Embrace It. Talent Branding the White House Way

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Jun 13, 2017

Think you’re recruiting job is tough? You’re not alone. The HuffPost and NewsMax have cited a sharp decline in filling key positions within the Department of Defense and State Department and elsewhere, leading to a huge understaffing issue in the executive branch. The time-to-fill is already over 150 days, and with liberal to moderate job seekers not applying for these positions, the problem is made even more daunting because President Trump is also insisting on personally approving all top hires.

So, what is the solution? Wild salaries and unlimited PTO? Sadly, no. Maybe we can provide some proven strategies that adhere to the core tenets of best-in-class talent branding: transparency, authenticity, and differentiation. (And btw I’m doing a webinar on branding, for sourcers, tomorrow.)


One of the core hiring criteria for a Trump Stamp of Approval is loyalty. In other words, successful candidates must prove themselves to be true Trump Brand Ambassadors. So rather than shy away from that, let’s screen for that. With the vast amount of demographic data that the government must have on hand (insert Snowden joke here), coupled with all the added resources that are available to the average recruiter, it seems like they can do a fairly impressive prescreen based on loyalty and qualifications.

In return, Trump needs to trust that the people he has personally vetted and hired already will select and hire candidates who will embody the vision and carry forward his passion for his own brand. After all, he does have a few other things on his to-do list.


Not every company (not even HuffPost) is the coolest, newest, most exciting place to work … and that’s’ ok! Many organizations and institutions revel in their their boiler room reputation, and use it as a badge-of-honor to weed out those who won’t make the cut. According to a report by PayScale, Tesla was listed as the fourth most stressful tech company to work for, with 70 percent of employees citing their job as stressful, yet CEO Elon Musk laughs it off. In a 2015 Fast Company interview he is quoted as saying “We always jokingly call Apple the “Tesla Graveyard.: If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

While I’m not saying that President Trump needs to hire like the Marines, finding those who are on board with his special brand of beliefs and expectations may be what it takes to close the ever-expanding gap within government positions.


These administrative opportunities are opportunities like no other — a chance to join a political culture quite different than ones in the recent past, under a newsworthy leader on a world stage during a historic history. Who could ask for more?

I recommend leading with an EVP that heralds “Anything Can Happen” or “Every Day is News.”

Trump is not the first leader to face crises, scandals, or serious breaches in consumer confidence. In fact, he’s in good company. Goldman Sachs had a whistleblower; Chipotle had an e coli break out; and Samsung had explosions. However, as with most scandals, these incidents are now considered old news, and the brands are still beloved by millions.

While some might consider these jobs political suicide, others may consider our shift toward a gig economy and look at it as a wonderful chance to embellish their experience during an interview at some later time. And, to those who are considering the opportunities, good news. While his current job is not reviewed on Glassdoor, as CEO, Trump did have a very strong approval rating he can point to.

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