HR- It’s Not “One Coat” Paint


July 25, 2009

 Do you paint?  I did when we moved into our new house a couple years ago.  I checked several brands of paint, found the perfect colors, then proceeded with painting.  I was painting over white walls so I believed that one coat of paint would cover the walls.  WRONG.  I hand brushed a 2nd coat over each wall and achieved perfection.

Why am I writing about paint and HR you wonder?  Well, I just saw an add for “one-coat” paint.  My initial thought was “great!  what everyone needs”, but is it?  I googled one-coat paint and looked at several brands that carry this.  One site said to be careful and read the paint warranty because all one-coat paint claims are not accurate.  According to, ” With additional pigment to improve their covering capabilities, true one-coat paints are otherwise just more expensive versions of ordinary latex or alkyd paints.”  (**Note- the one-coat paint commercial just came on again as I type this.  They are really pushing it!)

Back to HR and paint.

HR people are like paint.  There are always people selling themselves as the latest and greatest one-coat paint.  Sure, they may come on strong but can they really cover the role?  Why should a company hire this type of pushy HR person only to learn later that the covering capabilities are not really there and the flaws begin showing through.  This can be said of any employee a company hires.

My vote is to stick to some tried and true methods of recruiting for culture and fit in your company.  You may think you’re hiring the “ordinary” version of a latex-paint-like employee, but in the end, you may just come out ahead of where you’d be if you had jumped at hiring the slick, expensive “one-coat” version.


  • Trish, great analogy. I think we forget the concept of caveat emptor when we recruit. I think we often want the easy solution our problems,, we want to believe, but we forget that there is no substitute for the right tools and real effort.

    Also, love the new look!

  • Great new look to the site, Trish and I ma glad you kept the banner image which I think is great. Great points about being diligent in the hiring process as well.

  • Your point of ‘One-package fits all!’ is that bait that company’s are chasing in an effort to cut costs and plump up the bottom line. But they forget if they practice the common sense basic principles of good business, whether it be in HR or any other aspect, the business will flourish.

    If it sounds too good to be true, unfortunately it usually is.

    Great redesign on the site.

  • Interesting banner; circus, clowns. The HR business?!! We hope they don’t see it that way. But the “ringleader” metaphor is apt in a certain context.

    One coat paint won’t work unless it has the primer (a great deal of experience) already mixed into the formulation. Yeah, it is stretching the analogy, but we have to admit there is a “one coat paint” that is advertised to work, even white paint over red. That was unheard of until very recently.

    Similarly, the only true “one coat paint” HR candidate is that person who has demonstrated experience. Have him/her bring examples of work done. Check references; ask really good questions. We are out here, looking for opportunities to do hard work for employers! Experienced, in transition, adaptable, and anxious to put those skills to work for employers who want to improve results without increasing expenses for people.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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