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One of my pet peeves is category experience. In the marketing and advertising businesses, it’s everything. Recently, I lost a consulting opportunity because of not having enough financial experience. It was true. Hiring lore suggests: When you come to a position with your head filled with numbers, trends and category milestones, you are a quick study. This approach creates comfortable hiring. (An aside: Do you know how many people take credit for MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign?)

Personally, I am most energized when in a new category — being scared, facing a blank piece of paper. Tabula rasa. No preconceptions. Childlike discovery moments all around. Surrounded by fresh language, sights and sounds.  Like being in a new country.

One of today’s marketing heavyweights, Joe Tripodi, is a category surfer. That’s why he is so strong.  His career trail meanders: IBM, MasterCard, Mobil Oil, Bank of NY, Seagrams Wine and Spirits, All-State, and currently the CMO of Coca-Cola. Whoever hired Mr. Tipodi recognized that his light shines in the area of marketing not technology or banking.

Good brand and account planners achieve because they see things through fresh eyes. Great hiring agents approach hiring similarly.  Be great when hiring. Peace.  


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Though I suck at picking sports (every year I think the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl), I do have a knack for seeing the marketing future. Here’s a forward-looking view of hiring as we crawl out of the recession. When we emerge, which I believe will happen by the time the leaves grow back, there will be a pretty amazing sucking sound of employees being yanked back into the workforce. It won’t all be pretty, though.

You see, those currently with jobs have been working without raises for a couple of years. Many have seen their hours and wages cut. Bonus, what are they? A good deal of these workers – especially the younger ones – are pretty angry and disloyal. The anger has been exacerbated by the fact that they’ve been looking over their shoulders for months, living the nervous life. These employees are looking for someone to say “I love you” and they’re ready to move.

Those who have been out of work on the other hand, have been networking and reading and studying their asses. They are likely to be among the first to get called back when jobs open up. And if they start schlepping their boxes into offices before current employee salaries get back to par, the workplace will get testy. There will be even more churn.

Human resources people need to be getting ahead of the curve. They need to communicate with current employees about turnaround plans and efforts to correct salaries. Plus they need to be meeting and cherry-picking the best of the best who are currently on the beach before that big sucking sound begins. Peace!

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