Top Recruiter Reality Show Faces Harsh Criticism On Social Media

Jul 7, 2014
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

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


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?

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.