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Authenticity: There's No Faking it

Fake ; Black Wall Studio™ Production

Fake; Black Wall Studio™ Production

I spent the better part of a decade working at a creative powerhouse: globally recognized brands, strong positive impression with consumers, and highly recognizable as a household name. The employer brand was strongly informed by the consumer brand. The company's projected values were espoused within its walls too. At least mostly...and as much as any corporation that has business functions to perform can be expected to.

Fast-forward to last year: I'd left the big brand world behind and was scraping my way through start-up life. We were just beginning to articulate our own brand, so we had set up a meeting with a highly-recommended small creative agency to discuss how they could help us.

There was a member of the creative team there who was just a year out of school and this was her first job. We shared our respective stories in an effort to get to know each other and I was surprised to learn that she had two job offers out of school: the current one, and one with my former employer. Spoiler alert...she took the small agency job.

Seeing as how we work in the talent acquisition space, we were curious about her decision. Why would someone starting a creative career not want to work at a company with some of the most recognized brands out there?

"It just felt really corporate. All these people were working at their desks and the vibe I got didn't match what I expected."


There is nothing wrong or strange about working at desks. If you went to work for Coca-Cola, would you expect Coke to spurt from the water fountains? Probably not, but you would expect vending machines to carry Coke products. And you wouldn't be surprised to work at a desk of some sort. An employment brand should be aligned with the consumer brand or at least not contradict it. But they are two different things.

No job is perfect and no company is perfect. If work were always fun it wouldn't be called a job. That's a reality. We do a disservice to new entrants to the workforce when we over-hype the "you can make your dream a reality" messages at the expense of "you won't love every minute of every day and there will be parts of your job that just suck" messages. As long as we are always honest with what we offer, no one will feel they were sold a bag of goods.

Be authentic. Don't sell what you don't have. Be who you are. 

Written by: Allison Small, Co-Founder and VP of Program Development and Execution, TalentCMO

Links and Other Interesting Stuff:

Want to learn more about start-up life from a Millennial perspective? Click here

Check out this sweet Career Showcase (a standalone microsite built for candidates to show company's authenticity) that we built for one of our clients. 

Are you thinking about transitioning from a corporation into a start-up? Here are some thoughts to keep in mind. 

Ana Filipovic Windsor