05.17.2018Inside Verizon

Josh Hill, the board is yours.

By: Rob Rudloff

V Teamer from Little Rock, AR, returns to defend his Jeopardy title.

V Teamer from Little Rock, AR returns to defend his Jeopardy title.

UPDATE: Josh Hill, Network Engineer from Little Rock, AR, continues his winning run on Jeopardy with another victory to start the week. He'll return for his fifth appearance Tuesday and is now qualified for the Tournament of Champions. 

We sat down with this V Teamer to learn what the Jeopardy experience is really like.

Question:
Why did you decide to audition?

Answer:
The quest for knowledge has always been a passion of mine; I started getting interested in trivia when I was about 12. I’ve been on Quiz Bowl teams from Jr. High all the way up through college, and now for years I’ve competed in bar trivia and other local contests. You get to meet a lot of really interesting local people. It’s become a lifelong hobby of mine, and of course Jeopardy has been a bucket list item for a long time. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!


Question:
How did you end up becoming on the contestant on the show?

Answer:
The process was pretty intense! It started with a 50-question online test. Those who pass are invited to an in-person audition; mine was in Houston. They have you take another 50-question test in-person to ensure you’re the real deal. If you pass the test, you move to audition with show producers where they get a sense of your personality, stage demeanor and camera presence. After all of that, out of the over 75,000 people who apply, they select about 400 contestants per season to come out to Los Angeles and tape an episode.


Question:
What were the surprises, the things you didn’t expect in the process?

Answer:
The audition was surprisingly energetic. I was surprised by how fun the coordinators made the process. Was expecting it to be more sterile and dry. It really created an environment where we could show off our true selves.


Question:
Did anything behind the scenes not quite go as planned?

Answer:
During the taping we all stayed at a hotel. The producers sent a shuttle to pick us all up. On the way to the studio, at the gate, the guards would not let us in. For 10 minutes or more, they wouldn’t let us past the gate. It turns out they weren’t letting us in because they thought we were (very well-dressed) audience members. Once we cleared up that we’re contestants, they pointed out that our shuttle driver had gone to the wrong entrance. Once that was cleared up, we made it to the sound stage through a more private entrance.


Question:
How are you doing in the game so far?

Answer:
Well, I'm sure it’s no surprise to you that it’s already all been taped, but I’m presently a 3-day champion. I’m back on the air to defend my title on May 21. The hardest part of this whole experience has been keeping everything under wraps. The fact that I had already won at least three episodes, and not giving away what’s coming next, it was like burning a hole in my pocket.


Question:
Come on. You can tell me how it all turned out, right?

Answer:
Not a chance.


Question:
Have you met Alex Trebek?

Answer:
Alex came to our audition and fielded some questions, but that wasn’t my first time meeting him! We met back when I was in Jr. High, when he was the host of a Geography bee I was competing in… 1996 I believe. So I met him again both at my audition and at the show’s taping. I’ve been impressed with him each time. He’s very jovial, entertaining and well-spoken.


Question:
Has anything you’ve learned in your career at Verizon help on the show?

Answer:
The fact that I work with a group of people who have been nothing but supportive of me and of my endeavors is what gave me the confidence to try to go on Jeopardy in the first place. The work/life balance allowed me to fly out audition, tape, and travel back and tape some more. The flexibility of our company really let me pursue my dream.

Plus, being an engineer gave me the mindset to deduce my responses quickly. I was able to think on my feet, something that's been honed over the years of managing our Network and serving our customers.


 

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About the author(s): 

Rob Rudloff is a member of the Verizon Employee Communications team, managing the South Central Wireless Market. The team’s resident audiophile is based in Dallas, TX. You can connect with Rob on Instagram, @rob.vzw.

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