Monday Morning PSA – Calling All Rock Stars!

This is a Public Service Announcement

Like any good vigilant Human Resources miscreant, occasionally I find it my duty to point out when a “pet” term has outlived its usefulness.  Spoiler alert ~ the title of this post is no accident.

When the hell did “Rock Star” become synonymous with ideal job candidate and/or superstar employee? Don’t get me wrong, I’m like everyone else – someone calls me a rock star, and I’m prancing around like Paul Stanley hopped up on goofballs. But why?


I’m here about the sales position

For people in my demographic (let’s just say it’s North of 30), “Rock Star” meant Zeppelin, KISS, The Stones, Sabbath, AC/DC, Judas Priest, The Eagles, Ozzy, Motley Crue and the like. These were people who snorted ants and cocaine interchangeably, destroyed property, ear drums, teenage celibacy, and, ultimately themselves. Hotel chains banned these people, parents feared these people, and we, of course pasted our walls with billboard-size posters displaying our undying fandom (btw, I’m teetering on the edge of too much self-disclosure.) That’s the way it worked, am I wrong? Since Elvis shook that naughty pelvis of his on the stage, “rock stars” have been outlaws, not ideal employees.

So why in the world would we want to hire these people? I can’t help but chuckle when I hear the term used in a recruiting search – instead of “rock star” juxtapose with “over-indulged, over-medicated, over-sexed binge-drinker with a 3-year productivity life span.

I get it, we want to hire someone supremely talented ~ but are we more inclined to value the big hair and make-up (sadly, I’m still referring to men) rather than musical chops?

Then again, it could be much, much worse.

It could be “Pop Stars.”

  John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.





Talent Acquisition Executive, team-builder, and full-time dreamweaver. Creative Director, Content Designer, Writer, Speaker, Entrepreneur, terrible golfer, lover of The Art of War & Texas Hold 'Em.

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  • 09/09/2013, 9:50 pm

    I actually guffawed when I read the caption under Jimi.
    I use this term a lot. For me, it represents someone passionate about what they do, engaged in the culture, a go-to for solutions, and sometimes just an all-around producer with a positive attitude. Your descriptions were right too of course – (Alice Cooper, anyone?) but I boil it down to someone who got my attention with their performance.

    • hrhardball
      09/09/2013, 10:17 pm

      Since you mentioned the great Alice, he’s currently sporting a 4 handicap on the links in Arizona…my kind of rock star 🙂