It is likely that ‘anxious’, ‘nerve-racking’ and ‘daunting’ feature high on this list. Take equal parts of First Dates, The Apprentice and any job interview you have ever attended and you will get an idea of what Channel 4’s The Job Interview is all about.
The success of shows such as One Born Every Minute and 24 Hours in A&E have proven that, alongside dramas and soap operas, we like to tune in to watch a little slice of everyday life. Channel 4 had wanted to make a show focusing on the workplace for many years and the producers are confident that The Job Interview has documented the anxiety that interviews induce in an authentic and relatable way.
Many fixed-rig shows are set up, either fully or partly, to guarantee what is regarded in the industry as good television. Participants are often cast because their personality or story fits with what the producers are looking for; however, The Job Interview has been approached in a different way.
Simon Dickson, The Job Interview’s co-creator, explained that the producers had no control over the interviewees. The jobs were all entirely real, were advertised widely, and were overseen by a recruiter who was independent from the show. Company bosses had full control over the candidates they invited for interview, ensuring the process was undertaken in exactly the same way as if the cameras were not there.
Asked whether he was concerned at any point throughout the process, Dickson confessed that he was apprehensive that the interviewees would be uninteresting. All he could do was watch the process unfold, rendering him just as nervous as the interviewees.
Each episode features two different employers as they interview their shortlisted candidates in a Westminster office fitted with concealed cameras; however, this is not a hidden camera show. The applicants were aware they were being filmed and the cameras were concealed in an attempt to cause no further unnecessary anxiety to the interviewees.
Dickson was immediately struck by how quickly the candidates forgot about the presence of cameras once their investment in securing the role took over.
The whole team was encouraged by how much genuine passion each candidate demonstrated for the role they were hoping to secure. Featuring jobs in customer service and fashion PR, the roles had different salaries but the nerves and anticipation from each candidate were the same.
Alongside documenting the successful marriage of role, boss and candidate, The Job Interview recognises how tough the UK job market currently is, with the sheer desperation of some interviewees clear to see. The commissioner of the show, Madonna Benjamin, hopes that it will help people to avoid making the mistakes that are so easy to make in high-pressured job interview environments.
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