5 Warning Signs You May Not Want the Entertainment Job You Are Interviewing For
The entertainment industry is filled with lovely people. Many are hardworking, generous, well-adjusted, and easy to work with. The majority, in fact, are total professionals. And then there is a small population of people it takes a specialist to work with. We’ll get to that in a minute…
In the meantime, you’re sitting in the interview trying your best to score the job. You desperately want to be offered the position of “Executive Assistant to the Vice President Production” or the “Marketing Manager” or the “Director of New Media.” It’s the break you’ve been waiting for.
But what if you had a crystal ball and could see how the job would be? What if you could examine your possible future and find out if you really want the job? Maybe it’s not the opportunity you think it will be. How do you know?
Well, as someone who has not only conducted hundreds of , but also talked to countless other industry hiring pros about this sticky issue, I can help. I can decode the euphemisms used when filling a position with some hidden pitfalls.
Here’s your at-a-glance guide to figuring out if you really, really want the job:
If they use the word “challenging” or “moody” to describe your potential boss and you can’t handle crazies or screamers or crazy screamers, RUN! Picture yourself being on the receiving end of some nasty gibes because the studio chief hasn’t returned your boss’s call or the A-list talent passed on a starring role in his movie. How is that your fault? You’d better not ask. That will only make it worse.
They ask if you have thick skin. See above.
If you ask about the last person who had the job and they tell you it was a “bad fit” and the person left after a short time and then you ask about the previous person and they hedge and then tell you the same thing, be warned. This means there is a revolving door on this position and the boss just throws people through it at the slightest sign of infallibility (or when the studio chief doesn’t return his call and he needs someone to blame). You can take the job, but don’t get comfortable.
If they ask about how you feel working Sundays and you have a family you want to actually spend time with, the job might not be for you. We hiring managers only cut right to asking about Sunday if nights and Saturdays are a given. When we say “Sunday,” it means you are either on call or in the office 24/7. Consider carefully how much of a time commitment you want to give your job.
If you ask how it is to work at the company and the hiring executive avoids the question, hedges, or takes a deep breath before giving a half-assed positive answer, be a little concerned. He may just be an eternally-tortured kind of person so take his response with a grain of salt, but if the receptionist also looks miserable or you see unhappy people (or hear arguing) as you walk through the halls, it might not be a fun place to work.
There are people who can handle some job pitfalls and emerge unscathed at the end of each day (even on Sundays!) and even at the end of the job. You might be one of those people. If you are, the above behaviors and/or total time commitment and/or a tense environment might not throw you off. And depending upon the opportunity, you might decide it’s worth it to put up with some negativity to have that experience on your resume.
But there are some people who won’t be able to handle being mistreated on a regular basis and there are some entertainment jobs, no matter how plum they look, that aren’t worth what you have to go through on a day-to-day basis to have them.
If the job you are interviewing for seems like one of those jobs, it’s probably best to keep looking. As I said, there are plenty of lovely people working in entertainment and plenty of nice places to work for. I suggest you find one of those. You’ll be glad you did.
Jenny Yerrick Martin, founder of MomentumAdvantage.com, is a Los Angeles-based entertainment career expert and strategist, and a career consultant and professional writer of resumes, cover letters, and bios for people in all fields. Follow her on Twitter [@JennyYM] and connect with her via LinkedIn here.