"Industry Spotlight" is our monthly series where we interview professionals from across the entertainment industry about their current jobs and career trajectories. Our hope is that you will learn more about the positions you're already interested in, discover new roles you may not have considered, and utilize the wisdom of those who've paved the way before you to forge your own path for success.
This month's Industry Spotlight is a special edition, where we sat down with a Talent Acquisitions Manager at a global media firm who previously worked at a communications-focused staffing and recruitment agency. Here, he shares his insight into the recruitment process and key advice for job seekers.
HOLLYWOOD RESUMES: What does a recruiter do and what is your day-to-day like?
RECRUITER: It varies a bit by company and type of recruiting role, but in general it's a recruiter's job to find the best candidates for open positions. We collaborate with hiring teams and business leaders to craft job descriptions, sometimes make recommendations on how to structure the teams, post job opportunities, review applications/resumes, source for passive talent, coordinate the interview process from start to finish, and extend job offers. Day-to-day includes meetings with hiring teams and business unit leaders, spending time in the applicant tracking system (ATS) reviewing resumes for open positions, conducting initial phone screens, attending events, reporting on recruiting metrics and KPIs, and looking for qualified talent on LinkedIn and other sourcing channels.
HR: What's the first thing you look for when screening candidates?
RECRUITER: The first thing we look for is if the candidate has the necessary hard skills to do the job. Because no matter what, that is needed. However, that is not enough to proceed to the next round. We also pay close attention to communication style/ability, personality, and soft skills. Does the candidate have an ego, and if so, will that be a detriment to this team? Can they describe things clearly? Do they seem confident? Have they prepared/done research? Believe it or not, we're also listening to the candidates to understand what they are looking for in their next role. They could have every single skill needed, but if the role doesn't align to their career goals, it won't be a successful hire. Finally, we are also thinking about the future -- perhaps this role may not be a fit, but maybe there are others now or down the line that would be better. Given the active job market and low unemployment rate these days, recruiters need to think ahead and be strategic if they are going to successfully fill their open positions.
HR: What's the #1 resume mistake you see?
RECRUITER: Misaligned dates of employment. For example, we'll see Job A from December 2015 - January 2018, and then Job B from January 2017 - June 2018. While it's possible someone held two jobs at once, make sure that's clear if it's the case. Along those lines, sometimes we also see certain dates on the resume, but then when talking to the candidate they give us different dates or time in the role, and that conflict can cause concern and lack of trust in what's being communicated to us. Bottom line is, don't be afraid to tell the truth, and if there are gaps in employment, that's OK -- just find a way to address them on the resume and the phone screen (and you don't have to account for every single little thing you did, it's understandable that candidates will have some minor gaps in employment history for a variety of reasons).
HR: How should candidates use LinkedIn?
RECRUITER: LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. First and foremost, make sure you have a professional profile. That includes a professional-looking photo, and most (if not all) of the sections filled out. Link your role to your company's page if they have one (and if they don't, take the initiative and make them one!). Another thing that's very helpful for recruiters is if you include two key pieces of information for each job: 1) a brief overview of the company or business unit/division you work for, especially if it's not commonly known, and 2) a summary of your key responsibilities. These two snapshots provide some great information all in one place. Also, leverage your network! Reach out to mutual connections, ask for introductions to recruiters or professionals you want to meet, and be willing to pay it forward and help others! And finally, if a recruiter does reach out to you, respond! You don't have to be interested in the role, but it never hurts to start the relationship.
HR: Many of our readers are looking to make big career transitions -- i.e. freelance to full time, returning to work after time off with family, switching career paths entirely -- what can they do to convince a recruiter they're right for a job in a new sector?
RECRUITER: This is a great question, and I've found myself in this situation in my own career as well. First, you need to know the market and come to the conversation with knowledge. You need to understand the role you are applying for and what the requirements are, and whether you have them or not. I'd say it's less about "convincing" and more about "exploring" -- make it a collaborative partnership with the recruiter, be very open and clear about what you are looking for and why, and what areas of your background and experience can apply. Also, admit to what you don't know or don't have experience with -- most companies, while they have a list of requirements for each job, will hire people who don't hit every single box. Remember, other skills are important, too -- personality fit, soft skills, communication, ambition -- these all can help your case. And finally, be realistic -- if you've been a graphic designer for 10 years and now you want to be a TV executive, you're not going to be able to start at the same level as someone with 10 years of relevant experience. Be ready to have that conversation, admit to what you do and don't know, be realistic about your expectations for the job and salary, do your research, and you'll probably then be well on your way to landing that career transition you are looking for.
HR: Tell us about ATS - how important is it to tailor your resume to them? What keywords are absolutely imperative? Do all companies use the same ATS?
RECRUITER: There are tons of ATSs out there that companies use; it's essentially recruiting software. Many are similar in how they function, but each have their own strengths and nuances. My first piece of advice is not to worry too much about it. The ATS is more for the recruiting teams to manage open positions, applications, pipelines, job status, candidate status, etc. However, certain ATSs are more advanced than others and may use technology to help match a resume to a particular role. So, first and foremost, make sure you have a solid resume as a foundation. This means it's detailed, hits the important points, and can be adaptable. Then, it doesn't hurt to tailor your resume to the job description. So, if you see a job description touting certain skills or using specific keywords, there's nothing wrong with making sure your resume matches some of that verbiage or addresses those areas...but only if it's true! It may increase your chance of matching in the system and getting contacted for the role. But again, I wouldn't drive yourself nuts trying to do this to perfection. Just develop the best resume that showcases your professional career and professional self and make tweaks here and there to align to the the job description, and you should be in good shape.