The X-Factor: Just A Talent Show Or A Recruitment Company?

Almost every person in the UK will be familiar with the TV talent show that is the X-Factor. Love it or loath it, it is is one of the most popular shows on TV. Whilst the X-Factor may appear to be a singing competition designed to top ratings, the final goal of the show is to recruit. The X-Factor sources, pre-screens, interviews and assesses candidates in order to find the best talent for the overall aim: to sell records. So what can  recruiters learn from the X-Factor’s recruitment style?


The structure of the X-Factor recruitment process is set out for candidates from the beginning. The candidates will submit an application, go through various interviews and be judged by the public in order to reach the end offer. Recruiters should adhere to a similar method in their recruitment process. The initial job description should clearly outline what is desired from the candidates and what the job offers. Candidates should then be required to submit an application. A pre-screening should then occur, usually in the form of a telephone interview during which candidates should be made aware of the potential of a future interview. At the interview, the job description should be defined in more depth and any future stages in the recruitment process should be explained to the candidate.


One aspect of the X-Factor process which contributes to the popularity of the show is the feedback from the judges. The X-Factor judges (the interviewers) provide the candidates with on the spot feedback to make the candidates aware of their chances of getting through to the next stage. They also disclose any  improvements the candidates can make to improve their chances of being successful at the next stage. Recruiters should adopt this method of providing feedback when interviewing candidates. Recruiters should not delay the feedback stage, as on the spot feedback would be more beneficial for the candidates. Candidates prefer honest feedback about their performance. Now, that does not mean recruiters should take a Simon Cowell approach and destroy the candidates hopes and dreams, rather they should provide constructive criticism to allow candidates to improve, both if they are going through to the next stage or if they are “being sent home”.

Choosing the talent

TV Talent shows are proof that the best candidate for the role may not always be the most obvious. For example, Susan Boyle on the face of things did not appear to meet the criteria of the role. However once given the chance to display her talent she excelled above many of the other candidates. Candidates should not be discounted based on recruiters initial impressions. Recruiters should assess the candidates based on their capability of performing the job. This can be seen in a candidate’s initial application and also through giving them the opportunity to demonstrate how they fit the requirements of the role at the interview. Recruiters should not base their decision on prejudices or face value information.

Here at Bridgewater Resources we aim to adopt an X-Factor approach to recruitment, because who better to take advice from than one of the most successful shows in the world?

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