Education Career Services

February 4, 2009

American Idol and Career Management

Okay, I’ll admit it, I watched American Idol last night (along with 28 million other viewers).


Being a career management professional, I began paralleling the show with current career management techniques.  Oddly enough, similar philosophical and practical approaches surfaced in a matter of seconds.  Before you begin shaking your head in disbelief, give me a moment to explain.


Breaking it down, American Idol and Career Management carry the following characteristics:


  1. Candidates are asked a few introductory questions and then (within seconds) are required to “show” what they have to offer
  2. A panel of judges decide instantly to sever their relationship or allow a second interview/audition
  3. External and non-relative variables are introduced in the mix and used to support decisions (yes, even in “objective” interviews, this happens)
  4. Additional filtering rounds become increasingly difficult
  5. Candidates often leave the process not knowing exactly what the judges (or company) is looking for
  6. The arena is extremely emotional and often those not going to the next round tear or lash out
  7. There is a stereotypical good guy/bad guy setting (need I detail where Simon and Paula fit in this category, I’m not so sure about the other guy and the new girl)
  8. Candidates are judged not only on their skill, but on their added value, ie marketability
  9. While there is an appearance the judges (or interviewers) appear to be concerned about the individual, truth be known, it’s all about the bottom-line
  10. And finally, there is only one winner; one candidate will be offered the position or one person will be the next Clay or Kelly

As for me, tonight I will be watching round two.  Not so much for the singing, but perhaps Simon will accidently offer insightful interview and networking tips.


For those looking for career transitions or for students looking to gain access to the employment market, get your pen and paper out and prepare yourself for career management 101 by way of Fox and American Idol. 


Let me know what you find out,


Danny Huffman

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