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Business leaders on whether they would hire David Brent

We recently received an infographic that made us laugh and cringe. The topic, you ask? What David Brent’s CV looked like. This begs the question: would you actually have hired him if he were real?
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“David Brent – Life on the Road”, hit the big screens on 19 August – so it’s no surprise the Internet is flooded with reviews and articles galore about the mockumentary. We didn’t expect to come across his CV though, courtesy of euroffice. It’s a shining example of what shouldn’t ever be sent to a potential employer.

Here are a few quotes he had to offer. On survival: “If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven’t understood the seriousness of the situation.”

On ambition: “Know your limitations and be content with them. Too much ambition results in promotion to a job you can’t do.”

On quitting: “Quitters never win, winners never quit. But those who never win and never quit are idiots.”

But what’s more interesting is that he “mentioned” his unorthodox management style. And with it having been put on display for all to see during The Office series, the most important question seems to be whether UK bosses would have hired him in the first place. Curiosity at hand, we asked that very question – and here are the results: an overwhelming yes.

According to Paul Blanchard, CEO and founder of Right Angles, Brent has hidden depths and managed correctly could be a real asset – “seriously!” He further added: “On the surface he seems like an idiot but actually he’s a clever guy and he has huge amounts of energy, drive and determination. These are things that can be harnessed. I suspect if you gave him a project he had to do himself, one with clearly defined parameters and deadlines, he’d do it very well.   

“At the risk of sounding like Brent, I need to explain that my practice is small, lively and has a flat structure where everyone’s views and opinions are treated equally. In this kind of environment, the worst excesses of Brent’s personality such as his pride, lack of empathy and need to play to the crowd would be kept in check by the team.

“It’s hard to be an idiot in a small team of bright people who have strong voices. Plus, because we’re such a tight-knit team, he wouldn’t feel quite so insecure and desperate to be liked. He is a loveable bloke who doesn’t believe he’s worth loving. But if he saw what he could achieve and had the right support mechanism in the office, he would make an excellent employee.”

Similarly, Charles Reilly, director of Fridgesmart, claimed Brent cares about his staff and that he has unwavering self-believe and will do whatever it takes for his staff to like him. “He even regularly entertains them with his extensive musical repertoire and his inspirational dancing skills. Sure, he might go a bit too far, or be a bit ‘clumsy’ from time to time, but we’ve all worked with or for people like that in the past. It’s people like him who make going to work more interesting!”

And being a regional branch manager isn’t an easy job, explained Matt Humphries, director of Babel PR. He said: “Think about the constant pressure from senior management to improve the business and the weight of making decisions that will affect your own operation and the wider group. Not to mention the imposition of group-wide policies that sometimes fall flat because they don’t translate well at a regional level.”

He’s a renegade a man who breaks the rules, claimed Humphries. “The fact he has no idea what the rules are to begin with makes no difference. He is a shining example of how to run a company by ignoring the function of the business altogether. It’s a risky strategy; one that can jeopardise relationships. Yet he proved as long as you believe in yourself, you can brush off criticism and follow your own path. Unfortunately that path often leads to the sack or redundancy. With all this in mind, I would probably hire Brent to take on a very small role in the business, one where he could do very little damage. But, it would be good to have him around.”

Continue to find out how his ability to make staff cry could be a hinderance to the workplace.

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Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

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