What Reality TV Teaches Better Than Textbooks

Reality TV & HR?

Photo: courtesy of blogafi.org

One of my favourite things to watch is Reality TV. It’s the craze these days and it’s simply unending. There’s some form of it or another running at the flip of the remote. I quite enjoy them to be honest and everything they seem to ‘want us to conform to’ gets more interesting by the episode. However, what I find intriguing and absolutely captivating (or should I say curious), isn’t necessarily all the drama or the poorly constructed tenses or even the entertainment they seem to provide. What I find truly rewarding is not just their ability to give an insight into spontaneity or behaviour patterns but more importantly, their ability to mirror our actions back to us as seen through the experiences of others.

It is often said that we learn from our mistakes. Who says?! Why learn from yours when it’s easier and much more economical emotionally to learn from those of others. Morals learnt from the experiences of others are just as easily transferable as skills gained from attending a time management workshop! Better safe than sorry; works all the time!

Of all reality shows, auditions remain my favourite to watch. My interests lie in how they have been distinctively structured to filter out contestants. They expose motives, test tenacity and ultimately stretch the limits of contestants in such a way that only those who truly desire it and are willing to ‘battle’ it out emerge successful. Without a doubt, they reserve a place for skill, aptitude and character. They prove that simply wanting something bad enough sometimes isn’t just enough and reiterates that while hope and faith are useful, they are nothing in themselves without the individual’s input and unwavering zeal for continuous improvement. ¬†Each time I watch these episodes, something within me is stirred up. I can’t help but feel connected to the contestants. They become my ‘experience’ on how not to behave during an interview session. How not to handle serious matters with seemingly causal demeanour but more importantly, how to stand out from the crowd or be visible/memorable amidst a room filled with equally talented participants.

The labour market is flooded. Not with the uneducated or the semi-skilled, but with sophisticated, well-trained and highly educated professionals. How can you be sure to stand-out if you haven’t learnt how. How can you, in 2 minutes, sell yourself to an organization as its best choice when you lack experience on how ‘winners’ have pitched their Unique Selling Points (USPs), organized their thoughts and prioritized their competencies and achievements. How will you possibly distinguish yourself and come out successful if you stayed unaware of those habits or ‘little things’ that stood a chance of disqualifying you before you got the chance to speak!

Enough said. When next you find yourself tuned into another of those Reality TV shows, remember not to hate or cuss or discredit them. Instead, make them ‘your experience’; ‘your mirror’ if you will. Make it an assessment/appraisal of both self and the participants -so that you needn’t make mistakes that could have been avoided only if you had seen yourself in foresight.

The HR side of this? Well, I’m hoping that’s quite obvious. The key points to note include:

  1. You are solely responsible for your personal brand and how it reflects on your ability to deliver. Your body language is just as important as your appearance is -be aware of the messages you are giving-off.
  2. There’s one place you aren’t allowed to be modest and that’s in the interviewing room. Don’t be afraid to show in good light your experience, initiatives and accomplishments. However, ensure you strike the ‘right’ balance.
  3. Step out of the box for a moment; distinguish yourself with the slightest opportunity. Use what you’ve got. It could be your depth on matters, your sense of style, smile, poise, ¬†diction, etc… Whichever you settle for, ensure it leaves a lasting impression! *This by no means down-plays the power/absolute importance of thorough preparation*
  4. Finally, ensure your resume is able to command a 2nd glance. Do something a little different, the first set of things people should notice about your CV ought to be your achievements, projects and skills. The bio-data and educational background can always come afterwards.