TV Review/Interview: MTV’s “Hired”

By Nicki Karimipour

In the early ’80s, MTV launched as a platform for music videos but, in the nearly 30 years since the network first hit television screens across the country, MTV has also become a pop culture phenomenon.

The network has gone from spinning the hottest tracks on now-defunct shows like Total Request Live to providing a show that addresses the growing predicament recent college graduates find themselves in with a tanked economy.

With an increasingly competitive job market, MTV’s response to the sour economy is Hired, a documentary series that premiered on May 17.

The show’s premise came from executive producer and creator Noah Scheinmann’s experience with the negative state of the job market.

“It all started with an idea at the end of 2008,” Scheinmann said. “It came about from looking at stories being done about how difficult it is to get a job—just depressing material. But I thought: Is there something here that’s inspirational? So I brought the idea to MTV and they loved the idea of something relevant to today and the economy. It needed to be completely from the perspective of the employers and the young people looking for jobs. If they focus around their passion, there’s something to be said about that.”

This show seeks to uncover the secrets of breaking into the job market at a difficult time, providing a documentary-like feel for job hunters.

Hired follows a group of young people as they pursue their dream jobs in various industries including fashion, personal fitness, cosmetics, blogging and even a vineyard coordinator.

The candidates vie for one position and their experiences are chronicled until the very end of the episode, where one person receives their dream job.

Each episode features one company, and of the 20 episodes completed so far, 9 have taken place in the New York Area, 10 in the greater Los Angeles area and one in San Francisco.

Upon receiving their dream job, the chosen candidate may have to relocate from their hometown, often facing the sacrifices that come with it.

“There were 20 companies who really embraced the idea and worked with [the potential employees],” Scheinmann said. “It was important for us to have a variety of diverse companies so that people can watch and see something they are interested in.”

Along with its competitive edge, producers wanted the show to have some heart, and show the human side of job-hunting as well as the drama that inevitably comes with the experience.

The series has garnered much acclaim through various avenues of social media, which gave an instant response.

Some college students have said the show not only helped them beef up their résumés and interview skills, but also kept them entertained.

Much of the skill building comes from the show’s “secret weapon,’ career coach Ryan Kahn, who provides advice and often some “tough love” to those looking to break into the job of their dreams.

Remembering some basic interview tips can make a world of difference.

Being prepared (that means doing preliminary research about the company you’re applying to), bringing a copy of your résumé, trying to relax and setting aside enough time to show up early to the interview all send positive messages to your potential employer.

When asked about his advice for recent Florida State graduates looking for a job or internship in highly-competitive fields such as entertainment, advertising, journalism or the like, Scheinmann recommends working hard and sticking with what you love.

“First off, figure out what you love to do and pursue that,” Scheinmann said. “It really shows, especially to potential employers, when people are passionate about the job they love. It becomes less of an interview and more of a conversation. Number two, be yourself. It may sound elementary, but sometimes it’s easy to forget. Thirdly, don’t be frustrated by rejection and understand that things don’t always go as you wanted them to in the beginning.”

For those students who are currently on the job hunt, don’t fall into common pitfalls like blasting your résumé everywhere without personalizing it.

When asked about Career Coach Kahn’s most frequently-doled advice, Scheinmann says that Kahn advises potential applicants not to underestimate this key point: “Focus on a few places that you really want to get the job and really personalize it. You can tell when they’ve applied and sent the same cover letter and resume to hundreds of people. While it may get you in the door, it ultimately won’t get you the job.”

MTV’s Hired airs weekdays at 4:30 p.m. EST. Check local listings for more information.

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