 200/Dodge Avenger buyer? Same exact price point, one is a considerably better buy than the other.

This was originally published on The Tim Sackett Project.