Ep 203 – Why You Should Recruit Average Employees

In our current talent marketplace, we face lengthy recruiting cycles, a challenging candidate-driven market, and a hunt for top talent that can take up a lot of time (and destroy our time-to-fill metric).

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Episode 203: Why You Should Recruit Average Employees with Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady)

We’re all looking for the best of the best, but what if we weren’t? In a recent DisruptHR talk, Suzanne Lucas – AKA the Evil HR Lady and a legend in the HR blogging world – talked about recruiting satisfactory employees for okay companies. See her full talk embedded below, but today we’re going to talk to Suzanne about why this makes sense. I asked Suzanne why average employees when every HBR and Forbes articles suggests we should hire the best for our workplace. She says that most companies are average and should be hiring the same type of workers to fit their organizations. The Silicon Valley rockstar culture represents less than 1% of organizations today.

Why Hiring Ninjas, Rockstars and, Gurus is a Bad Idea 

Suzanne shares why hiring ninjas, rockstars, and gurus is a bad idea. She says that these types of people are traditionally rewarded and sought after because of their deceit, violence, and questionable ethics. These are not characteristics she says that you want from employees at your especially since most of our companies are not rockstars themselves.

She also shares that when we hire these experts we are expecting perfection and maybe that’s not in alignment with our organization either. Perfection she says doesn’t exist not to mention that the expectation of being perfect is a lot of pressure on an individual not to mention an entire organization.

Expectations between employees and companies are a huge problem. It’s one of the reasons we see turnover so hire for new hires. The ability to acclimate the the culture or perform in a short period is a lot to ask when often as companies we invest so little in on boarding, mentorship and training.

Why You Should Recruiting From Marginalized & Under Represented Groups

The key to finding great talent is to look in places where the competition does not. Sometimes that means training and developing people and sometimes that also means look at talent pools and communities that are underrepresented in organizations. Suzanne says this includes people with criminal histories, disabilities, and women. I talked with her about a recent interview with Shelly Winner who is an advocate for employing those with criminal convictions. I’ll link to the podcast episode in the resources section of this interview.

We're whining about a talent shortage when there's plenty of people out there, even with the incredibly low unemployment rate. There are people out there to do the jobs. - @realevilhrlady #podcast #hr #talent Click To Tweet

In talking about employing more women in your organization, Suzanne shares that these women are generally highly educated, skilled, professional who choose to be stay at home moms because they have a partner with a good professional job. She says that many women like this would love to work part time but that organizations don’t offer part time positions or job sharing programs.


In our recruitment marketing we’re all focused on how to find top talent, the hidden rockstars, the super innovators. But, as Suzanne said, we’re not all “rockstar” companies (we’re trying to get there). Understanding that we need to recruit average, competent employees for most of our positions could be the key to managing our KPIs – and saving on our bottom line. Sure, we can hold out for the heroes for c-level and consultant roles, but if we try to fill our pool with nothing but, we’ll end up with an office full of alpha personalities.

Connect with Suzanne Lucas.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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