EntertainHR, Recruiting

Jeopardy!’s Search for Permanent Host Continues: How Do You Choose Among Qualified Job Candidates?

Jeopardy! is moving past the drama of losing its first choice for Alex Trebek’s replacement for permanent host of the popular game show. Since former producer Mike Richards resigned over the summer after his past offensive comments resurfaced, Mayim Bialik filled in as guest host of weekday Jeopardy! episodes through last week. Presently, superstar Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings has taken over the reins as guest host through the end of the year, with others likely to fill the post temporarily until a new permanent host is announced. 

It seems nearly every day I read an article opining about who will be—or should be—chosen to fill Trebek’s shoes. No matter what happens, there will no doubt be grumbling from the Twitterverse that the wrong candidate was selected (#teamBuzzy). All of this has got me thinking: How does an employer choose among multiple, well-qualified candidates for such a high-profile position? Here are two questions to ask if you are faced with such a delightful dilemma: 

Which Candidate Best Fits the Culture of Your Organization?

When choosing the right person to fill an open position, don’t overlook the importance of cultural fit. If a candidate has all the right credentials and gives a stellar interview performance but can’t adapt or thrive in your work environment, the risk of attrition is high. Workplace culture refers to the collection of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that make up the atmosphere and overall values of an organization. To identify the characteristics of your workplace culture, ask yourself questions like whether your work environment is formal or informal; whether your management structure prizes strong leaders or collaborative team members; whether the work environment is boisterous and loud or reserved and quiet; whether your company places a high premium on frequent social interaction or whether employees rarely go out to lunch or socialize; whether face time in the office is expected or whether the workplace is flexible or fully remote, etc. Obviously, employers cannot consider a candidate’s race, sex, physical abilities, religion, or other protected characteristics when determining whether the person is a good cultural fit, but there’s nothing wrong with using nondiscriminatory information derived from the candidate’s work history or interview answers to determine whether he or she will flourish in the day-to-day reality of joining your workforce. Just be sure to document the factors you ultimately consider when choosing one candidate over another in case you’re required to justify the decision later on.

What Feedback Have You Received From Other Employees? 

When faced with a difficult hiring decision, consider seeking feedback from other employees to help guide you in your decision-making. Especially with candidates for high-profile positions, you should have candidates interview with various individuals of diverse backgrounds and at different levels of your organization. You may find that one particular candidate is consistently ranked higher than others by the group of interviewers, lending further support to the final hiring decision beyond the candidate’s credentials or initial interview performance.     

The executives at ABC have their work cut out for them as they look to replace the incomparable and much-beloved Alex Trebek. Whatever decision they ultimately reach (cough, cough, BUZZY!), they should have multiple decision-makers involved in the final hiring decision to avoid claims of bias or preferential treatment.   

Well, everyone, that’s it for this week’s post. If you are a Jeopardy! super fan like me, drop me a comment, and let me know your choice for permanent host. 

Marilyn Moran is a Partner at FordHarrison.