When you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. For the past year, I've been posting links to articles that offered tips on interviews and follow-ups with prospective employers. Now I'm interviewing videographers to replace my current camera guy/editor because he's been offered full-time work and my Career Changers TV show is really a part-time gig.
I wasn't prepared for all the responses I got after I sent an email to the OC16 producers list and posted a help wanted notice on the Hawaii Filmmakers Yahoo Group site. Many of them are far more experienced in TV editing and production work than I am. Some have even won major advertising awards. There's no question they have the technical expertise and skills to do the job. The question is who do I want to work with and why?
Interestingly, only one sent an actual cover letter and resume. Most sent short emails with links to their websites and demo reels or video samples -- which is perfectly fine. One called, and that was okay too because it gave me an idea of what his personality was like. I also decided to interview the young woman who sent the letter/resume since she took the time to comment about the show, and had obviously done her homework. Some of the more experienced videographers didn't bother to check out the CCTV website or YouTube Channel, and expected me to tell them more about the program. Um, no. Part of the job is to help flesh out stories by doing research on the people and companies we feature. If they're not going to research the show they want to work for, what makes me think they're going to do that for a piece I hire them to produce?
The take-away is this: There is increased competition for even small part-time freelance jobs... which is great for me since I can improve the quality of the show without busting my budget. But it's tough too when you have to weigh invariables versus experience. So I'm going to "audition" two or three candidates and pay them to shoot/edit segments, then see how it goes. Actions speak louder than words on a resume or in an interview. That's also why you hear more employers say they "hire fast, fire faster" these days. There's no shortage of applicants waiting in the wings for a shot if the first choice doesn't fill the bill quickly.
It also means if you're applying for a position, you have to go the extra mile to make an employer want to set up an interview with you. Make an impression on them somehow -- show you really want the opportunity to meet with them, then follow up. If you don't hear back right away, don't assume it's a rejection. That's your chance to show how persistent you are.
In fact, that's how Theresa Tilley became our host. We had already settled on someone who had experience as a TV news reporter. But Theresa kept in touch and was so personable that when the original host was unavailable to shoot our introductions, Theresa was at the top of my list for emergency substitutes. Even though she knew it might be a one-time deal, Theresa was grateful for the opportunity. Eventually, I decided the show could use her enthusiasm and local connections. But had she not followed up, I probably would have forgotten about her.
Anyhow, my wife sent me an amusing follow-up letter that she got from a sales consultant who works with her company. Isabel was skeptical it would work, but tried it on a prospect who had not responded to her calls and emails. Here's the form letter:
Chris, when we last spoke we agreed that---------------------. I have made several attempts to contact you with no success. Usually when that occurs it means one of three things has happened.
Y or N 1) You won the lottery recently and now you are being bombarded by relatives you never knew you had, all trying to claim a piece of the winnings!!
Y or N 2) Other, major priorities came up and ________________ and _______________ has dropped off your list.
Y or N 3) You just simply decided we are not a good fit and decided you do not want to work with me at _______ (and didn't want to hurt my feelings by telling me).
Please highlight Y or N next to either 1, 2 or 3, email it back to me, or give me a call to let me know and we can talk. You won’t hurt my feelings if it’s # 3 by the way. I will simply put away your file and not bother you anymore.
Guess what? She got an immediate reply and the prospect apparently thought it was a clever enough follow-up that he owed her an explanation. Turned out he was just swamped at the time, but was still very much interested in their services. So it pays to be persistent and have a sense of humor as well.
TV alert: The Sand Masters episode that features the Royal Hawaiian Hotel will air again on Sun., July 17 on the Travel Channel.
Don't forget to check out the current Career Changers TV episode! For daily viewing times and links to the CCTV YouTube Channel, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV.