Magazine article Marketing

Fall Guy Wanted to Save Moronic Chairman's Skin

Magazine article Marketing

Fall Guy Wanted to Save Moronic Chairman's Skin

Article excerpt

As a great many recent boardroom events have testified, not all top jobs turn out to be quite as desirable as they must have seemed at first sight.

I blame the executive search agencies. By following their traditional recruitment methods, they attract a great many candidates but all of the wrong kind. In my opinion, there's only one way to improve the failure rate of top job appointments - and that's to tell the truth about them.

As a guide and inspiration, the executive searchers should turn to one of the very earliest examples of successful recruitment advertising. Ninety-nine years ago, before setting off for the South Pole, Sir Ernest Shackleton placed this ad in the London papers:

MEN WANTED for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success - Ernest Shackleton.

Not only did Shackleton get the men he wanted but they were all made of the right stuff. When they started on the job, there were no nasty surprises.

But imagine how it might have been had Shackleton employed an agency:

TITLED ADVENTURER offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for would-be high-achievers. Challenge and comradeship await in exotic surroundings. Unusual remuneration package includes free transport and prospect of immortality.

This would, of course, have attracted even more applicants; but every one of them would have been profoundly unsuitable. Just a few hundred yards into the first blizzard and they'd have been dropping like flies. …

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