A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

The Dating Game & Selection Processes

My mom didn’t let me watch a lot of TV when I was younger and she certainly drew the line at anything “risque.”  The popular game show, The Dating Game, was among the many shows that were “off limits”!


However, my friend’s mom had no such reservations!  That being said, one would often find a bunch of silly school girls on their couch drooling over bachelors on the show and willing the bachelorette to choose who we thought was best!


Little did I know then that my career in Human Resources would find me doing similar things.


Selection processes are like The Dating Game! 

Of course, there are not as many great looking participants but trust me, there are about as many onlookers hoping and willing the Hiring Manager to choose the best one!


For those of you old enough to have watched the game show prime time (or desperate enough to have watched it in syndication), you’ll remember that typically, a bachelorette would question three bachelors in an attempt to find someone who was “compatible” or “interesting enough” to date.  The game show would then pay for the date.


In The Dating Game, the bachelors were hidden from the bachelorette so she didn’t make her decision on looks alone.


HR professionals facilitate similar “blind” selection processes. 

We strive to ensure only job related and relevant information is given to the Hiring Manager in an effort to make the playing field “fair.”


In The Dating Game, the bachelorette asked the bachelors a series of questions to determine what the men were like “on the inside.”

While I do remember a few bachelorettes asking about the number of women the bachelor may have kissed, the number of girlfriends they may have had, etc., most of the interviews were absent “time in grade” or “technical competency” questions.  Instead, the lighthearted interview focused on behaviors, interests and values.


These interviews are not unlike the behavioral ones we use to identify valuable and relevant information about our applicants! 

We often tell Hiring Managers that “time in grade” is not proof of adding value or quality. We train and encourage them to explore the candidate’s behaviors and thinking processes. We encourage them to identify the candidates’ values to ensure alignment with our company’s guiding principles.


In The Dating Game, the audience played a major role in the selection process. 

The audience, who knew what the bachelors looked like, how they dressed, how they interacted with others, etc. willed the bachelorette to choose a particular bachelor by clapping loud, cheering, booing, etc.


HR professionals are influential too.

Hiring Managers often seek our advice on candidate selection.  And, like The Dating Game’s audience, HR has some advantages.  We are the first to meet the candidate, we may have had the opportunity to see him/her in person, we may have some knowledge about how he/she interacts with others, etc. 

Certainly our expertise and insight should give us the right to heavily influence the Hiring Manager!


Right?                Tell me I’m right!             I love being right!
Alas, I’m not always right!


You may remember that The Dating Game offered some “where are they now?” shows highlighting certain couples – those that were still dating, those whose relationships had fizzled out, those that were disastrous.  I loved these episodes and was always surprised when I learned that one of my “matches” was in the disastrous bucket!


Could it be that the person’s looks and nonverbal communication had too much influence on my decisions?


Could it be that I did not know what the bachelorette wanted in an “ideal mate”?

Dare I ask if I allowed my own perception of what was ideal cloud my advice to the inquisitive bachelorette?


Could it be that a few lighthearted questions are simply not good enough to determine longevity in the relationship?


HR Professionals could learn a little something from this.


Perhaps we put too much emphasis on looks and interactions the candidate has with us.


Perhaps we fail to fully understand what the Hiring Manager’s objectives are and therefore, fall short in finding and promoting a candidate that is a good fit!


Perhaps we put our own opinions and objectives ahead of those of the Hiring Manager!


Say it isn’t so!


I’ll leave you with this…take some time to produce your own “where are they now?” episodes with the last year of new hires.  Which ones are still going strong, which fizzled out and which ones were disastrous?


What if anything, can you learn?



About the Series

I declared May, “the month of fun”!  I’ve always enjoyed watching game shows and I know there are lessons to be learned while watching some healthy competition!  That being said, I asked some trusted colleagues to write a guest post about a game show and their lessons learned as it pertains to their career.

Bert Doerhoff wrote Jeopardy and Business.

Kalani Parnell wrote A Minute To Win It and Leadership.

Buzz Roonery wrote Password and Leadership.

Steve Browne wrote Let’s Make a Deal and HR.

And, of course, I wrote this piece on The Dating Game.

I hope you have enjoyed them!



FairnessHuman ResourcesRecruitmentRetentionRole of HRSelection ProcessStaffingValueWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • May 29, 2012

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