The Zombie Apocalypse Hiring & Employment Guide

How to Avoid Bad Hires & Zombie Disengaged Employees

How to Avoid Bad Hires & Zombie Disengaged Employees

Whether you call them zombies or the walking dead, these brain-eaters are truly terrifying. They’ve also really captured the imagination of the reading and viewing public. It seems like, everywhere you look, a zombie is shambling toward you across the pop culture divide.

Recently, the premiere of AMC’s zombie splatter-fest The Walking Dead broke records to become the most watched basic cable telecast in history. If you want to prepare yourself to survive a zombie apocalypse, the CDC has even put together a tongue-in-cheek guide to teach basic survival skills with a zombie flourish. This guide ended up becoming hugely popular, showing we love zombies almost as much as we fear them.

While we might love zombies on our small screens, we certainly don’t want to hire them. They are bad hires and disengaged employees.  These brain-sucking hires will end up stumbling around your office, lowering morale, and costing your company money. But unlike in the movies and on television, it’s a lot harder to tell a zombie candidate from a superstar hire.

Hiring can be a scary task, so here are some ways to avoid hiring the walking dead:

Hire & Interview For Passion (For The Industry, Not Brains)

You want someone passionate about the industry, not someone sleepwalking through their career. You don’t need a zombie employee shambling around the office with no goals or aspirations. Those employees are not only dangerous to productivity, but also they’re dangerous to office morale and your company culture. Engaged employees will look at zombie coworkers and wonder why they bother working so hard when others are getting by on the bare minimum.

Look for candidates who clearly show they’re passionate about the industry, not just looking for a paycheck the way zombies look for brains. A great candidate might run a blog with top quality thought leadership about industry trends and issues. They might volunteer on their off hours, using their job-related skill set to bring value to others. Great candidates want the job because they’re passionate about the industry, the company, and/or the position. The best talent doesn’t just want any job to pay the bills; instead, they love what they do — and it shows. 

Make Sure Your Candidate’s Personality Isn’t Undead

Zombies don’t have much of a personality. It’s mostly groaning, trying to eat people, and walking very slowly. An office zombie might not be trying to eat you, but they will be eating into your company’s productivity. You work hard to develop and implement an attractive company culture and a happy work environment. Office zombies are the kind of employees no one wants to work with, and they can really damage your company culture.

It’s extremely important to make sure every candidate who becomes a new hire fits into the company culture. Candidates who fit will be happy and thrive in the workplace. Candidates who don’t will just take their talents elsewhere, or stay in the job and become bitter. In the hiring process, look for candidates with personalities that mesh with your company’s unique culture. You might want to think about utilizing online video to get a feel for candidates earlier in the traditional hiring process. This way you can avoid hiring office drones and focus on the best fitting candidates. 

Test Your Job Seekers Brains with Skills Testing

Zombies don’t have brains, which is why they’re always on a quest for them. You need candidates who have the right skill sets for the job. Right now, the U.S. is dealing with a skill shortage, meaning despite the high unemployment rate employers are still finding it hard to hire candidates with the right skills for the job.

In the interview, whether in person or through online video, get specific with your questions. If a candidate should know a special program, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they’ve used it in the past. You might even consider implementing a skills test or asking for a sample of the candidate’s work. You need top quality performers who know how to hit the ground running, so don’t be afraid to make sure they have the right knowledge.

Just like the hero of a horror movie, your company needs to beware of zombies. But if you follow these simple tips, you should be able to outsmart the walking dead and hire a superstar instead! 

What are some ways you avoid hiring zombie employees? Share your tips in the comments!

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Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Francesca says

    Hello Josh! Thank you for the tips. The risk of hire a zombie is always high, and it’s something we liked to discover more about as well.
    Inspired by an infographic by Vitamin T, and by TEDtalks, we created a voicemap, trying to tell the story of the workplace not only regarding Zombies, but also Talents, Head Hunters and Recruiters…in a funny way. Indeed we started a battle: #killthezombie VS #killtheheadhunter . Here’s our voicemap:



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