What ‘House Hunters’ Teaches Us About Company Hiring Practices

I’m pretty sure I don’t fall into HGTV’s typical viewer demographic since I don’t own a home or have a garden, but that doesn’t stop me from watching this channel on a semi-regular basis. One of my favorite shows (and a total guilty pleasure) is House Hunters and its spinoff, House Hunters International. I have been known to marathon this show (and some other HGTV goodies) on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

I’ve learned a lot from House Hunters, and some of the lessons can easily be applied to the business world, especially in the hiring process.

Seem like a crazy connection? I thought so too until I actually sat down and really thought about the lessons House Hunters teaches. Here’s what I found from this popular show:

“Dude, what’s a half bath?”

Make sure you’ve done your homework first. A prospective homeowner doesn’t just start looking at houses without first asking themselves some tough questions. How much can they afford? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do they need? Do they want to worry about yard work?

Tweak these questions to the hiring process and you’ll see the crazy similarities. What kind of candidate are you looking for, how many years of experience do you think the job requires, how much can you afford to pay them without going broke? Basic questions like these need to be addressed and figured out before the interview, not during or after.

You may have to alter your expectations. If you’ve ever seen this show, then you know potential homeowners always realize where their expectations fall in reality to what they can afford while they view that first home. Sometimes they realize they can get a bigger home than they thought, but more often than not they realize their budget doesn’t go as far as they’d like.

With the hiring process, it’s possible that you’ll get too many applicants because your requirements are too broad, or you may not get anyone because they’re too restrictive. Sure, it would be great to hire that person with 25 years of experience who only expects to be paid an entry-level salary. However, that isn’t going to happen. Midway through the process, you may need to revise the candidate qualifications you’re looking for, reorganize your priorities, and figure out exactly the type of person you want and need. There’s nothing wrong with that: you’ll get exactly what you want when you have the best idea of what you’re looking for instead of ‘winging it’.

“I wanted a city loft and you’re showing me a bungalow in the suburbs?!”

Don’t write off any possibility. The house hunter always says they want ‘XYZ,’ but when their realtor shows them ‘ABC’, more often than not that’s the house they choose. This just proves that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for until you can write off what you’re not looking for.

If an applicant’s resume intrigues you in any way, don’t be bashful. Ask them for an interview. You never know what they’ll be like over the phone or in person until you initiate the meeting. They may just be the answer to your prayers!

Be patient. In home shopping you may have to look at five, ten, or even twenty homes before you find ‘the one’ that you love. In hiring new employees, you can’t just assume that the first applicant is going to be the perfect candidate for the job and your search will be over. You may have to weed through several candidates before that resume comes across your desk with your ideal employee. Don’t lose faith, just keep asking those questions to get the best idea of the person sitting across from you at the table.

“ARGH! So many candidates!”

Narrow down your choices instead of looking at all your options. House Hunters shows the top three home contenders, and from there they weed through them and then show which house they purchased. Hiring starts much the same way! Sure, it’s daunting and time-consuming to go through a stack of resumes, but take a deep breath and start narrowing them down. Remember, it’s best to start out with broad expectations and then begin narrowing them down further and further until only the best possible candidates remain.

It makes complete sense to watch How I Made My Millions or Shark Tank to get business advice, and now House Hunters can be added to that list (you’re welcome!). Hopefully, this proves that you can find advice from anywhere and not just the big shot businessmen of the Fortune 500 companies.

What do you think? Do you like watching ‘House Hunters’? Are there any other lessons you can pull from this awesome show? Sound off below!

Image credit to

Amy Hoidas

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ Community Manager. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on


  1. Jeff Porretto

    I think another thing these have in common is that “you know it when you see it” factor. “I never knew I wanted a loft until I saw this great one!” is analogous to “I didn’t know I wanted someone with SEO experience until I interviewed one!”

    As with most decisions, keeping an open mind is always the way to go and can lead to great, unexpected results!

    P.S. We used to watch this show so much that now I’m burnt out on it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not great! Guessing whether it’s house 1,2, or 3 is always good fun!

    • Amy Swanson

      Ah yes! That factor is a major one, Jeff. Great addition! It shouldn’t be confused with impulse because with an impulse you get a nagging feeling at some point saying, “Really? This is really what you think you need?” whereas when you see it and know it there’s none of that.

      Open mindedness is a huge tip too! If you go in with too high of expectations you’ll be interviewing people for months. Best to see what comes and take it in stride.

      Ps. When I see a new episode is on, I immediately stop what I’m doing and watch it. Pretty sure I’m addicted to it, haha!

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I don’t watch House Hunters, but I can definitely appreciate some excellent business tips!

    I haven’t been in a position where I’ve had to hire someone, but I can only imagine how daunting of a task it is (especially in this economy when hundreds of people are applying for jobs that only used to see ten applicants). Again, not that I’m any expert, but I feel like “you may have to alter your expectations” is really appropriate for this hiring climate. Even with hundreds to choose from, you may never find that one perfect candidate!

    • Amy Swanson

      From what I’ve read about, this hiring climate is one that many people weren’t ready for. Not only were companies getting hundreds of applicants, but they were also getting several overqualified applicants. Crazy stuff!

      You just have to keep at it until the right person comes along 🙂

  3. mike

    I just love your analogies. You seem to one up yourself in the analogy dept. with each blog, House Hunters and Hiring is no exception. Doesn’t matter the topic Amy I always enjoy reading your stuff. Thanks!

    • Amy Swanson

      Hey Mike!

      Wow, your comment was so nice to read, you’ve got me blushing over here!

      This topic was a lot of fun to “research” haha 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it!!

  4. Rachel

    House Hunters is awesome! I agree with others that open-mindedness and being willing to alter your expectations are really important points. You’ll always get that couple who are obsessed with the ugly kitchen cabinets and can’t see how amazing the rest of the house is. These things are fixable! Similarly, it might be easier/more efficient to train a new hire on certain skills rather than try to look for the picture-perfect candidate who already knows everything. I guess it depends on whether you’re looking for a “move-in ready” candidate or a “fixer-upper” you’re willing to spend extra time and effort on. 😉 Excellent post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      That’s my biggest pet peeve about this show, the homeowners sometimes get fixated on the outward appearance and miss seeing the awesome potential they have in front of them! In terms of hiring, just because someone’s resume may look less than stellar doesn’t mean they won’t be an awesome asset to the company in the long run. The best way to get experience is by actually doing something.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Rachel! So glad I’ve got another ‘HH Lover’ here 😉

  5. Jen

    I love watching House Hunters too! I never would have thought to pull business tips from it, but you made it work! All of your comparisons are perfect, great post Amy. 🙂

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks, Jen! I love the show so it only seemed natural to relate it back to something else I love; business.

  6. Alex Brodsky

    As the manager in charge of hiring at Subway for over a year, I can tell you from first-hand experience how daunting of a task hiring can be. These would have been very useful tips (although my distaste for all “reality” tv most likely would have kept me from utilizing them anyways).

    The toughest part of hiring was being able to tell who was all talk versus who could do the job. It always came out as a crapshoot. Someone you didn’t think would end up being a good worker would end up being a top employee. And on the other side, people we had huge hopes for turned out to be total duds.

    Cool post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      Some people have the gift of being able to ‘BS’ their way through life and seem awesome and a great hire, but in reality are complete and utter crap. There’s a fine line between seeming to be able to ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ versus actually being able to do it. I would imagine finding someone who seems genuine enough on paper and person would be extremely difficult. Thanks so much for giving your insight, Alex!

  7. Eric

    I think a big one you could add to the list would be “the ability to see potential.” Sure, you can buy move-in ready, or sure, you can hire someone with two decades of experience and a doctorate, but there is a certain value in finding a person who can grow as a professional, given the chance. Lots of business write-off folks who don’t match their exact requirements today, but I think they’d be a lot better of if they came into hiring with a open mind. Nice post, Amy.

    • Amy Swanson

      Awesome addition, Eric! A more qualified and experienced applicant seems better, but they may be stuck in their ways and have an “It’s my way or the highway” approach. Finding someone with little experience but the drive and determination to learn may be better suited for a company to hire. Great stuff!

  8. Jaimie Smith

    This was really cool. These are all great take aways you can get from the show to relate it to the hiring process. Doing your homework first is a must. You cannot just go into house searching and have no idea what you want. That will just be big waste of you and the realtor’s time. And same with the hiring process. Make sure you know exactly what you are looking for before you call a bunch of people for an interview. I feel like the same should go for the interviewee. Before going into the interview, do your homework and find out all that you can about the company you’re applying for. It will look make you look ten times better being knowledgeable about your job before even being hired.
    Awesome Job on yet another GREAT post Amy! You never seem to let us down with all these great take-aways! 🙂

    • Amy Swanson

      Looking at the interviewee’s position is very important too, Jaimie. You’re totally right! Knowing about the company already before going into an interview will show how serious you are about the company and how much you care about getting the job. That will definitely make you seem like the choice to hire. Great addition!

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