When I was a kid I wanted to be on Broadway.  I wanted to sing and dance and be on stage with a big ass spotlight on my face.  My favorite movies growing up (and even now) included The Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors (1986 not 1960) and Grease.  I would play on the swingset in the backyard and belt out every song I could to anyone who would listen – which most of the time was my sister who was a toddler.  To this day my mom STILL tells stories about my singing WAY too loud;  apparently I was outside doing my best rendition of Summer Dreams from Grease and she yelled out a window, “ALEXIS! YOU ARE SINGING WAY TOO LOUD!” to which I replied, “BUT IF I DON’T SING LOUD ENOUGH THEN THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD CAN’T HEAR ME!”  

I remember once a neighbor asked what she did to deserve such a performance for free.  What a feeling – I was famous.  It didn’t dawn on me until years later that I was singing about making out under a dock and that the unedited version of Grease had Danny Zuko saying the word “tit”. (Oh and realizing what making out was.)  Today, If I were to hear a five year old singing, “we made out under the dock”, I would probably laugh hysterically. No wonder my neighbors (and parents) tolerated me at the time.  I can also see how this might be irritating to some people, if not most.

But today, I’m not on Broadway. In fact, I don’t get why people want to be famous?  Why do some famous people seem skilled and others…not?  I wonder this about people in HR as well.  I’ve found that a lot of recruiters and HR professionals have a shtick.  Ever see a purple squirrel?  Sigh.

Let’s take Kim Kardashian.  Wonderful example.  Where did her fame come from? Porn. Then one day she was just…THERE.  But if you follow anything celebrity gossip (guilty) you might recall that a few months back – homegirl got robbed in Paris.  All of a sudden her social media came to a halt. And yes somehow her STOPPING social media was still news…on social media. The thing that had made her famous also got her ass in some trouble. Being married to a crazy person probably didn’t help things either – sorry not sorry, Kanye. 

So is being famous great?  Would I love it?  Would you?  If you already ARE famous can we chat so I can ask some other questions?  And if you already ARE famous how do you know – who told you?  

Big House, Five Cars: Why Aspire to HR Infamy?

So what makes people want to be HR famous? Risk or reward?  Why do people care SO MUCH about notoriety but not whether they are skilled enough?  Recruiters and the like spend 99% of their time narrowing down candidates – deciding who is the best fit – this isn’t news though.  But how do we know who is the best fit to FIND the candidates?  How do we know who the BEST recruiters are?  Do we rely on their online presence?  Social media “fame”?  Why are some recruiters regarded as celebrities while most are just…there?

I wonder how many of those that we regard as HR famous even have any certifications?  And those that do, I wonder if they’ve expired at this point.  Are the famous recruiters of the world doing any recruiting?  They have to post on social and comment on what they think other recruiters suck at – but what the hell are THEY doing?

For those that seek to be HR famous – I still really just want to know WHY.  What will you do with the fame?  Is your job as a recruiter not to help people?  To go out and use your skills to find others with the skills needed to fill a req?  Are you hoping that maybe you’ll find that ONE candidate that will take you with them on their path to…whatever?  Surely it can’t be money.  You’re in this to help people, right?  I would think you’d be spending more time learning how to better yourself and about your industry then if you’ve gotten a ton of likes on Twitter.  I would think…

I’ve thought about it and I don’t have a shtick.  My shtick is just being myself, I guess – but I’m not a recruiter. It’s your world – I just work in it.  From what I’ve experienced in the recruiting realm, credibility goes a LONG way – but there’s a handful of you out there that I just can’t wrap my head around.  I have read articles, attended webinars, read online comments and did MY best to see THE best in every individual I’ve had the “pleasure” of “studying”.  Here’s what I think.  Those in our industry that are HR Famous have one or a combo of the following:

  • Credibility – they’ve proven beyond a doubt, time and time again, that they know their shit and have the facts to back it up.  Whether or not they have a shtick – they’re good at what they do and it’s proven.
  • Infamy – yes – infamy.  This person is a dickhead and somehow, we are attracted to anything that opposes what we’ve been taught to be “right”.  Think about how many celebrities out there that you assume or maybe even know as a dickhead. Still famous though, right?
  • Influence – at some point in time there was something significant that this person contributed to in some way, shape or form – and we associate whatever it was, to this person.   Think Facebook and Zuckerburg. (Yes he has credibility but for this example, go with it.)

With those three powers combined, YOU are Captain Planet..oops, I mean YOU are HR Famous.  Sure these are my opinions.  I’m still figuring out the recruiting world and being famous in it is no different than being a moviestar.  Famous people are famous.  I don’t want to be HR famous. I’d still take on Broadway – but only if I get to say “tit”.


Alexis works in the Marketing department at RecruitingDaily.  She keeps people on their toes and solves problems creatively.  Connect with her on Twitter.

By Alexis Gingerella

Alexis is a contributing writer to RecruitingDaily and got her start in the industry with RD. She provides virtual assistant work and administrative support for many of the teams projects.