HR Strange But True!
February 14, 2008

As the wacky stories about applicants on BLR's HR Forum attest, HR pros come across some decidedly unique prospects. So you probably think casting those TV reality shows with quirky people would be a snap. Not according to the "godmother of reality," who states "oddballs are hard to find."

Rebecca Dana of The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed the top reality show casting directors (read "recruiters") who find the contestants for "Survivor," "Big Brother," "The Amazing Race," and the new "Moment of Truth" (what, no "I ♥ New York"?).

Just like with your company, the applicants are "clamoring" to be chosen. But the selection process has gotten "more complex" since the early shows, according to the article, although the agents still get to go on coast-to-coast "casting tours."

"Godmother" Lynne Spillman now uses personal histories and psychological profiles in her searches. And she has even added the use of a "love-match profile" to heighten the odds that two contestants may click romantically--a real boost for the ratings. But she says she now she finds herself hiring more Midwest moms than romantic duos--and she's even recruiting dogs (well, at least you haven't had that job description yet).

Casting agent Neal Konstantini, who recruits for "Deal or No Deal" and "The Bachelor" is following the latest trend, according to the article. He has begun looking on social websites for prospects. NBC has Konstantini conducting "rigorous tests" of potential participants, and he also does "emotional investigations" of prospective contestants through interviews with family, friends, current and former spouses, current and former bosses, etc. Guess he gets more than "dates of employment" for answers, but then again, he isn't working under employment regulations.

The top attribute for a reality contestant, according to Howard Shultz of "Moment of Truth," is "high self esteem," then he adds "bordering on narcissism." Well, if you have seen this show, you know that a contestant admitted, while attached to a polygraph, that he stole from his employer. Remember, don't try this at home!!!!

Source: Wall Street Journal

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