You’re not Mitt Romney…You Don’t Need to Sell Yourself By Bashing Your Competitors

Jason Pankow Always Be Closing, Communication, Employment Branding and Culture, Jason Pankow, Making Offers, Recruiting

Ah…the joys of election season. I love watching candidates try to convince us that the reason we should vote for them is because the other guy sucks.

Mitt Romney thinks you should vote against Jon Huntsman because he worked for the other guy.

Hunstman can’t take that sitting down so he will tell you about how you should vote against Romney because he likes to fire people.

Perry thinks it’s bad to vote for Ron Paul because Paul dissed Reagan.

And, Newt is making sure everyone knows that Mitt is not the world’s greatest dog owner.

Every time I see these ads or listen to debates focused less on “Here’s why I am awesome” and more on “Here’s why this guy sucks,” I get ticked and feel sad for my country.

But, recently, I have been noticing this same practice coming from elsewhere in my life.  Apparently, according to external candidates, many of my peers in the industry are looking to our presidential candidates for advice on how to win hearts and minds.  Apparently, the best way is no longer to talk about career growth, work-life balance or opportunities to work on new and innovative technologies.  Apparently, the best tactic to keep someone from talking to me is by telling them why Microsoft is a horrible place to work.  I think this is an interesting tactic, both in politics and recruiting.  Of course it’s important to know our competitors flaws.  But, I think the knowledge should be used wisely.  Who do you trust more?  The candidate who talks up his accomplishments and highlights his plans for moving forward?  Or the person who distracts you with negative info about everyone else.

Personally…I’d prefer to take the high road!  I think our and our corporate recruiters should take a look at the candidates for President of the Alabama Public Service Commission.  We’ll start with Chip Brown.  He gives us the goods on what exactly the people of Alabama will get from him.  A family man, a solid conservative, and a guy who likes soft, Charlie Brown style piano music in the background.  He doesn’t waste his time telling us about how his opponent, Kathy Peterson, has an annoyingly pronounced accent, has baby pictures that look like they were pulled from the new Daniel Radcliff movie (minus the creepy eyes and weird demon thingy), and has a husband who is genuinely frightening.  And, the fact that he focuses on himself and what he offers, this is why I like him.  Of course, I do not live in Alabama and I know nothing else about either of these candidates.  But, if you look at both of their ads, they focus on themselves.

That’s how I like to work…except my ads soundtrack would be funkier.  Immediately, during the very first call or e-mail, I am talking about why my company is awesome!  You want to work here because A, B, C, and D.  I can offer you this, that, and another.  I know you’re talking to others, but you won’t find 1, 2, or 3 at another company.  Recruiters…if you have to rely so much on bashing your competition, that can be telling a lot all by itself.

Oh…and for the record, in my head, whenever I say Alabama, it’s in the voice of Forest Gump.