Want Affordable, Effective Workers Fast:  Hire “Brandless” Employees.

Companies and agencies are continuously trying to find the “holy grail” of talent:  New hires who can do the job well and come at an affordable salary. As an HR pro, I don’t know how many times I’ve been told by hiring managers to find the best talent for the cheapest price possible.  Unfortunately, there have been a few problems with this equation, namely:

  • Managers aren’t sure what “doing the job well” is.
  • Managers believe candidates are worth less than they are told.
  • Candidates believe they are worth more than they really are.
  • Candidates who do know what they are worth try to negotiate for much higher.
  • There are too many candidates to choose from, primarily due to electronic means of advertising jobs and applying for jobs.

The outcome can be a lengthy, expensive recruiting process due to too many interviews, too many decision makers, and salary ranges that are based on a negotiation game.

The Potential Solve:  Go “Brandless”

Companies may want to explore recruiting using the same concepts as Brandless.  Brandless is a new “online-only store of consumer basics where everything costs $3”.  Basics include all your basic grocery/sundries items from coffee to peanut butter to hand soap to slotted spoons.

Here are 5 foundations of the Brandless shopping model and how I believe it could be incorporated in a new recruiting model.

Brandless Foundation #1:  The store offers the basics everyone needs.  They only offer “generic” products that have all the pertinent ingredients to be effective. The only thing the products lack is popular “branding”.

  • Recruiting implication #1: Companies will consider candidates who need to possess just minimum requirements.  Bells and whistles aren’t necessary to be hired.

Brandless Foundation #2:  All Brandless products cost $3.00.  Customers know up front what they are going to have to pay.

  • Recruiting implication # 2:  All individual jobs will offer the same compensation.  The recruiting model would not set one salary for ALL company jobs, rather one salary for each individual job.  Everybody goes into the arrangement knowing the “costs”.

Brandless Foundation #3:  Brandless ships all products from the manufacturer directly to the consumer, thus reducing supply chain inefficiencies.  All “retail store” middle men such as Target, Walmart, etc., are taken out of the picture.  Also, since brands are “generic”, the Consumer Packaged Goods marketing-machine costs are eliminated. This reduces costs dramatically for Brandless and the customer.

  • Recruiting implication #3:  The HR department, alone, determines who will be hired and sends the chosen new employee directly to the manager for onboarding.  If a manager is worth his/her salt, they will be able to train anyone with the basic requirements.  Managers can spend more time on leading and less time on “recruiting”.

Brandless model #4:  Brandless creates a direct relationship with customers.

  • Recruiting implication #4:  The recruiting department creates direct relationships with candidates.  HR can focus their time on filling the pipeline with the right people, conducting stellar interviews, thus saving valuable time facilitating conversations, appointments, etc. with hiring managers.

Brandless model #5:  Brandless offers only one or two choices of specific products to customers. Since most products in traditional stores are only differentiated by their “marketing”, offering one non-branded option satisfies customers’ needs.  It enables customers to make fast decisions, while also eliminating confusion and lowering costs.

  • Recruiting implication #5:  Since HR is now both the recruiter and hiring decision maker, the manager only receives one choice.  This lowers vacancy costs, lowers interview costs and allows the manager to get on with the business of leading.

Yes, it is quite a departure to eliminate managers from the decision-making process, and hiring based on minimum requirements would take getting used to. But if the net result of this model is placing qualified candidates in roles faster who still achieve business results, it is definitely one to explore seriously.

This post is sponsored by the recruiting pros at Jobvite, who, each month, let FOT write about a topic that will help recruiters raise their games via continuing education. Be on the lookout later this month for the FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—also brought to you by Jobvite.com.

FOT Background Check

Dawn Burke
Dawn Burke (PHR) is VP of People at DAXKO. That's right - the very DAXKO that our very own KD is an alum of because there are only so many people (okay, just one) in the big B'ham who are worthy of that VP of People title. Dawn would be it. Former actor/singer/retail guru, her HR career has spanned the last decade. A true Generalist she’s done a little bit of everything, but recruiting and training is where she gets her mojo. She's based in the good 'ole blogging capitol of the south, Birmingham, Alabama, where you can frequently find her listening to the Beatles and REM, watching tons of Sex in the City reruns, drinking copious amounts of coffee and wine, and wondering how in the world this theatre grad ever got into football or HR…. Talk to Dawn via emailLinkedIn, or Twitter...


  1. Lisa Cardona says:

    You have just described recruiting and hiring process for small employers. This is the reality of our world, minus the cadre of recruiters.

    • Dawn Burke says:

      @lisa — I’ve been there, sorda. I’ve worked for smaller shops but stillI have never worked for an HR shop that actually made the decision for the manager. Would love to hear more from you on how that works.

      Let’s connect on linked —

  2. The HR department decide the hiring of new employees and now a days more and more employers are leveraging webcam and video interviews to streamline the hiring process.

    • Dawn Burke says:

      @shivani Shrivastav — I love Video Interviewing. So, So much —
      I do think this is flipping the script and allowing more autonomy in decision making.


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