Back in feudal Japan, ninjas were revered warriors whose functions included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination. Unfortunately, career prospects dried up for Ninjas in the 1600's due to the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate. Today, job prospects for Ninjas are slim.

  Airport Ninjas  By Asacyan (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Airport Ninjas By Asacyan (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

For a ninja who has really modernised their skillset, however, there's still hope.  For example, there's a job ad on seek for a consumer goods company looking for a Sydney-based MYOB and Excel Ninja.  That same person needs to be "an efficiency Junkie who embraces technology to the max", an "outlook champion", "sharp as a a razor blade crafted from a shark's tooth", an "Excel guru", and happy to work for a salary of between $30,000 - $44,999 AUD.  Yes that's right, the starting salary for Ninjas is now below minimum wage in the 5th most expensive city in the world.  And that's only if they are also gurus, junkies, and champions as well.  

I've written before about Rockstar employees, and whether it's really a good strategy to give them spear guns and bacon-wrapped cash.  But generally speaking, the worst thing a rock-star employee will do is trash their hotel room and a guitar or two.  Do you really want ninja employees, who are trained in sabotage and assassination?

This trend towards advertising for rockstar, ninja, and guru employees doesn't do anyone any favours. Time and time again, we at Kienco see that a employer whose talent brand doesn't match the reality of being an employee are burdened by high early voluntary turnover and high disengagement.  A brand is a promise, and broken talent brand promises lead to ex-employees - or actively disengaged employees.  I don't know what it's like to work for an employer that pays less than minimum wage but wants ninjas.  Perhaps you really do light fires to distract the security guards when you enter the building, dress in disguise, scale walls, and practice martial arts on the job.  But I doubt it.

In Australia under the Trade Practices Act, consumers have protections against false advertising.  These protections apply regardless of intent to mislead - "where the overall impression left by a business’s advertisement... creates a misleading impression in your mind... then the behaviour is likely to breach the law." (source).  Basically, there's a difference between marketing and lying.  Legally, in this case, the consumer market has more protections than the talent market.  That doesn't make it right, or smart, to over-sell an open position.  What's your take on hiring Ninjas and Rockstars?

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