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Hire Employees With Brains! 4 Ways To Avoid Hiring A Zombie

don't hire a zombieRecruiting the right talent for your business isn’t just tough, it can be downright dangerous. For every great candidate, there are plenty of office zombies ready to shamble into your company and start gnawing at your bottom line. You can’t afford to have bad hires eat away at your company morale and productivity.

A recent study showed the price of a bad hire can be downright terrifying. One in four companies pegged the cost of bad hire at more than $50,000 and employee turnover can set companies back anywhere from 20 to 213 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Those numbers would have any employer or HR manager screaming in terror.

However, the true cost of a zombie employee might not even be measured in these terrifying statistics. Employees who sleepwalk into the office and shamble through their day with no passion or motivation can become patient zero for a negative company culture. These bad habits can quickly go viral in your company, and soon a single zombie worker can become a horde of zombie employees.

So how do you avoid having your company devoured by a zombie workforce? The key is to ensure you hire the right people; people with motivation, passion, and top-notch skills. Here are the four ways to ensure you hire the candidates with the best brains:

Cut Through The Noise

When talking about the walking dead, you can easily imagine a pack of zombies shambling in your direction, moaning and groaning. Zombies aren’t exactly known for being articulate, but they do tend to move in large packs.

When hiring, you need to be able to quickly cut through the noise of endless resumes and cover letters to find the best people. In the current tough job marketplace, employers are receiving anywhere between 118 and 250 job applicants per corporate opening. Imagine how hard it is to sort through this many candidates.

You need to find the best people fast, before your competition. Unlike a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland, in the hiring process, technology can really help. Utilizing everything from social media to talent communities, online work portfolios, and video interviews, employers can more easily cut out the candidates all wrong for the job. This way you avoid the zombies and focus in on the living.

Move Quickly

While every zombie story plays by its own rules, most of the zombies we see on TV and in the movies are not exactly fast-moving creatures. There’s a reason a zombie walk is more a shamble than a sprint. To get ahead of zombie candidates, you need to move quickly.

With a war for talent raging, especially in ultra-competitive industries like the tech field, you can’t afford to wait around for the right talent. You need to make decisions fast and act even faster. This means getting all of your people on the same page, which is far from easy in even the smallest organization, and gets even more complicated as your business grows.

Making fast job offers a priority means you can hire the best people before they’re swooped off the market. For instance, you can use cloud-based solutions to share candidate documents and your own internal notes with team members, no matter where they are.

You can also share one-way video interviews or recorded live video interviews, so even those not in the office can weigh in on great talent. This allows your team to make quick decisions, secure great talent, and leave the zombie horde in the dust.

Look For Candidates Who Don’t Follow The Pack

What really sets top talent apart from zombie candidates is passion, motivation, and dedication. Zombie employees are all too happy to sleepwalk through their day, never using their own brains. This ends up sucking the life out of your office. However, there are a few ways to tell an office zombie from a productive future member of your team.

Using situational interview questions, you can find out more about a candidate than the standard interview answers convey. Anyone can memorize the “right” answers to the most common interview questions. These answers won’t tell you much, whether your interview is in-person or through online video.

Situational questions, however, force candidates to think outside-the-box and give you insight into how they would actually operate in your organization. These questions could cover everything — from how they would handle a crisis, to their proudest work moment at a former employer. Candidates who impress with their answers and display passion for the job and industry aren’t likely to turn into cubicle zombies.


If there’s one thing zombies love, it’s brains. Ironically, as an employer, you’re looking for the same thing in your job candidates as the undead are looking for in their meals. You need someone with top-notch critical thinking abilities, unparalleled creativity, and impressive concrete skills.

To make sure you hire the right person, look for candidates who can back up their skills. These could be candidates who come to the interview with a game plan for improving productivity, or a job seeker who shows up with an impressive work portfolio. Candidates who can hit the ground running as soon as they start in your organization are unlikely to shamble through their 9-to-5.

Ensuring you don’t hire a zombie employee is important if you want to protect your company culture and bottom line. Using these tips, you can avoid the horde of potential zombie workers and hire a candidate with passion and, yes, brains!

What do you think? How do you avoid hiring a zombie employee? Share in the comments! 

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.



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