Hiring the best candidate for the position of director of social media is a daunting task on its own, but when you throw in the fact that your hiring process and your final decision will be under the scrutiny of millions of people, the task can be even more daunting.
However, that didn't stop Howard Brodsky, CEO of David Barton Gym, New York, from taking part in a new TNT TV series, "Inside Job," which premiered last Friday. The episode featuring David Barton Gym is scheduled to run on March 14.
"When I was approached by the casting director and the producer, I had to think long and hard before deciding to do the show because I'm a fairly private person," Brodsky says. "However, in the end, I felt this was an unparalleled opportunity to give viewers an inside look at what makes David Barton Gym the most unique gym in the country."
The gist of the show is that four people live together for five consecutive days as they compete for a six-figure job at a big company, and only one of them will get the job. The hook of the show is that one of the candidates, unbeknownst to the other three, already works for the company and is reporting back to the high-level executive about the three.
"They are there to find out more about the other three than they would reveal under the normal circumstances," says Star Price, one of the executive producers of "Inside Job." "It's a little bit of sneakiness, but it is a very high-class show, very polished. It's a smart, competitive show with a little fun."
The producers shot six episodes this fall, each with a different company. The other companies featured are Mazda, Johnny Rocket, House of Blues, Abbyson Living and Shoedazzle.com.
Brodsky worked with the producers to develop the two challenges, one of which was to design a brand new fitness class at David Barton's West Los Angeles gym and then market and lead the class for nonmembers. The goal was to get across the feel of the brand and get people to sign up as members. The second challenge was to work with a graffiti artist to develop a mural on the Venice boardwalk that communicated the David Barton brand. They then had to get the mural to become a social media event.
"I chose the challenges to see how quickly the candidates were able to think on their feet, how well they work in a team environment, and their ability to interact and engage with the public," Brodsky says. "I also wanted a better look at how their personalities might fit with the David Barton Gym culture."
Brodsky was in Los Angeles for the five days of filming and acted as the de facto host of the show for that episode. The final three candidates were selected by the producers of the show. Price says they were picked for their qualifications, not for their reality TV show appeal. Brodsky chose the insider.
Brodsky made his final decision based on his interaction with the candidates, watching the challenges live and talking to his insider.
"Ultimately, my insider made it an easy decision for me because they know the David Barton Gym brand inside and out and have an amazing work ethic and love of the brand," Brodsky says.
Brodsky may not be ready to implement such a time-consuming and public selection process for all future candidates, but he says that in future candidate interviews, he will ask questions that challenge job candidates to think quickly and not offer canned answers.
"As anyone who has hired someone in the past knows, sometimes someone can be very impressive in the 30-minute interview and you bring them on and you think, 'What was I thinking? I got conned,'" Price says. "The reason we got such great brands, including David Barton Gym, to do the show was because we presented them with three really qualified people, and it gave them the peace of mind that they weren't getting conned."
Price says Brodsky picked the best person for the job, but Brodsky will have to wait a while longer to confirm that. Until the show airs, the winner cannot start the job or risk spoiling the ending of the episode.