World of Staffing Shines in Pop Culture Limelight

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New Reality Series, Celebrity Directors Push Employment Conversation to Forefront

“The Job,” a new reality series on CBS, presents issues in the staffing world and throws in glitz, glam, and — most importantly — drama. The show lines up candidates in a race to earn real positions at successful companies, such as an editorial assistant position at Cosmopolitan magazine.

While the show seems to embrace ridiculousness (incorporating dramatic elements from other reality TV competitions such as “The Voice”), it does bring to light prevalent concerns in staffing and recruiting, including the importance of preparedness, professional appearance, and the difficulty of finding the right fit for a position.

The show’s premise is receiving mixed reviews. The New York Times stated that entry level positions do not deserve such attention, saying that “Spending an hour of prime time trumpeting a job like editorial assistant as if it’s a career-crowning achievement somehow diminishes what’s happening in the real employment world.”

Others are using the premiere of the show to engage in an open dialogue about career seeking. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is encouraging advice from HR professionals in light of the show’s release, and answers are flooding in on the site’s blog. The top two pieces of advice thus far include “spell check your resume” and “have a professional email address.”

“The Job” isn’t the only instance in which staffing has taken the stage in pop culture. A staffing trend gaining momentum is placing A-List celebrities into positions of importance at large companies: Justin Timberlake was named Creative Director for Bud Light Platinum and Alicia Keys was recently named BlackBerry’s Creative Director. In Timberlake’s new position, he is to provide “creative, musical and cultural curation for the brand,” according to the company.

While the companies cite utilizing the stars’ creative brilliance as reasoning for their recent additions, many speculate that the celebrity staffing push is predominantly a marketing technique.

Still others say it could be a “win-win” for corporations and customers. The ability to relate to a celebrity rather than an unrecognizable executive could enhance a brand’s ability to share their message, a power that has potential to be used for good.

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