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Attracting new employees while in the midst of controversy

Openings for positions in companies that are involved in controversy can result in a great career boost

Having a high-profile business can be a blessing when advertising for new positions; however, when your company has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, how do you convince interviewees that they should work for you?

Theranos, a health-tech startup in the US, is under criminal investigation and could face having its laboratory’s licence revoked and its CEO barred from working in the industry for two years; however, it is still advertising jobs in all areas of its organisation. Gawker Media, an online publisher, was ordered to pay $140m (£97m) as the result of a privacy lawsuit brought against it for posting Hulk Hogan’s sex tape online, but is also still hiring. How are these companies attracting new employees?

Honesty is the best policy

Dave Carvajal, CEO and founder of recruitment firm Dave Partners, believes that difficult times can be turned into an opportunity for career advancement. Theranos and Gawker make no mention of their problems on their websites; instead, Gawker is clear on its career pages about employee benefits and perks, while Theranos talks about the chance to do something worthwhile that will ‘change the world’.

As Carvajal sees it, the perfect scenario is when a company turns itself around against the odds – to be among the employees who make this happen is an exciting prospect. His recommendation is for companies to be honest with recruits about current difficulties and perception in the media and to unite everyone to address these problems.

Opportunity to succeed

Companies are known to put too much emphasis on selling their brand rather than selling a career, according to Rick Devine, CEO of professional skills network TalentSky. When recruiting, and especially when a company is facing difficult times, it is crucial to appeal to what the candidate wants. This is most likely to be career development; therefore, improving their skills and experience through the role that is being advertised is always a valuable selling point to a potential new hire.

CEO of recruiting firm LaSalle Network, Tom Gimbel, agrees that joining a firm during troubled times could prove to be a great career move. A candidate who is hungry for this kind of challenge could be a great asset to the company, with strong self-perspective and a little more ego qualities that recruiters should be looking out for. CVs should be less about administration and coordination and more about action-orientated roles.

Openings for positions in companies that are involved in controversy can result in a great career boost. Secure the right candidate for the role and both employee and employer could prosper.

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