Recruiting Is the Best Reality TV That’s Not On TV

The reality of being a talent acquisition professional is that some days you will shake your head at what your candidate/hiring manager/executive said/did. Similar to the last episode of The Bachelor (it doesn’t matter which episode, head shaking occurs at some point in every episode).

I’m guessing that your reality TV time has crept up a bit…or, a lot. And, while I’m still waiting for Bravo to come out with a reality TV show about talent acquisition, I have enjoyed watching some reality TV shows that made me think of all the amazing TA professionals I know.

In the world of talent acquisition, it doesn’t matter if you are an in-house recruiter or an agency recruiter. It doesn’t matter if you focus on executive talent or entry-level positions. The reality of being a talent acquisition professional is that some days you will shake your head at what your candidate/hiring manager/executive said/did. Similar to the last episode of The Bachelor (it doesn’t matter which episode, head shaking occurs at some point in every episode).

You may find yourself questioning how you ended up as the referee with two leaders who sound a little bit like Kim and Khloe. Or, figuring out how you are going to deliver qualified candidates when the budget is about 20% less than the current market, like Frederick Echland on MDLNY trying to close a deal with a buyer who thinks market prices don’t apply to them.

Recruiters are some of my favorite people. And, they helped me come up with this list just by being themselves.

Intellectual curiosity like a judge on The Voice

You know those moments when a new contestant starts to sing and each judge closes their eyes or moves to the music? They are focusing on the technical and artistic interpretation of the song. It’s not just the technical skill, it’s the heart and art of the song.

Recruiters have to have be curious enough to evaluate the technical abilities (knowledge and experience) and the artistic abilities (what’s unique/special) of a candidate. This curiosity helps engage candidates effectively and build credibility with hiring managers and stakeholders.

Flexibility like a chef on Chopped

It never fails, the camera pans to the chef who has never used one of the secret ingredients or when the main dish burns and there are mere minutes left to pull a dish together. The chefs don’t crumble under the pressure, they adjust and keep going.

Flexibility is a critical skill. Recruiters are all too often caught in the middle of drawn-out business decisions. Or, navigating the changes a senior leader wants to make to the skill set of their ideal candidates after you’ve spent two weeks scanning the market and building your candidate pipeline. Being flexible doesn’t mean you are working without a plan. It just means that you are able to adjust the plan in a tangible way and achieve desired results.

Resilience like a contestant on The Challenge

My daughter was watching The Challenge and I was very quickly swept up into the physical and mental tests that the teams were asked to maneuver. The contestants fell, got dirty, lost the game, and still, they forged ahead. Getting back up is never as easy as it looks. It is a necessary skill to master in order to be a successful recruiter.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back. The good news is that it’s a skill that can be learned. The bad news is that you have to go through difficult things to develop it.

People skills like a judge on American Idol

I’ve never been a huge fan of American Idol. In the early days of the show, it was hard for me to watch some of the contestants who didn’t have much talent and yet, they are on TV singing their hearts out. Fortunately, it seems the current judges have some sensitivity to people’s feelings and not the Simon Cowell scowl of the early days.

Great people skills don’t come naturally to every recruiter, but it is an essential skill for recruiters to have. People can be fickle and cranky. People can be difficult. Some days, if you are like many great recruiters I know, you are tired of dealing with people. Hopefully, those days are few and far between.

A sense of humor like the guys on Impractical Jokers

I’m not suggesting you go out and prank unsuspecting passersby, but I do believe that a sense of humor is like the glue that can help us hold it all together when the inevitable letdowns happen.

The World Economic Forum noted that psychologists haven’t decided if a sense of humor can be taught. However, they do agree that a good sense of humor provides significant benefits to our mental and physical well-being. A good belly laugh releases tension, boosts the immune system (I’m looking at you, COVID-19), and releases endorphins.

I believe that a sense of humor helps us keep a rhythm in life. Some things are out of our control. Some things just turn out poorly. A sense of humor gives us permission to relook at the situation/outcome with a less critical eye.

Finally, BravoTV, if you’re reading this, I think you’re missing out on a whole ‘lotta good reality TV.

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