Why CBS’s New Reality Show ‘The Job’ Brought Host Lisa Ling to Tears

by | February 8, 2013 at 1:38 PM | Interviews, Midseason 2013, The Job

"The Job" host Lisa Ling (David M. Russell/CBS)

From the moment Lisa Ling agreed to host the new CBS reality series “The Job,” she knew it was going to have an emotional impact on viewers. What she didn’t anticipate was that she’d need a box of tissues, too.

DVR the Series Premiere of “The Job”

“I probably cried during every episode because I realized the weight that these candidates were carrying on their shoulders and how incredibly their life was about to change,” she tells XfinityTV.com.

Each episode of the show features five people vying for their “dream job” at a nationally-known company. Their efforts produced raw, soul-baring moments of vulnerability that everyone can relate to, including Ling.

“I knew there was going to be takeaway value,” she admits. “But I really didn’t think that I would become as emotional as I did every night.”

Ling is due to give birth in late February, but she says her tears had nothing to do with an excess of hormones.

“These candidates weren’t coming in and performing a song. They were coming on and putting themselves out there in such a real way, and to see them get these jobs and have the opportunity to turn their lives around was so powerful.”

Viewers are likely to feel the same when “The Job” premieres tonight at 8/7c on CBS.

Watch a Sneak Peek from the Premiere of “The Job”:

For Ling, landing the job on “The Job” wasn’t nearly as rigorous a process as what the show’s candidates were subjected to. Her friend, executive producer and creator Michael Davies, had her in mind from the beginning. “She wasn’t a candidate,” Davies admits. “She was the candidate.”

Despite not being a fan of primetime reality TV, Ling says all it took was a call from Davies describing show’s conceit to make a light bulb go off. “Once he explained the concept to me, I reacted instantly because there’s no more important issue in this country right now than jobs and the economy,” she reveals.  “I really felt confident that this show would give people an opportunity to learn about the process and become better interviewees. So, for me, I felt like this show was going to do something really positive and that’s why I came on board.”

Read on to find out how the candidates were chosen, what to expect from the first season, and what kind of impact the show has already had on the featured employers:

On the Recruiting Process: “We had thousands of applicants,” Davies admits. “The number one way that we narrowed it down to the five contestants is that we worked hand in hand with the HR representatives from each of these companies. We went to see them and figured out where they looked for these positions. What’s very typical is that often they had lots of resumes but they didn’t really have time to search through. We managed to just spread out and make that search a little bit bigger and take them on a national basis, rather than what was usually a quite local basis. We also used websites and social media. We ran job fairs around the country and then we also worked hard with Monster to try and do this.

On the Lesson the Show Imparts:  “I think there are a couple of takeaways,” says Davies. “We obviously want people who watch to be inspired by it but also to learn that there are practical pieces of information that we give, like making sure your resume is accurate and not to exaggerate, and saying the right things and dressing the right way. All those things simple, basic things that a lot of people miss out on. I think probably we’d like more of the influence to go on our employers. Every one of our employers left there thinking two things. One. we need to actually go out more nationally when we’re trying to recruit because it’s talent that we wouldn’t have otherwise met for this position. And secondly,  just how intimately they got to know these candidates through a day at the office and watching them next to each other rather than isolated from each other as people are in interviews. I feel like they were really sort of moved from the experience. I think they understand what makes a winning candidate, what makes them tick much more than they would in the normal interview process.

On the Influence “The Job” Has Already Had: “A couple of the companies have said that they’re already going to change their hiring practices based on their experiences with ‘The Job,’” Ling says. “Because what the show did was humanize the process and allow these executives to get to know these candidates in a way that otherwise they would not been able to do so before because job interviews can be very impersonal and this was anything but.”

On Following Up with the Candidates: “We are right now in touch with all of them so we have been following up and finding out how all of them are doing and talking to the companies and talking to individuals,” Davies says. “If we were to get picked up for another season, I would love to do follow-ups on these people. And let’s be realistic — this is a real-world TV show and we gave away 16 jobs over 8 episodes, not all 16 of them are gonna succeed. Some are going to be massive stand-out hits, and some are gonna flame out, and some are gonna be in that mid-range. There’s no reason there’s going to be a massively greater rate of success than normal job interviewing. The big thing here was really that there was an opportunity given to 40 candidates on the show who, by and large with a couple of exceptions, would probably have never have been given the opportunity of applying for those jobs had we not done a TV show.”

“The Job” premieres on Friday, Feb. 8 at 8/7c on CBS.