Job interviews are a bit like blind dates. You can spend hours stressing over the perfect outfit to wear, coming up with all the right things to say and trying your best not to sweat, but in the end, it's all about chemistry.
So imagine the nerves candidates felt when they arrived for an interview with Ariel Schur, head of executive search firm ABS Staffing, and found themselves sitting in a glass box in the heart of Rockefeller Center, with crowds of curious onlookers listening to every word as it's being broadcast over speakers.
"I had people bang on the door [and] throwing ... cashews at the window," said Lauren Sham, a candidate who braved the very public interview for a chance to land a recruiter position with ABS Staffing. "But, I just kind of ignored it."
Sham, along with 10 other hopeful candidates — some of whom were gunning for an HR role with mini-cupcake chain Baked by Melissa — arrived for an interview on an unseasonably warm November day in New York City prepared for the cameras and hordes of passersby. Still, navigating an "open interview" was something she and the other candidates had to deal with in the moment, to varying degrees of success.
"So I just did a public interview in a hot box on television and I'm feeling not terrible about it," said Nathan Figueroa. "I think I did pretty well. I tripped over my tongue a bit. I sped up a bit, but that's just ... I'm excited."
The glass interview box wasn't just some surprise twist ABS Staffing designed to push the candidates to their limits. This real-world stress test was all part of a promotional push for CNBC's upcoming reality show "The Job Interview," a voyeuristic look at the high stakes and embarrassing mistakes that can happen in actual job interviews.
The show, which debuts Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT is an unscripted peek into the interview process most every adult can relate to, featuring real people going on very real interviews, and dealing with all the flop sweat and cringeworthy faux pas that comes with the territory.
Which is why the premise of a public interview might have seemed too off-putting for other professionals. But Schur, who sat on display in the box for the better part of the day, took it all in stride.
"I'm actually surprised how unfazed I am, probably for a multitude of reasons," she said. "One, living in New York, you're constantly in the middle of a lot of craziness. So yes, this is, you know, in a box, literally; but at the same [time], it's a microcosm of what I often experience. So from that vantage point, it's not that crazy. "
Schur, a former psychotherapist turned entrepreneur, jumped at the opportunity to promote her staffing business while hunting for a new recruit in the midst of one of the busiest tourist destinations in the city.
"I have three children, so I'm used to people knocking on things and running around like crazy," she said. "So for me, I'm like, 'Oh, this is actually calm compared to when I'm at home trying to do some work.'"
And, in case you were wondering, amid the frenzied atmosphere and production crew encircling the glass box, Schur did end up selecting one of the candidates for the recruiter position. But you'll have to watch the clip above to find out which candidate stayed cool enough to seal the deal.
The series "The Job Interview" premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT