Nepotism has a new face…

February 18, 2020

Nepotism has a new face, and that face has an Instagram and a following.
The question is.. Is brand more relevant than experience?

Nepotism is the act of showing favor due to family or friendship, but more recently a new trend has emerged. Showing favor to those with an image, even when that image lacks the basic skill set needed to perform the job they’re hired to do.

In a perfect world the ideal candidate would have a balance of skills and brand, but where does the weight shift? And what are the ramifications of the outcome when one [brand] is vastly greater than the other [skill]?

Let’s take a conservative look and play best case / worst case, shall we?

Best case:

  • Candidate with great knowledge and experience comes into the role and has a strong brand and image forged in expertise. That’s the purest and most powerful form of brand.
  • Candidate with a brand and image comes into the role and learns on the fly, but due to name recognition, there is interest and visibility to the product. In this scenario, even as a best case, speed to competency will lag. You can’t know until you know…you know?

Worst case:

  • Candidate with great experience and knowledge comes into the role and shuns from the spotlight. You’ve hired the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.
  • Candidate with a brand and image comes into the role, but the necessary skills do not come, the intuition is not there, competency is out of reach. You’ve hired disaster, and handed it a microphone. Ouch.

Sure the likelihood of one of the absolute worst-case scenarios will happen is slim, but…but is it? I just don’t think it’s the smartest business decision, not in sales anyway.

To be clear, I don’t blame the employee here. Good on them for building a strong enough brand to get a shot at whatever role they grabbed. I am speaking to you – the employer – here. Substance over sound. Experience still matters. Find somebody with both – skills/experience and a brand – if you really want to win.

There are still companies out there looking for that solid mix of experience, brand, and clout, and I hear from them everyday. If you are looking to make your way into a new role, reach out and I would love to connect you.

Currently, I know of companies looking for:

Head of Sales – SF, Austin, NY, ATL, Boston
Revenue Ops – SF, Austin, Boston,
Customer Success roles – Austin, Boston
BDRs -SF, Boston, Austin
VP of Marketing – Boston
AEs – Austin

Also, Richard Harris and I have been hard at work interviewing some of the best sales leaders, mentors, and dare I say…influencers in the game! Take a listen, and pick up some tips, tricks, and motivation! Check out the Surf and Sales Podcast. You might learn something.