Top Recruiter Reality Show Faces Harsh Criticism On Social Media

The Top Recruiter reality show is ramping up for season three. Over the years, it has garnered some decent press coverage from media companies like ERE, CBS, Forbes, and others. On June 13th, LinkedIn wrote about the series in a piece called “When Recruiting Meets Reality TV.” The comments made in the piece were enough to push several talent acquisition professionals over the edge, which in turn, sparked a lot of debate on social media about the show.

See this thread from Chris Hoyt’s Facebook feed for some insight. At the time of this article, there are over 172 comments with differing views.



The two biggest concerns shared by Chris Hoyt and others on Facebook and Google+ focus on the inflated viewership claims made by the producers and the image of the industry that is being represented.

The Viewership Claims

On Facebook, Chris Hoyt states:

Need a sample of why I’m personally struggling with TR?
Highest viewed TR video on Yt: Episode 1 | Top Recruiter, The Competition Miami Reality Show
It has over 500k views yet received less than 60 comments. In going through the list of comments, only a handful have pictures and/or seem to me to be real people. As an example, here is the a random profile of a commentor: — Do you see the same pattern here that I do? Incidentally, this is more than likely the 20th time I’ve grabbed a random sample to see the same pattern of comments that clearly give me the impression of “paid for” media responses.

Other contributors to the Facebook thread offered more evidence to support this claim:

Lance Haun shared these two charts to illustrate the concern over Top Recruiter’s viewership claims.

TR viewership

Lance points out that there should be some “earned media” from the video after garnering 200,000 views. He shared this image as an example of what the viewership trend should look like if the views were organic, not purchased.

tr comparison

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Note that Top Recruiter Episode 1 was only shared four times and only 26 people subscribed to the channel. The video with over 200,000 organic views received 828 new subscriptions and was shared 87 times. Also, the flat-line after the initial 200,000 views is concerning. There should have been some “earned media coverage” as Lance calls it, based on the 200,000 initial views.

Image Concerns

In full disclosure, I’m a minimalist. I recently drove a PT Cruiser until the motor mounts broke and the engine actually fell out. I work hard to teach my children that success has nothing to do with flashy clothes and fast cars. For that reason, I’ve always been turned off by excess, including houses that are too big and overpriced cars. No offense to those who like this element of the show but that has always been a turnoff to me. Bill Boorman echoed this sentiment in this statement left on Facebook.

Chris Hoyt, hat tip to you. My feeling about the whole thing is a bit different. I dislike anything that equates that you have to be beautiful to be successful, or that success is equated to champagne, fast cars, expensive clothes and the whole Miami Vice 80’s thing. It is a parody of recruiting, and the top recruiters. The body beautiful thing is what causes eating disorders in young people, and the whole champagne thing leads to debt and despair. Im not sure if this is considered in the making of the show. I cant support champagne and fast cars as the sign of success.

What does all of this mean?

First of all, we should recognize that there has been a lot of work put into this show. The production value is excellent and the editing is superb. My personal opinions about flashy cars, expensive champagne, and mansions should have nothing to do with whether or not sponsors should join in the cause or viewers should watch the show. Everyone will have their own opinions about this and will come to their own conclusions.  However, buying Youtube views and social media followers is an entirely separate issue. Sponsors are giving money based on viewership claims. If those claims are inflated the sponsors aren’t getting what they thought they would get with regard to exposure.

What do you think? Does it look like the TopRecruiter team bought the Youtube views? Do you think the show gives an accurate view of the recruiting profession?

Jeremy Roberts, SPHR, is VP, Customer Experience at HiringSolved. He is the previous Editor of SourceCon. Prior to joining the ERE Media team, he spent over a decade working as a recruiter, sourcer, and sourcing manager. This time was spent in diverse environments, including third party agency settings (retained and contingent), recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers, and internal corporate HR departments. His previous employers include the MHA Group, Ajilon Finance, Korn Ferry Futurestep, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, and Randstad Sourceright, US. He resides in Corinth, TX with his wife and 3 children.


15 Comments on “Top Recruiter Reality Show Faces Harsh Criticism On Social Media

  1. Well Boorman, i can’t support dumpy guys in t-shirts and dumb looking hats as representitive of success in our industry. So the feeling is mutual. I’ll take my recruiters polished up and not looking homeless, thank you very much. We could do with a more classy image to be taken a bit more seriously. Eating disorders? Seriously? How are the fish and chips?

    1. Thanks for your comments Sandra. You prove the point in question better than I ever could.

  2. Hi, Sandra. Because your comment doesn’t link to you here on Sourcecon, I’m wondering if you can validate that this is the correct profile of you I’m seeing on LinkedIn? (see pic.) In the meantime, it’s hard for me to get past your insults to Bill in your comments and I’m hoping that you can restate your case without the personal attacks related to his appearance and dress… Thanks!

  3. I watched most of the first season and found it amusing. When season 2 started I bailed. Recruiting it is not. Reality show it is. I’d rather watch Deadliest Catch!

  4. Some people just cannot stand the idea that someone, somewhere, is having a better time of it. Champagne and fast cars are not indicators of success, but likewise they are not exactly markers of abject failure. I also find it a reach to think that people will equate hardcore headhunters with the nice people at large corporations who process job applications. That conflation happens too often in our own industry, but likely doubtful in the wider world….

    PS, Sandra is a tough cookie who goes hard on everyone. That’s her thing. Fat and bald is perfectly beautiful, at least in my office!

  5. Seems some are mixing up the appearance vs the deliverables – something our industry above all others should know is talent exists everywhere regardless of look, size, etc. Judging people by how they look not only overlooks amazing individuals (at your own cost) but it also fools you into being influenced by those that are appearance over substance (at your own cost, again). To hear a recruiter put so much stock into how one appears is a serious concern for all those impacted by such dangerous mindset. For the record – I hung up my suit and tie in 2006 when I left corporate leadership to work in the start up space – an environment where your live and die by your actions / deliverables and BS like how you dress has little to influence success or failure.

    1. Too damn right Dave – very well said. Also – in terms of personal branding and being remembered long after meeting them, clean cut in a suit does VERY little for me and most I talk to. FAR too many of them to ever stick out. As personal brands go, I think Bill long been onto an absolute winner.

  6. My take… the world is big enough for all of us. The show itself is entertaining. I’m not sure Mr Hoyt’s criticism is understood by most people because it’s a long term approach to an industry / job function. And, it’s been my experience that, most people just don’t think in META terms. Also, with all forms of entertainment, you can easily not support something by not watching, not following, etc. I believe Chris was trying to take the high road by talking about making the profession better… which isn’t necessary the role of a TV show. And, who’s to say that it won’t. Truth is… none of us really know but it’s a worthy discussion to have.

    Here’s the thing… I respect Chris and his take… and I firmly believe that no thing or person is above criticism (myself included). I believe Voltaire said it best “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Turns out… he was fairly smart.

  7. So here’s my take on the questions you posted Jeremy… for whatever it’s worth:

    1) Do I think the TR team bought views? Absolutely. Doesn’t really make sense any other way. Is that in and of itself a big deal? Not at all, unless you use the inflated numbers to get sponsorship dollars… and I have no idea whether Lavoie Entertainment did that or not. Either way, it’s part of the job of the sponsorship team in any marketing department to do their due diligence (and that’s a pretty easy thing to call out, based off the charts that have been shared).

    2) Do I think it’s elevating our profession? Not really. At best, it’s a very abstract representation of what recruiters spend a fraction of their time doing. In my opinion, it seems more of a hyper-sexualized, over-glamorized piece of entertainment that I rank right around the level of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But hey, from an entertainment standpoint, most everyone loves a good train wreck & the production is PRETTY and very well done, no doubt about it. I don’t take issue with the show for that, nor anyone on it… I just don’t promote that, nor personally agree with it.

    The real issue I have with TR is the bullying that’s been done on and off social networks by Lavoie Entertainment, along with some of the cast members. It’s a big enough world that we don’t all have to like the show and there’s still room for it – without being heckled, summarily dismissed, and BULLIED. Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t make you bitter; just because you don’t care for something doesn’t make you jealous. Just because you don’t see eye-to-eye doesn’t mean your detractor is from “yesteryear” – and those are all things being said about well-respected people in our industry who don’t like the show. THAT, in my estimation, is what’s truly the worst part of the Top Recruiter. It’s hard to want to elevate bullies, in any format.

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