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How Reality TV Can Teach You How to Recruit

March 21, 2018
Why & How You Should Conduct Results-Based Interviews
March 15, 2018
Two smiling business men shaking hands together after successful meeting.
5 Reasons Recruiters Can Change Your World
March 25, 2018
Earlier this week, I joined my wife in watching one of her favorite television shows, The Voice. For those of you that are unfamiliar, singers participate in blind auditions where they perform for a panel of judges who are turned around, backs facing the contestants. The premise is that the judges select the performers based solely on their talent.

It reminded me that American Idol, the original singing talent show, was just resurrected by ABC. The main difference between the two is that the American Idol judges watch the singers perform and can interact with them. Because of this, the audition process is much more personal than The Voice.

While we were flipping between the two channels, I naturally applied the concepts to the world of recruiting.

“American Idol” Interviews

Most interviews today follow the American Idol model. Candidates are invited to interview and “perform” for the hiring manager, human resources representative, or other staff AKA the panel of judges. The “judges” focus on the candidate’s ability to do the job and their body language, amongst other criteria.

We all know that unconscious bias can creep up in traditional interviews like this. Factors like the candidate’s attire, skin color, and hair color can all play roles in how we assess them. While body language is a fair factor to examine, these other considerations are damaging.

“The Voice” Interviews

On the flipside, The Voice interviews are typically conducted on the phone. Phone interviews are similar to the blind auditions on the show. “Judges” can’t see the candidates and vice versa. The decision to move forward with a hire is based on their abilities and skills related to the position. In theory, these interviews have less-bias because they’re more controlled.

The issue with “blind” interviews is that they’re simply not realistic. An important aspect of interviewing is evaluating the candidates' ability to interact with others. It’s more difficult to determine if they’re a cultural fit or if they have relationship building skills without first witnessing a candidate’s body language.

In the end, candidates aren’t “auditioning” for a job based only on their ability to perform one function; candidates are multi-dimensional. I prefer The Voice, but I have gained a newfound respect for American Idol and their ability to assess each contestant. Even though they see each candidate in person, it seems by their selections that they check their bias at the door--something that we all need to learn to do as well.

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