Image: Michele Paccione/

Wednesday 18th May 2016

Pop goes HR #4

‘Kiss’ is actually a royal rumination on recruitment

It’s been a few weeks now since the Purple One left us. Much has been written about his talent as a songwriter, guitarist, movie star and table-tennis whoop-ass.

Surprisingly though, considerably less has been written about his obsession with the crafting of compelling recruitment propositions.

Arguably his finest song – Kiss – is usually dismissed as a mere rumination on romantic relationships, when of course it’s not. You don’t sell over a million copies, win the Rolling Stone Single of the Year award and get covered by Tom Jones if your song doesn’t have something to say about talent acquisition. Right, kids? Right.

Here’s the song, and our brief analysis follows below. (The video has cats in it. We’re not entirely sure why, but we suspect there’s a copyright thing going on at YouTube.)

So let’s get into the textual analysis and reveal some of those diamonds and pearls.

You don’t have to be beautiful
To turn me on

Prince had clearly been reading that issue of Psychology Today in which Dario Maestripieri discusses Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful by Daniel Hamermesh. As a reminder, Maestripieri writes:

The research reviewed by Hamermesh shows that attractive people, both men and women, earn an average of 3 or 4% more than people with below average looks, which adds up to a significant amount of money over a lifetime. Beautiful people are also hired sooner, get promotions more quickly, [and] are higher-ranking in their companies.

Well, Prince ain’t putting up with that discrimination. ‘You don’t have to be beautiful,’ he insists. The Paisley People Practioner wouldn’t dream of Googling applicants’ names to see how attractive they were before inviting them into interview.

I just need your body baby
From dusk till dawn

Also, he’s not soft-selling the opportunity. Whatever this role is, it clearly will include manual work and hours will be long. This honesty is laudable, given candidates are increasingly wary of over-crafted, glossy recruitment communications. Often they greatly prefer honest ads, like this one.

You don’t need experience
To turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’m gonna show you what it’s all about

Prince clearly believes in hire for potential, and train for skills.

You don’t have to be rich
To be my girl

Decent wages will be paid. Prince has clearly read articles like this which warn us not to get too carried away by complex EVPs because people, essentially, work for money.

Women not girls rule my world
I said they rule my world
Act your age, not your shoe size

Then we launch into what critics are increasingly calling ‘The Prince Diversity Statement’, in which he emphatically states his position on positive discrimination, in terms of both age and gender.

He follows this up with, brilliantly: ‘You don’t have to watch Dynasty / To have an attitude.’ It’s quite clear that culturally he’s happy to consider talent with interests and mindsets from outside of the classic Western canon.

What a guy. We’ll miss his advice.

About the author

Andrew Baird

Andrew is the CEO of HRville. He is also Employer Brand Director of Blackbridge Communications, Editorial Director of Professionals in Law and an associate of The Smarty Train. Previously, he was the MD of TCS Advertising.