Headhunting Gets Its Own Simon Cowell

Bravo is airing a one-hour special tonight that may do for executive headhunting what Simon Cowell did for talent shows.

In the space of 60 minutes (commercials included), Wendy Doulton dispenses such bits of advice to her six-figure job candidates as “You need to lose the cleavage,” and “You make me feel like taking a nap.”

Born in the U.S., educated in London, Doulton’s blunt, unvarnished advice is delivered, in a clipped British accent. “A résumé should be like a skirt,” she declares. “Long enough to cover the basics, short enough to keep them interested.”

Doulton’s delivery may be all Cowell, and her bedside manner runs more to Gregory House than Marcus Welby, but she gets results. She manages the boutique headhunting firm she founded in Hollywood Katalyst Career Group, after stints as head of talent acquisition at Yahoo Media Group, and at DreamWorksSKG.

Her client list includes all the big names; Fox, Google, Amazon, Discovery, VEOH Networks, and Grey Advertising, are just a sample.

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The aptly named show, “The Headhuntress,” includes what amounts to a makeover of two job seekers. One prattles on about astrology. The other admits to having appeared in porn films. Doulton turns them into candidates you would be proud to present.

Whether the show will become a Bravo series isn’t clear. Maybe it depends on how well the “interview” goes, something we could find out by monitoring #headhuntress on Twitter. Doulton will be taking questions and feedback during the broadcast tonight at that hashtag. Follow the show at theheadhuntress.

She’ll also join Jessica Miller-Merrell of “Blogging4Jobs” at #JobHuntChat at 10 p.m. ET tonight to answer job-seeker questions.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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22 Comments on “Headhunting Gets Its Own Simon Cowell

  1. This is great. The recruiting community obviously does not have enough of a freak contingent. Now this. It seems so sad to me.

  2. Thanks, Todd. We’ll see how “The Headhuntress” does.
    @ Howard: I wish her well, because this gives me a better shot at getting my two newest projects “green-lighted”:
    “The Real Recruiters of Silicon Valley” and “Project Nerdway”…. Meanwhile, “America’s Gotta Get a Job” is tied up in “development hell”…

    – Keith “No Entourage Yet” Halperin

  3. You can get all the interview advice from an agency you want – if you don’t have the specific examples, situational behaviors, and concrete results with data to support your experiences – a good interviewer will tear you into pieces.

    With all the hoopla surrounding jobs – I can see this becoming a big deal quickly, and us on the corporate side seeing some really poor interview technique as a result of people thinking advice for some lost soul who did porn is relevant to their 20 years in the pharma industry.

  4. You can get all the interview advice from an agency you want – if you don’t have the specific examples, situational behaviors, and concrete results with data to support your experiences – a good interviewer will tear you into pieces.

    With all the hoopla surrounding jobs – I can see this becoming a big deal quickly, and us on the corporate side seeing some really poor interview technique as a result of people thinking advice meant for some lost soul who did porn is relevant to their 20 years in the pharma industry.

  5. @John: Sorry for the mixup- I meant you, not Todd.

    @Drew: I don’t think accurate, relevant advice is part of the intent. My viewing experience with this kind of show says the goal is to create fame for subject/host, with opportunities for ancillary revenue streams. When the main person(s) is(are) the subject(s) or the guest(s) (as opposed to being the host/judge), they’re usually shown as driven and often shallow and greedy, unless they’re made to be the favorite and we’re meant to like them. It’s almost a variation on pro wrestling….

    Here’s one for our Gentle Readers:
    Q: What’s the difference between professional wrestling and professional recruiting?
    A: Not everybody thinks professional wrestling is fake and sleazy.

    Cheers,

    Keith “Fake and Sleazy Since 1958” Halperin

  6. Love it! I have name rights for TV drama/comedy series: “HEADHUNTERS”. Think: LA Law meets House. Or, Grey’s Anatomy meets The Office.

  7. Fun stuff. Now the world will know what a Headhunter looks like. 🙂 I love the reaction I get when I make a new contact and I tell them what I do for a living. Many respond with “oh your a headhunter”, I say yes, this is what one looks like. It always makes them laugh.

  8. This is what’s wrong with the internet. Her site is “down for maintenance” and Bravo returns the annoying “this video is not available in your location”. This is progress?

  9. This has sparked my interest, and I’ve done some research and found there are/were a lot of recent TV shows about various aspects of the recruiting industry:

    Candidates: “The Walking Dead”
    Hiring Managers/Clients: “Jack Ass”, “Mad Men”
    Recruiters: “Heros”
    Offshoring RPO: “An Idiot Abroad”
    A new show about a travelling recruiting agency: “Hell on Wheels”
    A new documentary series on the U.S. recruiting industry: “American Horror Story”

    Cheers,

    Keith
    keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  10. I never say anything to embarrass a candidate, but do make “gentle suggestions” regarding appearance changes that may help their search. I try to always treat people as I would like to be treated. Same way with resumes. These folks have worked long and hard to develop what they feel presents a great package. If you rip it (and them) apart, the candidate loses confidence in themselves and certainly doesn’t appreciate you, who is supposed to be “professional”. In my estimation, this woman is very unprofessional. She may make big bucks, but I’ll just bet she gets few candidate referrals!

  11. The show is billed as being about “a premiere corporate recruiter” – which tells me the producers don’t even know the difference between and agency recruiter and one in corporate.

  12. Settle down recruiting purists! This is drama …. entertainment NOT reality. Feel proud that our profession (or a facsimile thereof) is at least going semi main stream. I think it’s great. Truth is agency recruiters do work 24/7 (that’s why they quintuple our salaries …. the good ones do, I promise you). Maybe we’ll all get some good one liners out of it … enjoy the show.

  13. @Robert: The top 1% of 3PRs may make that much, but most don’t. As I pointed out on 11/8 (http://community.ere.net/blogs/keithhalperin/2011/11/the-average-recruiter-salary/)

    The BLS reports that workers in the field earned an average annual income of $54,530 in May 2009, which translates to an average hourly wage of $26.21. The median income of workers in the occupation was $46,200. This means half of workers earned more than $46,200 and half earned less.

    Income Range
    The BLS states that educational requirements of recruiters can vary greatly from one company and position to another and that college graduates tend to have better job opportunities. BLS data show that the top 10 percent of employment, recruitment and placement specialists earned $87,060 or more in May 2009 while the bottom 10 percent of income earners in the field made $28,370 or less. Half of workers in the occupation earned between $35,430 and $64,380.

    In a nutshell: the median comp for all recruiters in 2009 was $23.10/hr, and only 10% of recruiters earned more than $43.50/hr. I have said that the work recruiters should do should be paid $50+/hr. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions….

    -kh

  14. @Keith I promise you most retained recruiters do better than that. This Headhuntress is a reflection of that crowd (Heidrich & Struggles / Spencer Stuart / Korn Ferry etc.)

  15. @ Robert: I would hope so. However, as my dad’s Brooklyn people would have said: “Dem ain’t my soi-cles.”

    Keith “One of the 99% of Recruiters” Halperin

  16. Great! Yet another reality television show that’s not real! I wouldn’t mind the producers and ERE making a celebrity out of Ms. Doulton, since that is what she aspires to be…if she didn’t do so many things wrong…not just differently (which many of our successes in this industry are) but wrong/incorrect. I’ve enjoyed a career in recruiting since before this young woman was born (starting in 1978) and continue so today. I was always hopeful the first television program would be a comedy because this industry provides real material every day and in today’s current economic climate a little humor for those looking (while adding wise and good instruction) would go a long way…

  17. I watched the show on Saturday and it wasn’t that bad. She did some interesting career coaching, helped people with an elevator pitch, worked with PR clients who had needs and presented 2 candidates who met those needs and the clients picked one. She lives in Hollywood, so by definition its a freak show a little, but it really wasn’t bad. For her demographic, it was good. It was entertaining too.

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