Why CNBC Had People Interview for Jobs in a Glass Box Outside Rockefeller Center

An uncomfortable promo for a new reality show

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Interviewing for a job is stressful enough when it’s just you and the interviewer. It gets a whole lot more awkward when dozens of random strangers are encouraged to stare at you while you’re trying to concentrate.

A week ago, Droga5 organized a stunt for CNBC in which it installed a glass box outside Rockefeller Center and had real people interview for real jobs inside it—with passersby gawking the entire time.

The jobs on offer weren’t at CNBC; rather, one was a recruiter role for executive search firm ABS Staffing, while another was an HR role for Baked by Melissa. But CNBC was a key player, as you can see by watching the video below.

There are a number of cringeworthy moments. Our favorite is the guy who describes himself as a “generalist” and admits he doesn’t do “anything particularly masterfully.” Dude needs to brush up on Interviewing 101.

As the video reveals, the whole stunt was a promo for The Job Interview, a CNBC reality show that premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET. Here’s how CNBC describes the show:

The Job Interview takes an inside look at the world where the words you say, the clothes you wear, and even the expression on your face can mean the difference between success and failure. Each half-hour episode of this observational series brings viewers into the room as a real employer conducts real interviews with real candidates—only one of whom will land an offer.

Several of the interviewees spoke to CNBC after the taping.

“I had people bang on the door [and] throwing … cashews at the window,” said Lauren Sham, one of the candidates. “But I just kind of ignored it.”

Another, Nathan Figueroa, added: “So I just did a public interview in a hot box on television and I’m feeling not terrible about it. 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.”

It was also a long day for the interviewer, Ariel Schur, head of ABS Staffing.

“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.”

She added: “I have three children, so I’m used to people knocking on things and running around like crazy. So for me, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is actually calm compared to when I’m at home trying to do some work.'”

Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman David Droga
Chief Creative Officer Ted Royer
Group Creative Director Don Shelford
Creative Director Paul Meates / Thom Glover
Copywriter Felix Karlsson
Art Director Tobias Lindborg
Chief Creation Officer Sally-Ann Dale
Co-Directors of Film Production Jesse Brihn, Bryan Litman
Senior Producer, Film Chris Parke
Music Supervisor Mike Ladman
Director of Business Affairs Jocelyn Howard
Senior Business Affairs Manager Kiki Powell
Co-Directors of Interactive / Experiential Justin Durazzo, Tasha Cronin
Executive Producer, Experiential Bo Djogo
Global Chief Strategy Officer Jonny Bauer
Strategy Director Nick Maschmeyer
Head of Communications Strategy Colleen Leddy
Communications Strategy Director Justin Schneider
Senior Communications Strategist Jordan Weil
Junior Communications Strategist Paulina Liang
Executive Group Director Julian Cheevers
Account Director Amanda Chandler
Account Manager Anna Urick
Senior Project Manager Carolyn Brafman
Client CNBC
Chairman Mark Hoffman
SVP, Marketing Tom Clendenin
VP, Marketing Steve Smith
VP, Creative Services Frank Piantini
VP, Global Creative Director Victoria Todis
Marketing Manager Rene Brinkley
Production Company Company Name
Director Paul Iannacchino
President Steve Wi
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Editorial Cosmo Street
Editor Aaron Langley
Post producer Paolo Solarte

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.