Saturday, 8 December 2012

Do you have the candidate X-Factor?

We all know how frustrating job hunting is. You send off application after application and receive no responses.  Or worse, your application or CV is not even downloaded from the job site.  Employees don't call after a face-to-face interview to let you know if you have the job or not. This list can go on and on.

It's frustrating on all fronts. With so many people going for the one job, companies are bogged down with candidates.  So if you do get an interview or contact from the 'inside' ask for feedback as this will help you know what you can do better next time or even things that you can change.

So get ready to make some notes as RDF's Entertainment Development Executive, Neale Simpson offers his tips on the how to have the X-Factor and why some candidates did or did not stand out when they applied for his latest role.

Neale says, "In many cases it was genuinely extremely difficult to shortlist people to the final few for interview.  Here are some reasons a few candidates stood out more than others".

The job add
“Question: What makes you a stand out candidate?
This is a horrible question, but if you are going to be any good at convincing other people about your ideas, you need to be able to sell yourself.  Many people put largely pointless paragraphs on their CVs, 'I'm highly motivated, a great team player, really creative...', but this question was an open invitation to really sell yourself and highlight your strengths.  A lot of people dodged the question or talked about why they wanted the job.” 

“Question: List your 3 favourite tv shows?
We didn't say 'entertainment shows', but we are looking for people who are genuinely passionate about entertainment.  It was interesting that so many people put no, or only one, entertainment show down. Good answers demonstrated a real understanding of what made great formats and interesting choices for non-entertainment shows.”

“Questions: Pitch a Game show & Music show for X time slot and Channel
We look for well-written, interesting and original ideas with mechanics or a twist that captured our attention.  Good answers demonstrated clear headline ideas with a well thought through vision for the shows.  These were tough slots to answer for and not all candidates nailed both answers, but a consistency in writing and creativity marked out the better candidates.”

“Question: Who would you have replace Noel as Host on Deal or No Deal
Good answers eloquently debated and discussed the merits of their host, taking into account the slot and audience demographic.  This wasn't really a deal-breaker question and talent is a subjective thing, but it was a useful insight into candidate's knowledge of slots and channel tone as the issue of talent in entertainment is always a tricky one.”

“Spelling and grammar.- It was amazing how many spelling mistakes and typos featured in applications...and even on CV's.  If you're going to be tasked with writing treatments your employer needs to have confidence in your eye for detail.”

The shortlisted candidates demonstrated a solid mix of development and production, in mainstream entertainment, and able to name examples of programmes they have helped develop to commission.”

We know that the researcher CV's can't compete on experience, but stand-out candidates were able to convey on their CV's a passion and drive for entertainment and creative work, with extra-curricular commitments during Uni and fascinating projects in their spare time.”

I am very grateful to Neale for allowing me to share these tips for improving television job applications and for those of you who need a 'Tips' break down, here it is.

1.  Direct, bold answers that backed up big statements with clear examples.
2.  Read the question and understanding the genre you want to work in, a genuine passion for something will reflect in your answers.
3.  Be clear and concise about what you are saying.
4.  Check and recheck your work before you send it.
5.  Name examples of past experience that back up your claims.
6.  Hobbies and other experience are useful insights for employees when you don’t have much experience.

 It’s only fitting that Neale has the last word on this topic:

"I hope this gives you a sense of how we (RDF) approached this process, good luck with your other applications".

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