How to hire when your company isn’t cool

‘Hip’ companies are always going to have it easier when it comes to recruitment but the unpopular kids need employees too…

Is there really any point in HR taking hiring advice from the likes of Apple and Google? We can’t all be the popular kids in the playground and, unless your company oozes cool, you just won’t have the same pull factor.

So how do organizations with less social standing get top quality candidates on board? One HR expert says they need to adopt their own method of attracting applicants.

Stop chasing a specific demographic

If your company has an abundance of entry-level roles to fill it can be easy to focus on attracting younger applicants – but they’re not the only ones who want to get their foot on the ladder.

Suzanne Lucas, renowned ‘Evil HR Lady’, says employers should broaden their search and consider alternative applicants such as “Stay at home moms, or dads, who want to return to the workforce after being out for long periods of time, people who have been laid off and have been looking for work for a long time, and people who are looking to change careers.”

Don’t sweep problems under the rug during recruitment

If the poor reputation is an internal problem, don’t pretend everything is alright – says Lucas.

“If your Glassdoor reviews point out problems, you need to investigate and deal with them,” she says. “When you bring in candidates for an interview, assume that they have seen the reviews, and if you don't address the issues, you'll find it difficult to hire people.

Instead, she suggests bringing issues up at the offset and sharing exactly how you plan to resolve them.

Be honest

So your company isn’t the coolest – accept it and play to your strengths, says Lucas. If there are things that pull down your appeal, get them out in the open because there’s no point bringing someone on board under false pretences.


“If you're not willing to fix the problems in your office, consider upping everyone's salary,” says Lucas. “Some people are willing to work in miserable conditions in exchange for a really good salary.”

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