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HIRING BUBBLE: "I'd Really Like Someone Who Came From Salesforce"...

What's a Hiring Bubble?  A hiring bubble occurs when a factor in the recruiting process is valued beyond the return it can possibly yield.  Like a tech or stock market bubble, when you see a hiring bubble occurring, you know the results aren't going to be as positve as promised.

Case in point:  I tweeted out last week a nifty automated tool I found called the Job Change Notifier. Tech-Bubble-PopJust link your LinkedIn account, provide your email addresss, and the tool gives you an email every time that someone shows a new company in LinkedIn, which obviously means they have a new job.

I signed up a week ago.  Got my first notification today, here it is with the name withheld:

-----Original Message-----
From: Job Change Notifier [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Saturday, July 16, 2011 4:57 PM
To: Kris Dunn
Subject: 1 of your connections has changed jobs

<name withheld> has an updated position.

Previous job(s):
National Account Manager at eSuccessFactors

New job(s):
Worldwide Sales Rep at <company name withheld>

This reminded me of a type of common hiring bubble, namely the kind that overvalues experience with a specific company in a hiring process.  Last year, I was running a search for AEs in the Bay Area, and, of course, I heard, "we'd really like to steal a rep from Salesforce".

Of course you would. It's SALESFORCE.  If they're there, they have to be good.   SuccessFactors is another company that SaaS companies have targeted over the last couple of years for AE's, especially those in the Human Capital/HR Services space.

What makes REALLY wanting a rep from a certain company a hiring bubble?  You're valuing a brand over what the rep can do.  The mere fact that you're really hot for someone from Salesforce/SuccessFactors means you're going to overestimate what the average rep from either one of those companies can do for you.  There are some great people at both companies.  There are some weak ones.  Don't be like Biz Markie and sniff The Vapors....

My client in that search forwarded me a profile of a Salesforce candidate from LinkedIn.  "Have you talked to this guy?".  I looked at the candidate, which remember, was for a hunting sales pro.  43 contacts in LinkedIn.

43 Contacts.  For a hunting sales pro.  I could hear "I need some leads if I'm going to close business" in the background.  Your cost of customer acquisition just tripled by hiring that guy. 

aka: Hiring Bubble.

Buy Low, Sell High my friends.  Don't get suckered by a logo.


Tom Summit (@tsummit)

Interesting but I don't buy the logic.

Certain companies hire better people than other companies and it is pretty common knowledge which companies are great. It is only common sense to want to hire from them.

I don't see that as a bubble because that is a pretty basic and reliable way to target talent in any market.


My husband used to work in sales for a large company that was well-known for its intensive training programs. They didn't care about the track record, because the calls started a month after he got back from corporate. My impression was that ones doing the recruiting weren't going to invest much in training them to sell. They wanted the ready-made product, so to speak. Hence going after the brand, rather than the individual.

Terri M

I think there's another risk of hiring too many people from the same company... You risk losing diversity of thought. If a bulk of people you hire all come from xyz company, they all have very similar experiences to use to solve problems. In a small company or business group this can have a meaningful impact.

ΞMF @evenmorefrank

Agreed!!! High performers that work for great companies don't leave those companies as often as the weak performers do. That means your coveted prospect interviewing for that job opening is more than likely weaker than circus lemonade!!!


As many have already mentioned, a company name doesn’t give you much indication about a job candidate. The hype associated with the candidate’s previous places of employment could lead to great let down if you hire them and they don’t live up to the expectations you’ve set based on the company they came from. This is why it’s important to hire people based on their skills, experience and other factors that make them the best candidate for the job.


Awww man, so I don't get the Glengarry leads? F-this, I'm gonna go mine my old ACT database.


Even if a candidate comes from a high profile comapny like Salesforce, and may be very qualified and good at what they do, they shouldn't be stamped as an automatic hire. It is important to hire people who are not only qualified, but who fit in to the culture of your company.

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