Steve Explains: The Un-Crush Objects and His Broken Heart

Last week I talked about what makes a Fan-To-Pro Crush Object and/or a Resume Worthy company, at least for myself.  In figured this week I'd take the time to explain what gives he the hiring heebie-jeebies when I see a company in the news.

So in no real order, here are the red lights that set off my warning bells . . . and push me into mixed metaphors.  Not all of these immediately make me say "hey, no one should work there," but as they build up . . .

  • Job cuts.  Look, not all job cuts are bad, but still when you need less people, then certainly I'm not sure that you're resume-worthy for the readership.  Also I find they're often made in desperation.
  • No direction.  Who are you and what are you doing, company?  If I can't make it out and all I see is meandering, then I'm going to be concerned you're not a target for the readership's career choices.  Size doesn't matter here.
  • Bad location.  Good companies can be anywhere, but some places show more promise than others.  As cool as you may be, do people want to live where you area?  For that matter, are you in the kind of place where investors rain down Venture Capital or not?
  • Clueless advertising and marketing.  Sure it's almost certainly done by some outsourced agency who creates your ads and adulations, but if you can't give those people good direction or clamp down on dumb ideas, then you've got an issue.  Bad management is bad management.
  • No stability.  Stability is a bit hard to classify – or expect – in tis day and age, but at least make a try.  If everything is changing all the time, you're moving, the product is changing, etc. it doesn't look dynamic and innovative, it looks desperate and insipid.
  • Disrespect.  Show some respect for your customers, employees, and competitors.  Otherwise you're not only a jerk, you're undermining your relations with the people that pay the bills, do the work, or can crush you.  It also shows that you've got too many people who are egomaniacs, and even if they succeed, the company may not.
  • The wrong kind of retro.  There's old-school that's hip, then there's just backwards and clueless.  If you're old-school, show enough savvy to show you know it – otherwise you may look backwards or even be backwards.
  • A lack of a sense of humor.  A lack of humor is a lack of awareness.  I am not too turned off by not being humorous, but an extreme lack of humor is a dangerous thing.
  • Follow the leader.  Innovate, OK?  Even a little bit?  If you imitate at least imitate your way?  Otherwise you seem unoriginal and unoriginality isn't a confidence builder.
  • Doesn't provide value.  If all you do is shift cash around and do nothing then I'm not interested

So there's the rather abstract guide to what makes me take a company out of my "the readers should work for it" lists.  I hope it helps.  it was at least therapeutic to write on my end.

Steven Savage