Who's that Girl?


Is Your Company Brainwashing You?

Originally posted: March 12, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

What power do words and phrases have to influence our perceptions and behavior?

I remember many years ago when I joined the workforce, several companies I interviewed with told me they hire only the best.  At the time, it didn’t register.  I was young, I was out of college, and basically I just wanted a job. I didn’t care that they said they wanted to hire the best, I just knew if they wanted to hire me, that would be great. A few years later when I had some experience under my belt, I decided I was ready to move to a HR generalist role.  I signed on with a company that told the employees, “We only hire the best and the brightest.  We’re a great place to work.”  I worked there many years and after hearing this day in and day out, I admit, I believed it.

When I left that company almost nine years later, I was back in the interviewee seat.  The new company told me, “We hire the best and the brightest.”  I was taken aback and actually joked with them, “Oh, that’s interesting because company XYZ says THEY hire the best and the brightest.”  We all had a good laugh.  Truth is, that statement may have meant something years ago, but it is so overused today that it lost it’s meaning and impact.  Companies are just using it to brainwash their employees.

Guess what folks, we can’t ALL hire the absolute “best and the brightest”.

We can’t all be “the best place to work in our industry.  Nor can we be at the top of every list on best places to work.  It’s not possible.  I much prefer a company to tell me:

  • Employees who work here are extremely passionate about what they do
  • Everyone understands the mission and we tie our work to that mission
  • Treating others with respect is the only behavior that is tolerated
  • We’re successful when our employees are successful and we set our employees up to be successful

What do you think?  What other statements have you heard over and over that you know are just not true?  What are companies saying to try to convince employees and candidates they are the best?  What SHOULD companies be telling employees and candidates?  Let’s talk about it in the comments…

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