Lessons on Hiring a Professional from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

You have all heard the comparisons before. You would not hire an electrician to argue your case before the Supreme Court, and you would not hire a lawyer to install your new electrical box.

I’m not here to talk politics because you have social media to tell you how to think about the government. I’m here to talk about hiring a professional to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself.

Today at the White House, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was let go only 11 days after accepting a job he quickly proved to be unqualified to do. Although the official line from the White House is that he was stepping aside to let new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have a “clean slate” as he begins his term as President Trump’s primary advisor, it is likely that this now-famous interview with the New Yorker Magazine is what did him in so quickly.

Let’s circle back to hiring a professional. I am sure a communications job looks like an easy gig. We all communicate every day, how hard can it be to do for a living?

We’ll start with this: Reporters are some of the smartest people you will ever meet. They have a depth of knowledge in a wide range of disciplines from health care to law to sports to urban development. They are as good as police officers at sniffing out a lie and they are faster than you can imagine at researching your story and publishing it.

Even if you never talk to a reporter, your company’s communications needs strategy. Your company, your nonprofit, your government office, your library or even your church should have a strategy on how to tell its story. Telling the world about your new CEO, your new outreach campaign or your new summer hours all takes strategy.

So, the White House hired Scaramucci, an investment banker and businessman from New York, to run the communications department. That didn’t work because he lacked respect for the job, credentials to get it right and it bit him back.

The lesson for your company is to take communication as seriously as you take finance or research and development. It is a crucial part of your company’s strategy.

Chris Wilkerson is a Senior Account Executive with ChappellRoberts, current Public Relations Strategist, and a former journalist

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