A Job Search Is Reality, Not Reality TV

pg-70Well, the truth is out now. I absolutely loathe reality TV. One part of me is in deep admiration of the producers who epitomize capitalism by capturing something that is marketable, selling the concept and raking in tons of cash. God bless America! On the other hand, most of them appeal to the most frivolous of all animal instincts and with shock and awe attempt to pass off abnormal behavior as reality. These should all be labeled with the designation PG-70. Impressionable children under the age of 70 should not be allowed to watch without their parents nearby to kick their butts for believing anything they see on TV. Grown-ups who can recognize that special casting, media gimmicks and special effects are an indicator of the degree of believability in most of these shows should also be able to come to the logical conclusion that these are entertainment outlets, not reality.

Many of my friends and colleagues have been discussing the reality show Top Recruiter, The Competition which admittedly has some redeeming value. It is a hybrid of reality TV and a hook to serious educational information about job search and recruiting. I forced my cynical self to watch and my gag reflex actually did allow me to make it past the promo showing drop dead gorgeous women and hunky guys arriving on their Learjet in Miami and driving their Ferrari to the mansion in South Beach. Even though this did not pass my personal test of the main characters looking, talking or acting like the professional recruiters I know, I did have to give due credit for it being a very attractive and marketable concept. Yes, it can provide a rare behind-the-scenes insight for job seekers that want to understand more about the recruiting process, but please people… this is not reality. Another way of learning about your recruiter would be to Google them or check them out on LinkedIn. If that doesn’t work, try to learn something about them by getting a glimpse of their class ring while they are picking their nose during your interview.

Reality for Job Seekers – Recruiters are for the most part honorable people, will treat you with respect and want to do well in their jobs. They are often limited by the people they work for, either clients or company management, and must follow certain procedures which can limit how much of the real person behind the job you are permitted to see. They work long hours and not only have to deal with delivering on their obligations with constant interruptions, but also handle overwhelming administrivia in their jobs. This is not to excuse problems that happen at this level because like all professions there are some recruiters that just do a lousy job. When things don’t go as you had hoped, you probably won’t know from outward appearances if you are the victim of circumstances or a bad recruiter. Don’t take any of that personally because it probably doesn’t mean you failed… unless it does. Accept reality as it really is and look internally to find at least some of the answers.

Reality for Recruiters – If there is a golden rule of business it is to treat other human beings as you want them to treat you. The person who needs you as a catalyst to find the right chemistry between their skills and meaningful work depends on your professionalism to make that match happen. The most important thing to remember is that you do not owe them instant gratification, but that at a bare minimum you owe them realistic expectations. If you are not able to tactfully deliver bad news as well as good news to people, polish up your own resume and hope that some compassionate recruiter can find an alternative career for you. It is also important to realize that everybody is not like you. If you want a real dose of reality, volunteer to do mock interviewing for a local college career center or help at the local unemployment office.  If there is not a local job seeker assistance program where you live, start one. If you are really a talented recruiter, there will be many outlets other than the one you are paid to do that will allow you to be real.

TV is a marvelous entertainment tool and can be educational as well… with a little common sense. We can watch professional sports with million dollar players competing on a team that may not want them next season. We can watch movies with Ewoks, Hobbits, teenage sorcerers, and dancing penguins. Do you learn from any of these? I watched a great Jeff Beck special the other day, but damn… I still can’t play the guitar.