job search

What Real Estate reality TV shows have to do with recruiting and job search

True Confessions: Hidden on our TiVo amongst various auto-themed shows (Top Gear, Fifth Gear, Chasing Classic Cars, etc), cartoons (Archer, The Venture Brothers), and–of course–Season 4 of Downton Abbey (what, we’re not savages in this house), there are a few real estate reality TV shows. Ex: Selling New York. Selling London.

Why? Good question. A small part of it is because I find it interesting to see how different the real estate market is in those cities. But I realized they primarily resonate with me because there are significant parallels to the corporate recruiting process. 

This was driven home to me the other day when I was having a conversation with a friend who owns a boutique search firm. They were talking about a client who clearly wants “the 99.999% fit candidate”, and even though the client stated there was urgency to fill the position, they had seen a large number of resumes/candidates and to date none had been a hire.

What’s most interesting about the real estate shows mentioned above is that they focus on very high-end clients with BIG budgets: $800,000 to $20,000,000 or more. It’s easy to think that spending $1 Million or more should mean you can buy your perfect dream house; but these shows demonstrate that isn’t necessarily true. The house may be perfect–but the location isn’t. Or it’s too dark. Or the wrong style. Or it doesn’t have the all-important patio. 

What’s the lesson here? In both hiring and job search, as in real estate, compromise is essential.

When you are a hiring manager, you have to realize that there are other market forces at work–that you are not the only option available to each candidate–and therefore the perfect “99.999% candidate” may never materialize no matter how long you wait or how many resumes your recruiter sources. It’s important that the recruiter (the real estate agent in this scenario) sets realistic expectations of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ with the hiring manager, educating them on the aforementioned market realities.

On the job seeker side, it’s important to be very clear on what your next role must have (title, benefits, base salary, type of projects available, company/team culture)–and what are some things you’ll flex on (commute, salary package, vacation time). As a recruiter, I’ve talked with too many job seekers who have decided to hold out for ‘the perfect opportunity’–and much like the hiring manager waiting for the ‘99.999% candidate’, they may be in for a very long wait. If you’re currently employed with no risk of layoff (that you are aware of)? It’s still worth doing the list above, because any new opportunity will require at least some small compromise. 



2 thoughts on “What Real Estate reality TV shows have to do with recruiting and job search

  1. Great observation, Jon! “Perfection” is essentially unattainable…and if you find it, it’s usually not as pretty as you’d hoped it would be. 🙂

    Posted by Nancy Kick | January 7, 2014, 10:28 am

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