Hiring like Miss America. Four mistakes you may be making

By Natalie Pike,
September 16, 2014

After reading a recent Inc article, I noticed how similar participating in a beauty pageant and job interviewing can seem. Here is what I took away from it:

Being talented, answering questions to the best of your abilities, and looking better than ever…what do you think of when you read these qualities? A job interview? A beauty pageant? You may think these traits should apply to both, but they really shouldn’t.

On Sunday night, Miss New York was crowned as Miss America 2015 for the third year in a row. Kira Kazantsev kept the New York streak going, while Courtney Paige Garrett, Miss Virginia, was the first runner-up. What makes Miss America different from Miss USA though? Among other reasons, Miss America has a talent portion. In fact, according to a Bustle article, “talent is the most important portion of the competition – it accounts for 35 percent of each contestant’s final score.” After some thought, we realized this is very similar to what most people think about job interviews. 

If you are following pageant protocol, here are four mistakes you are making when hiring. 

1. It’s all about the looks 

I’m sure we all wouldn’t mind some extra eye candy around the office, but really, what does that have to do with the job itself and getting what needs to be done, done…right? If anything, it would only cause more of a distraction. Obviously, being beautiful is a major factor when deciding who will win Miss America. However, this shouldn’t be included in the job description. Don’t get me wrong, the candidate should be dressed professionally, but it’s important to consider what this person will do for your company, not just what they look like.  

2.  Hiring from the same place

Like I said before, this is the third year in a row where Miss New York has won. It looks like they know what they’re doing. This is not something you should consider when hiring the best candidate possible. Is every hire going to come from the same previous company? I sure hope not. As we all know, Amazon and Google are known for their amazing culture and employees, but this doesn’t mean you should rule out someone because they are coming from a start-up down the street instead.

3. Expect an end result in the 20 second time slot. 

Miss America contestants are always asked difficult, intense questions that really require some deep thought and consideration. What they say in the given 20 seconds can change their entire life for either the good or the bad. We’ve all seen the video below, of Miss South Carolina answering a geography question.  Que awkwardness in 3…2…1…

Such as…I’m sure if she had more than 20 seconds, she could have came up with a better, more educated answer.  When hiring, you want candidates to answer your questions with a clear answer on how to fix major company problems. How are they supposed to do this in under a minute? Consider giving them the question in advance, inform them of the issues at hand, and have them present a quality answer and solution. 

4. Conversation is non-existent

Last but not least, there is nothing worse than an interview with zero conversation. You ask the candidate a question and they answer. Back and forth, back and forth. This is the protocol for a beauty pageant. The judge asks the question and the contestant answers. They don’t have a chance to ask anything in return. If you want the best employee for your company, there needs to be a conversation. Not only do you want them to be a perfect fit for your business, you want them to want that as well. So, make sure to ask if they have questions for you, too. 

Let’s put away the glitzy dresses and bikini tops and focus on what’s important – the knowledge, passion and abilities of your future employees. 


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About the Author

Natalie is the Marketing Strategist, responsible for knowing the ins and outs of the SMB Industry, educating prospects on hiring best practices and positioning Hireology as a thought leader in the SMB space. She started at Hireology in 2014, writing blogs, planning events and managing the various social media platforms. Prior to working in the “real world,” she attended Purdue University (Boiler Up!) majoring in Broadcast Communications and competing on the Women’s Water Polo Team.

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