The Anchorman Guide to Building a Recruitment System

To Our Readers: This week, TLNT is continuing our annual tradition by counting down the 35 most popular posts of this past year. This is No. 18. Our regular content will return Wednesday January 2, 2013.

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Ron Burgundy and his merry band of reporters may have their share of dysfunctions – especially Brick – but together they make a pretty good team.

It might sound a little crazy (especially if you’ve seen the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), but the talent on TV Channel 4 Evening News isn’t too much different than the talent in a high-performing office. Every individual employee adds a valuable ingredient to the mix.

Keeping that in mind, it can actually be helpful to apply the hiring principles found in the movie Anchorman to your own recruitment system. Here’s how:

Find employees who will bond with each other

The members of the Channel 4 Evening News Team in Anchorman are more than just co-workers – they’re friends. They drink together, sing together and get into back-alley gang fights together. Your recruitment system should be designed to foster this kind of camaraderie in your own company. Maybe without the back-alley brawls.

A good way to do this is by taking the time to create great job descriptions. Here’s a bad one: “Process manager needed.” That’s like using that leftover beef jerky in your pocket for fish bait. Something may bite, but what is it?

Instead, tie your own precision fly: “We’re looking for an awesome process manager with a great sense of humor who loves video games.” Job descriptions like that will attract candidates that really gel with the company culture in terms of personality and values.

When everyone in a department shares the same attitude, it’s easier for them to come together as a team.

Look for complementary strengths

Every all-star anchor on the Channel 4 Evening News brings something different to the table, and the archetypes they represent can give you a good template to use during your own employee selection process.

Take Brian Fantana, for instance. He’s the stylish geek who knows all the latest industry trends. Every time a new practice or innovation begins to take off, Brian will be the first to know about it. His eagerness to adapt and evolve will help keep your company ahead of the curve.

Next, you’ve got Champ Kind. Champ offers comic relief – he keeps things from getting too serious. In a way, that’s a form of office therapy. Champ might not be the most talented member of the team, but he’s fiercely loyal and more than capable of holding his own.

After Champ comes Brick Tamland. Brick is the most dependable guy in the entire office. He might not have the best social skills – and he’s not a great outside-the-box thinker – but he’ll accomplish his objective, no matter what. In a results-driven industry, that kind of dedication is priceless.

And the last piece of the team to consider during your Anchorman hiring process? You need a Ron Burgundy. Ron is a born leader. He’s your all-star, your stud horse. He has what it takes to take the reins and lead your team through the daily grind, and that leaves you free to do more important things – things like bringing in new clients and expanding the company.

To put it simply, while every new employee that comes out of your hiring process should be a rock star, you should really be trying to build a rock band. Yes, your employees should each be awesome in their own way, but they should also have complementary strengths. That’s how you make your team better as a whole.

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Be awesomely exclusive

In the movie Anchorman, Channel 4 is the most popular local news station in San Diego. It only hires the best of the best. Everyone aspires to work there, but only a select few are ever chosen. The rest have to settle with Wes Mantooth and Channel 9.

Be the Channel 4 of your industry. Do awesome things, like installing massaging lounge chairs in your office. Post pictures of them on Twitter and Facebook so that the world knows exactly how cool you are. Then, when everyone is clamoring for a position at your company, sit back and pick only the shiniest gems.

A little exclusivity can go a long way towards attracting quality applicants.

Don’t get nit-picky about arbitrary details

In Anchorman, do you think anyone at Channel 4 bothered to ask Brick Tamland if he had a college degree before they gave him a job? The answer, of course, is no. Channel 4 hired him because they were looking for a person who was polite, who was rarely late, and who wore nice slacks. Brick fit the bill perfectly.

There’s a lesson to be learned from this. If you have a gut feeling that an experienced candidate would perfect for the job, then hire that person. Don’t pass on a manager who has 20 years of experience just because she doesn’t have a college degree, and don’t dismiss a programmer just because he got fired from McDonald’s at age 16.

Your employee selection process should focus on the attributes that matter most to your company – attitude and aptitude. As long as a candidate possesses both, there’s no reason not to make the offer.

It’s all about teamwork

Setting up an Anchorman-style recruiting system is all about building a team. It’s about creating a whole that’s more than the sum of its parts. Had they not found each other, Ron, Brick, Brian and Champ would have ended up as mediocre public access news anchors, but put them together and they’re the best Evening News team in all of San Diego.

With the right hiring process, your team of employees can be just as successful. Look for candidates who don’t just possess the right skills, but the right attitude. Appeal to all-stars with creative job descriptions and tweets about your accomplishments. Hire the candidates who will work best with a team, and give them challenges to strengthen their bonds. If you can do this, then the world is your oyster.

Good luck and stay classy out there.

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