Making Job Candidates Compete Works for Reality TV, but Not for Reality

So, I used to watch reality tv. (Don’t anymore, in fact, I don’t even own a television anymore.) I watched several seasons of the Apprentice and was equally horrified and fascinated. But, while a competition makes for great television, it’s not the right way to hire.

A reader asked me a question about a job her college-aged daughter interviewed for. You see, they hire two people and make them compete and then one gets fired after 90 days and the other “wins” the position.

Yeah, not really interested in that. I’ll tell you why it’s a bad idea: Donald Trump May Be Running For President, But You Still Can’t Hire Apprentice Style.

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8 thoughts on “Making Job Candidates Compete Works for Reality TV, but Not for Reality

  1. The winner in this competition may not be the best candidate for the job, they may simply be the best saboteur. And that back-stabbing mentality will be ingrained in all the employees. Who wants to work there?
    I there’s a restaurant down the road that offered jobs to servers then had a trial day. They over hired so they could fire 2 of every 3 servers at the end of the first shift. No one was told it was a trial run and that they were competing for their jobs.
    The restaurant is now closed. You can’t run a business by trashing potential employees (and potential customers).

  2. Yeah, wow, just wow. I have never heard of this. It’s one thing to have a couple of interns over the summer and decide whether you want to offer one or any of them a job when they graduate the next year (something that has worked well for a firm I worked for in the past). The operative thing here is that if they are all good – why not hire all of them? But to make them compete with each other is just not a great thing. What happened to actual team building? As you say, it totally encourages people to turn on their fellow employees, something that happens all the time, but should not be encouraged AT ALL.

  3. The only reality TV I can handle is The Great British Bake Off/Baking Show. They’re so charmingly competitive!

    I would be horrified if I were patronizing a business and discovered they put employees through this as a hiring practice. I’d have to stop eating/shopping/whatevering there.

  4. Making employees compete against each other is bad business, bad management, bad leadership. The idea is to make the business stronger by competing successfully against outside competitors in the marketplace.

    Encouraging employees to compete against each other may well result in undesirable behaviors, like competing employees engaging in sabotage against the other. To me, this kind of environment is very unhealthy.

  5. OK Susan…who’s the employer? Name-and-shame seems entirely appropriate in this context.

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