update: should being on reality TV disqualify a job candidate?

Remember the letter-writer in March who was on a hiring committee where a strong candidate had been a cast member on a reality TV show — and the other committee members didn’t want to hire her because of it? Here’s the update.

After reading your response and the comments (thank you everyone!) I decided this was something I should stick to my principles on, or risk feeling later like I didn’t make use of my position in the moment. I shamelessly memorized the script you provided and went to bat for the candidate in our next meeting. She ended up making our second-round list after a little more of my pestering, with the caveat that she would be asked in her next interview about her time on the show and any professional implications it had on her. In the first five minutes of her next interview, someone on the committee asked her about it in what had clearly been a very rehearsed and somewhat accusatory question.

A lot of comments were wondering why the rest of the committee was so much more hung up on this little detail from her past, and in retrospect I’d blame a lot of it on age and cultural differences — all other members were 15/20 years older than myself, and seemed to think of reality TV as a very trashy genre without giving consideration to the differences between shows. We’re a pretty formal office, and I can’t imagine any of the people at that table with me had ever turned on MTV in their lives. A few comments pointed out that this issue seemed kind of gendered and that a male candidate likely wouldn’t have faced the same scrutiny. While I don’t know for sure how a man in the same position would have fared, all I can say is that in our meetings they very openly fretted about hiring a “party girl,” a term I don’t know a similarly negative male equivalent for. I’m the only female VP and felt some serious responsibility to discredit that phrase when the opportunity arose. It felt important to remind them that our corporate, business-formal office is not a bar, and that just because she’d been filmed at a few clubs 10 years ago didn’t mean she’d be Coyote Ugly-ing on the reception desk if we hired her. We all made some choices in our twenties.

She had obviously been asked in interviews before and gave a very honest and impressive answer about how she had been approached to be on the show while in college and had thought it would be fun, considered it a very unique experience, and hadn’t done anything while filming that she couldn’t own up to now as a working professional. As this position was in marketing, she even said that the show had sparked her interest in the field after seeing how it was promoted on her season. She didn’t spend more time than necessary on it, had clearly done her homework on our company, thoughtfully answered every question, and ended up accepting an offer from us.

Seven-ish months later, all I can say is thank you! She’s been one of the best hires we’ve made in a while, and I look forward to every meeting she runs. As an added bonus, she’s been very candid about the experience and now I’ve learned all I could ever ask about the behind-the-scenes of reality TV. As I said, she has a unique first name and has been recognized by clients a few times- all have been positive interactions and I can’t imagine we’ve lost any big deals because of her.

But the best part of this hire has definitely been how it’s helped me move forward! Since she’s done so well, I’ve had several others (all senior to me) approach me privately and acknowledge that they heard that she wouldn’t have been brought back without my insistence and that they’re appreciative that I stood my ground. I was so worried that I’d use any and all accrued capital on this, but if anything it’s helped me gain more capital at work and respect from some very important higher-ups!

Thank you again, Alison!

{ 193 comments… read them below or add one }

    1. Lena Clare

      This is off-topic but I *just* got an interview invite for a job I’d really like to do!!! I’m so freakin’ excited!

      Reply
  1. Hills to Die on

    Such a fantastic update! Thank you for that and for advocating so professionally for someone who deserves the benefit of the doubt! I hope you fellow hiring committee members learned something from you!

    Reply
      1. Observer

        Well, the OP says “I’ve had several others (all senior to me) approach me privately and acknowledge that they heard that she wouldn’t have been brought back without my insistence and that they’re appreciative that I stood my ground. “

        So, it sounds like a lot of them have admitted it.

        Reply
  2. the Viking Diva

    Awesome update that touches on SO many AAM themes: advocacy in the hiring process, the applicant’s preparation, gender and generational differences, standing up for oneself, building social capital. It’s a sign of a good workplace that the senior colleagues notice and acknowledged this. Good on you, OP!

    Reply
    1. Reba

      Yes, I remember thinking this was SUCH an interesting letter and situation. How wonderful that it turned out so well. Well done, OP, and the new hire (who I am going to think of as Pam)!

      Reply
    2. NotAnotherManager!

      +1!

      For all the reason Viking Diva stated, this is one of my favorite AAM updates thus far. Fabulous job, OP!!

      Reply
    3. Can't Think of a Name

      Yes! I think this also perfectly illustrates why it’s so important to have women (and people of color) in leadership positions

      Reply
  3. Roja

    This is brilliant! I’m so happy for both of you (and I hope the rest of the committee will think twice now when they’re tempted to entertain stereotypes again)!

    Reply
    1. female peter gibbons

      I love how the letter writer immediately picked up on how there is no male version of “Party Girl”. That’s so freaking clever. I feel like I learned something today. LOL

      Reply
      1. Orbit

        Frat boy. I suppose who you ask but it has the same connotations to me me.
        Irresponsible, immature and cares only about drinking and having fun.

        Reply
        1. Archaeopteryx

          Frat boy or party boy, though the former has a douchier implication and the latter is more of a raver vibe.

          Reply
          1. Dobermom

            But being a frat boy or party boy doesn’t often prevent someone from getting a job – all to often, it helps. (Not trying to get political but *cough*Supreme Court*cough*)

            Reply
            1. AnonEMoose

              True. Because a very significant number of those currently in leadership positions see their younger selves in the “frat boy” types. And so are perhaps inordinately forgiving of things these types do or have done, because either they’ve done it themselves, have friends who have, or know they could have.

              And then our natural tendency to minimize our own mistakes kicks in, and so it’s “youthful indiscretion” or “not that big a deal” or “but he was drunk.” But people in whom they don’t see their younger selves as clearly (people of color, women) don’t get that same forgiving attitude. And so the pattern perpetuates.

              Reply
              1. female peter gibbons

                “Party Girl” is a misogynist label that implies slut-shaming, in my opinion. It’s really absolutely not the same when it’s applied to men, but I take the point about “Frat Boy” being a kind of male version. A version that is not at all equal, if you ask me.

                Reply
  4. Myrin

    Wow OP, how absolutely wonderful! You sound like a great manager, worker, and person! (As does your new hire, btw!)

    Reply
        1. EPLawyer

          Spit you have to spit. Don’t forget that part or you don’t unjinx yourself.

          AWESOME update. A true testimonial how women have to stand up for other women (if they deserve it like here) to make some very needed changes.

          Reply
          1. LadyGrey

            +1000 for the West Wing reference. “…from high atop the THING?” is a frequent expression in our household, used to indicate that a particular event or outcome is highly dependent on luck, karma, and careful adherence to ritual. “What’s wrong with you? Put your Sportsball hat back on…from high atop the thing??”

            Reply
    1. animaniactoo

      Very much so. And Reality Girl getting hired was a benefit for the person who advocated for her, not a drawback! That’s a solid double win!

      Reply
    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      I feel like the Grinch, because everytime there’s a satisfying update (like this), my heart grows at least 1-2 sizes.

      Reply
  5. Labradoodle Daddy

    YAS REALITY TV GIRL, YOU SUBVERT THOSE VAGUELY SEXIST ASSUMPTIONS AND COMPETENT ALLLLLLLL OVER THAT BISHHHH!!!! YASSSSS!!!

    Reply
    1. AnonEMoose

      The only thing I’d disagree with here is that there was nothing vaguely sexist about those assumptions…they were just plain old sexist/misogynist/speculatively slut shaming (or at least, that how I interpret the “party girl” comments.

      Reply
      1. Labradoodle Daddy

        I know… but sometimes if you flatly say “that was sexist as hell” people pile onto you for being unfair, and I’m exhausted today. But I agree with you 100%

        Reply
        1. AnonEMoose

          Totally get it. There are days or times when I just don’t have the energy, either. I think that’s true of most of us.

          Reply
    2. motherofdragons

      I super applaud her for being cool, calm and collected and SHUTTING THAT BULLSHIT DOWN!!! And well done OP for standing your ground! This update just gives me such happy feels.

      Reply
    3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

      I want you to know that I came back to this post just so I could re-read this comment to start my day today. Delightful. Thank you!

      Reply
  6. Phony Genius

    I wish the OP had included a little more information about how the committee discussion went after the interview, and if the eventual choice was unanimous.

    As to the OP’s comment about a negative male equivalent of “party girl,” the only thing I can come up with is “party animal.”

    Reply
      1. Hey Karma, Over here.

        I was thinking frat bro, too. With the interesting corollary of “boys will be boys” as well as, even drunken golf weekends are still viewed as networking for men, where as women really can’t do that.

        Reply
      2. RUKiddingMe

        The thing about that is that “frat bro” would be considered cool, especially ten years on because they would assume he’d grown up whereas “party girl” is just some slut who should be branded as such..forever because…misogyny.

        Reply
          1. Washi

            Yeah, I tend to use “frat bro” as a name for a particular kind of douchey guy (hard-drinking, careless, entitled, etc)

            The main thing is that I don’t think partying-related behavior from TEN YEARS AGO is ever really necessary to consider with job candidates, unless there’s some indication that there may end up being a work issue as a result.

            Reply
          2. Yay commenting on AAM!

            At my college, being involved in a Greek organization was a bad thing. It typically meant immature, shallow, irresponsible, clique-ish, unsophisticated, stupid, low standards, can’t think for themselves, follower, classist/racist, and for men there was the added baggage of “Is he a rapist?”.

            There is not the universal acceptance of frat/sorority life that a lot of people seem to think there is.

            Reply
            1. Indigo a la mode

              Regardless of how frat bros are perceived (and I agree with you), dudebros are more relatable to many older businessmen than “party girls” are. They’re more likely to see their old selves in those young men and think fondly of them because of it…as opposed to the party girls who acted exactly like the frat bros did (minus the creepy pack-of-wolves vibe) but are obviously Much Trashier because Girls.

              Reply
      3. WillyNilly

        My circles tend to call them “dude bros”, perhaps because I know a lot of tradespeople, and “frat” has college implications.

        Reply
        1. NLMC

          That’s what we call them too. I do occasionally use frat bro but I think dude bro is the better picture. At least in my mind.

          Reply
        2. Flower

          Yeah, frat boy or dude bro are pretty close to the same thing in my circles, and they’d be the men’s equivalent of “party girl”. (Even in undergrad, dude bro was more common just because I was at a a school without Greek life.)

          However, I kind of understand “frat boy” and “dude bro” to mean men who are legitimately dangerous to others (particularly women), particularly true of a “frat boy” (maybe a little bit moreso than a “dude bro”), whereas a party girl is at most dangerous to herself (via alcohol poisoning and the such). I think I judge the men who fit those labels more harshly than the women who fit the “party girl” label for that reason? But I know society doesn’t see it the same way.

          Reply
          1. Indigo a la mode

            You know, I’d never thought about this before, but my crowd does unconsciously see differences between dudebro and frat boy. I think of the generally jerky smarmy arrogant dudes–not dangerous, just people to look at with amused disdain–as dudebros. Frat boys definitely conjure up an additional feeling of being a creepy pack of wolves on the prowl together.

            Reply
    1. Labradoodle Daddy

      I think it’s also the judgement behind the statement. On the whole women are judged more harshly for behavior that gets a shrug and “boys will be boys” reaction when men engage in the same behavior.

      Reply
    2. Engineer Girl

      Frat boy. Note that both terms use the child name Vs and adult name. (boy,girl). There’s some thought that there’s immaturity involved.

      Reply
    3. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter

      I’m not a native English speaker so I may be wrong, but I would have thought party animal to be a gender neutral term, not male.

      Reply
      1. Hey Karma, Over here.

        It’s kind of like “bastard” to be honest. You can call either a man or a woman a bastard, but it’s typically male. Also, even thought it’s typically male, it has nowhere near the gender belittling (as in lightyears away from) of calling a woman a bitch.

        Reply
      2. Mystery Bookworm

        I’m a native English speaker, and I would consider ‘party animal’ to be gender neutral, so I think you’re right.

        Reply
      3. Lissa

        I also think party animal has different connotations, at least to me. Party animal is sort of just…kind of rowdy and fun, but can be positive, I think of something like “wow, they’re a real party animal over the weekends!” But “party girl” has almost a sexual undertone or at least a “ditzy” one. (Ditzy being another word that is basically never applied to men.)

        Reply
    4. Susie Q

      Agreed. My company didn’t hire a gentleman who was a “trashy reality television show” in college. I’m not sure this is solely a gendered thing.

      But overall, a good update.

      Reply
    5. AnotherAlison

      All I could think of was the old Jackass “Party Boy” skits. Lol. Now his theme song is going to be stuck in my head all day.

      Reply
    6. Jerry

      I think it’s because there isn’t really a gender role for it. The kind of accountability free, wild behavior attributed to a woman who gets the epithet usually just gets men arrested. That’s why there is a level of infantilization in the name. Party GIRL rather than party woman. Think of comparing Robert Downey Junior to Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan

      Reply
      1. Indigo a la mode

        No…the kind of accountability free, wild behavior attributed to “party girls” usually gets men a pat on the back.

        Reply
        1. scribblingTiresias

          *rich, white, straight, abled, well-connected men.

          Gender’s part of it, but it’s not the only part.

          Reply
  7. LadyPhoenix

    You are right that I think everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) has done something…. abso-friggin-lutely dunb in your youth, and we don’t really shake that youthful studpity until maybe 27 (if at all for some).

    So thank you for tackling through the sexist assunptions and such.

    Reply
    1. ElspethGC

      Your brain isn’t done fully maturing until you’re about 25, so you’re pretty much spot on there. The brain generally develops back to front, from what I know, so the final parts to mature in your 20s are the bits that handle abstract empathy, long-term consequences, things like that.

      (Which is incidentally why you can’t diagnose variant brain structures like psychopathy until the person is at least 25. If those bits of the brain aren’t developed by then you can conclude that they’ll always be smaller than average, which is part of what psychopathy is. Up until 25, they might just be developing later than most people.)

      Reply
    2. Trouble

      Yep and I thank the universe every day that mobile phones with cameras and video cams weren’t really a thing until I was in my late 20s. If they’d been around in my late teens/early 20’s when I discovered drinking and clubs, I could be in this young woman’s shoes. There could go any of us had we grown up in a different time. I think we could be careful what we put on Facebook, Instagram whatever in case a future employer does a little background on your social media, but a generation just below me (I’m 38) grew up in a world where everyone has a video cam on their phone and it’s not so abnormal to them to have everything recorded, snap chatted, whats apped. I’ll never learn to like anything but Facebook and a bit of Insta but culture shifted a lot and quickly in those 15-20 years!

      Reply
    3. Indigo a la mode

      This is why I always felt bad about people raging about teenage Miley Cyrus holding a joint or whatever. Like, we all did stupid things as teenagers and especially as young adults. To a point, it’s how you learn who you are. Imagine if all those awkward, reckless, or ridiculous moments in your youth were publicized and scrutinized by the whole world. Yes, you have to expect that kind of thing as a celebrity, but come on, they’re just kids. Much like this candidate.

      Reply
  8. NaomiB

    Good for OP for advocating for this candidate. Old reality show appearances or viral videos, provided they’re not extreme or damaging in some way, really don’t pose much of a reputational risk to companies anymore, IMO.

    I work in PR, and at my last company a few years ago, a blogger discovered that one of our executives (straight-laced, boring married finance guy with three kids) was on one of the first seasons of The Bachelorette. We put out a press release announcing he had been promoted, and the blogger ran a headline that said “ABC Company gives [Executive] A Rose!” It was so dumb, and this guy definitely wasn’t memorable or embarrassing on the show. No one at our company cared or made a big deal out of it, and eventually the blogger lost interest.

    Reply
    1. Observer

      That’s actually pretty funny. It does make the blogger sound like a total idiot. What was the blogger after anyway?

      Reply
      1. NaomiB

        They were basically a gossip blog devoted to our industry (which was not a glamorous one) and trying to drum up something interesting to say.

        Reply
    2. The Man, Becky Lynch

      That blogger must have had a helluva slow news day…

      Out of the hundreds of reality tv people there have been, a contestant who hasn’t pooped on the stairs or spit on someone else in the finale fade into the distance to most of us.

      Where is Pumpkin now tho? Srs questions need answer pls.

      Reply
  9. beanie beans

    Fantastic! Well done, and thank you for standing up to the “party girl” impression! What a great update!

    Reply
    1. JLCBL

      Right? And she seamlessly worked that into her interview! I am beyond impressed with the OP and the candidate because this is just the best possible outcome on all fronts. Kudos, OP!!

      Reply
    2. EddieSherbert

      Once someone points it out to me, I totally could see that as well – but I would never think of that on my own when thinking of reality TV shows… Seriously! Well done, job candidate.

      Reply
  10. Roscoe

    Definitely good to hear. People are so judgmental. They didn’t even see her on the show and decided that she shouldn’t be hired. That is so crappy. It would be different (still not ok IMO) if someone had actually seen it and decided her behavior was horrible.

    Reply
  11. lyonite

    Yes yes, justice, victory, hooray. Now on to the important stuff: What good backstage reality show info have you gotten?

    Reply
  12. Funbud

    “Partyboy”, especially for gay guys, would have been my first suggestion for the male equivalent. “Fratboy” also works, as does “Bro”.

    I’m glad it worked out. Personally, I would’ve turned thumbs down.

    Reply
    1. Lumen

      F**kboy is the first thing that came to mind.

      And sadly, ‘bro’ isn’t nearly as negative as ‘party girl’ – plenty of offices LOVE their ‘bro’ culture. It’s more likely to help a ‘bro’ or a ‘fratboy’ get a job than hinder him.

      (Those offices may also really like ‘party girls’. But not to hire them.)

      Reply
      1. Dragoning

        F–kboy means something totally else, IME Has nothing to do with drinking or partying, everything to do with entitlement.

        Reply
      2. LadyPhoenix

        F*ckboy has a different meaning though. It more has to do with if the do sleeps around or wants to sleep around (and might also be another word used in prison for men who are… yeeeeahhh)

        Reply
        1. Nobby Nobbs

          In the usage I’m familiar with it’s more “sends unsolicited dick pics” than “sleeps around.” Depends on your social circle, I guess.

          Reply
    2. SouthernGuy

      Yep, party boy is pretty common. I don’t think the frat thing applies since not everyone who parties is in a frat. In fact most are not. Not that there’s anything wrong with being in one.

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        Native English speaker here, literally never heard/seen anyone use the term “party boy.”

        And I think the problem with “frat boy” or “frat bro” as a male parallel to “party girl” is that it literally means something. It means the guy is a member of a fraternity. And that won’t always be the case for everyone who has the personality/lifestyle/values/attitude you’re trying to indicate.

        Reply
  13. Lumen

    This is so timely – Winnie Harlow has recently spoken up about how her time on ANTM actually had a negative, career-delaying impact on her modeling, rather than doing anything good for her. Even when she was trying to book jobs in the same industry as the show, being on reality tv hurt her chances with most American agencies.

    And then there’s the Cosby Show alum who was ripped apart for working at Trader Joe’s… it’s a gross cultural kneejerk. But the way it is now, “I was on tv once so I have to do that forever or I may never get another job” just makes no sense.

    OP I’m really glad you stood your ground on this and got a great employee out of it.

    Reply
      1. female peter gibbons

        Yeah, but Winnie Harlow is an EXTREMELY successful model today. I believe her, but I have to wonder if ANTM did indeed help her.

        There are definitely some people from ANTM that have pretty good acting careers these days, like Yaya DaCosta and Analeigh Tipton.

        Reply
        1. CommanderBanana

          It’s sort of known that ANTM winners/contestants tend to fade into obscurity. I may be wrong (it’s been ages since I watched the show) but the contestants are generally 19 or older, and most models start really, really young – think like 13-14 (which is a whole other ball of gross wax in the fashion industry). Starting in your 20s is considered already over the hill in runway model years.

          Reply
        2. Ann O.

          I used to follow ANTM pretty closely. A number of the contestants had post-show success (for example, Elyse, Fatima), although I don’t think there are many who had long-term modeling success. The show doesn’t really help them in the sense of agenting for them, but I do think it helps them initially stand out. Some of them were identified as from ANTM in their work, so they were helped in that way.

          It doesn’t seem to negatively affect anyone, though. Given the timing of Winnie’s success versus when she was on the show, I am skeptical that it delayed her career. I don’t see how it could have! She started having campaigns pretty much right after her cycle aired!

          Reply
    1. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo

      And David Archuleta recently did a very candid interview about how he suffered from PTSD after being on American Idol.

      Reply
  14. Yikes Dude

    You know, I would even bet that her answer about how being on show sparked her interest in marketing is true and despite it being a very different industry she probably did learn transferable skills.

    Reply
  15. The Man, Becky Lynch

    Thank you for the update and thank you for fighting for her. I’m thrilled she’s not only doing great but that people are willing to tell you they were wrong. That’s golden. More so than just getting her to be given the right chance, these people opened their minds a bit bit more in the end. That’s what we need.

    Reply
  16. bdg

    I came really close to being on a reality tv show (just a few years ago, and definitely not college-aged haha). I actually spoke to my company’s HR about it and was surprised that they were so open to the idea. They told me not to be racist or anything, but that was it.

    It’s nice to see companies being a little more open-minded about what’s appropriate for employees!

    Reply
    1. LadyPhoenix

      Yeah, on Hell’s Kitchen, there was this Marine dude that said something sooooo sexist that the Baltimore Marines demanded an investigation (I believe it was that he sends female marines back because he finds them bothersome and incompetant). I believe he got demoted.

      Reply
      1. Bowserkitty

        I remember him and he was a jerk all around. He should have known that would come back on him to his current job.

        Reply
    2. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone

      That reaction from your HR was very odd… Good luck on Survivor, don’t be racist!

      Reply
      1. Rusty Shackelford

        Given the way these shows are run (i.e., they’re not actually that *real* and contestants are forced/encouraged to create memorable characters), I don’t think it’s a bad thing to point out that things you say and do on the show will follow you in the real world (as opposed to the Real World, heh heh).

        Reply
        1. Jaybeetee

          I’ve heard that at least some of the shows deliberately ratchet up the stressful situations to make people more likely to snap and do something… unseemly. And even a relatively minor moment of annoyance gets re-edited/taken out of context/trumped up to make it look like some dramatic angry outburst.

          Some former contestants on The Biggest Loser, of all shows, talked about this. Between being pushed to exhaustion all the time, being always hungry, being holed up with this group 24/7 and away from home and family – yeah, emotional meltdowns of all kinds happen. And then are milked for all they’re worth. I can’t remember their names now, but there were two brothers on there ages and ages ago who were infamous for a lot of weeping and hugging and way emo moments, and they chalked it up to that and both said they’re both normally much more staid in their regular lives.

          Reply
          1. The Man, Becky Lynch

            The isolation from family and true reality also is why shows get drastic results. Speaking of Biggest Loser, that’s why just about everyone drops a ton of weight and pile it right back on after taping. It’s extremely healthy both mentally and physically:(

            Reply
            1. Ada Lovelace

              Absolutely. I have a HS friend who competed on Biggest Loser; one of the most intelligent, ambitious, and kind people I’ve ever met. She was always a bit overweight in HS and after, but she lost so much weight during the show. She has spoken out on how the show helped in some aspects but the diet, training regimens, and isolation all did mental and physical damage.

              Reply
              1. Elizabeth Proctor

                This is all why Great British Baking Show is the best reality show around. No manufactured drama, no fighting among contestants, no crazy prize. Just people who love to bake trying to be the best while also being good people who help others. And they get to go home in between weekends!

                Reply
          2. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo

            Numerous former contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette also talked about this. They have to stay in the mansion 24/7 when they’re not on dates or doing group activities. They are not allowed to have TV, Internet access, phones, books, newspapers – really, any contact with the outside world. The one thing they do have is lots of alcohol. All that time being holed up with nothing to do except drink and interact with each other is quite the recipe for fights and meltdowns!

            Reply
      2. The Man, Becky Lynch

        I’m hoping that’s the paraphrasing of the conversation.

        I’m assuming HR is saying “do it but if you’re racist or otherwise terrible, we are probably going to cut ties with you.”

        That’s how my company looks at these things. Drunken silliness and hot tub hookups, whatever, have fun. Be a bigot and we will care.

        Reply
  17. H.C.

    What a fantastic update; had a similar incident in my ExJob, but I wasn’t part of that hiring process & it didn’t go well at all (VP found out about candidate as a reality show contestant and then just yip-yapped to everyone involved w hiring for that opening about it – that candidate didn’t make it through first round interviews despite having an impressive writing portfolio)

    Reply
  18. Rbeezy

    Good for you, OP! Way to champion another woman and to recognize and call out sexism when you see it. This update made me so happy.

    Reply
  19. ATX Language Learner

    This is such a wonderful update! Thank you OP for standing your ground – it is inspiring!

    And indeed – we have all made some interesting decisions in our college years :D

    Reply
  20. LaDeeDa

    My boss has been a contestant on several game shows, and she is horrible on every one!! She is usually the first to lose, on one she missed the first question a 5th grader would know.

    Reply
    1. Phil

      I SMOKED them on Jeopardy in 1992.
      Then was a “contestant” for people who developed shows. We’d play, see if it worked, if it didn’t what to change. It was fun.

      Reply
  21. Snow Drift

    My career field’s annual conference just announced this year’s speakers. One of them was on a reality show, and is being straight-forwardly advertised as such. (“You may know John Doe best from The Amazing Race. When he’s not racing across the globe, John is an infosec expert in yabba, dabba, and doo.”)

    Reply
  22. Colorado

    Awesome update! Good for you for being the advocate! and I loved this line…didn’t mean she’d be Coyote Ugly-ing on the reception desk if we hired her. I’d love to hear all about the behind the scenes of reality TV if I worked with her.

    Reply
  23. Roscoe

    I was on a reality show many years ago (very little watched show). It was only around a week of filming. At this job, I got a ton of vacation time, so I just took like 6 days of PTO or something. A few of my co-workers new, but I didn’t tell my manager or anything. Once it was about to air, they wanted me to go on the local news and do a segment promoting it. My company had recently been in the news for something not great, so at that point, I decided to talk to my manager, who made me go to our PR team. Lets just say they were NOT happy I went on a reality show and didn’t ask them first. When I argued that they really had no say in what I did while using vacation time, they didn’t like that either. But they basically knew I was right, so just told me how to handle things if our “controversial” issue came up. It didn’t, and everything was fine. But it still amazes me how much companies think they can control that stuff.

    Reply
    1. SS Express

      They can’t control what you do in your spare time, but they often can control whether you keep your job with them

      Reply
    2. Quasimodo

      That’s a really strange reaction from your employer – unless you’re leaving out part of the story.
      IME, a lot of companies/management (and in some cases, 20-something sycophantic shills for management) seem to get REALLY shook if you “go outside your lane” or have any accomplishments unrelated to your job.

      Reply
      1. OfOtherWorlds

        If they had recently been in the news for something bad, it’s possible that the PR department was in damage control mode and didn’t want anyone from the company talking to the media if at all possible, so that the envent would be out of the news cycle asap. And I can see a reporter ambushing Roscoe with questions about her or his employer’s bad behavior. Depending on who the employer was and what they’d done, I might even approve.

        Reply
    3. HBucket

      I love how the company tried to make your interview about the reality show all about them. Sheesh! (Was it Amazing Race??)

      Reply
  24. Thimbledore

    I am absolutely in love with this update. It’s so easy to write people off for flimsy reasons, but this shows you can really cheat yourself by not keeping an open mind.

    Reply
  25. Kate

    I actually worked with someone for months who seemed vaguely familiar to me, but who I assumed was just “someone I may know” on Facebook or something like that. Found out later I actually knew her because she was on a documentary reality show like eight years ago, and that experience is actually what inspired her to go into our shared profession as well. There are plenty of people who make bad TV in short spurts, but usually a person who has been filmed for months on end possesses above average communication and interpersonal skills — certainly great pluses to have in marketing! Glad you stuck to your guns and that this story has a happy ending for you, OP.

    Reply
  26. DE

    What a great update! So glad you stuck with your professional instincts. It goes to show that perspective coupled with experience is important. Kudos and congrats to you and the new hire!

    Reply
  27. P

    Way to go OP and Reality Candidate!
    I actually would think it was pretty cool that someone had tried something like that; barring them demonstrating terrible behavior on the show of course.
    I think this echos what Allison stressed “a strong candidate is a strong candidate, and will have a good response if you ask them about [whatever thing is giving pause]”

    Reply
  28. HBucket

    That’s a great update. IMO, people who do those kind of shows have to have a pretty fair amount of confidence and strong personality. If she is in marketing now, that sounds like a pretty great fit.

    (Also, her name is Snookie, isn’t it? You can tell me…)

    Reply
  29. Janna

    So pleased that doing that right thing benefitted everyone – you, the candidate and the company – a really lovely update.

    Reply

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