Of all the industries we work with, one of the most unique is Film and TV. It’s a fast-paced, challenging and unpredictable environment that isn’t for the feint-hearted (or shy). When it comes to recruiting for Film and TV, our clients are very particular about hiring people with the right “personality fit” – something which they will often prioritise over experience.
This is a tough ask for a lot of recruitment agencies, who usually focus purely on candidate CVs. However, at PA Business Support, our whole ethos is to look beyond the CV. A crucial part of this process is speaking extensively with our candidates and getting to know them. We attempt to understand what makes each of them tick, what motivates them, how they perform under pressure, and a myriad other things that you just won’t find on a CV.
“Today marked my first day in my new role. I could not have done it without the help and support of Sabina Hinchliffe and Sophie Burnett. They were professional, friendly and the communication from them was always clear and consistent. Thank you ladies!”
So what is different about a job in Film and TV?
Job descriptions in Film and TV tend to list a large variety of responsibilities. There’s the usual diary management, meeting planning, organising events and travel etc., but sometimes there are more specialised things like maintaining the company website, processing expenses, and even line-managing more junior staff. EAs, PAs, and many other admin support roles in Film and TV are often the lynchpin of the whole operation, facilitating communication between a large number of stakeholders, and often working closely with senior executives. This means that excellent communication and diplomatic skills are essential. Thankfully, because of PA Business Support’s bespoke approach, our size, and the fact that we know our candidates really well, we’ve been really good at getting this right. This is one reason why TV and Film companies will contact a boutique agency like ours rather than one of the well-known large agencies.
Experience v Soft Skills v Personality
So what sort of experience is required? Well, even with loads of PA or EA experience, a candidate may simply not have the right soft skills, or personality, to handle a Film or TV role (though exposure to a similar environment often helps). Let’s take a closer look at those two pre-requisites:
Certain soft skills are essential
In contrast to most business support roles, in Film and TV certain soft skills are top priority: for example, tremendous emphasis is placed by our clients on hiring someone who is quick-thinking, adaptable and resilient. They want someone who is used to a fast-paced and unpredictable environment, and able to prioritise and maintain attention to detail under pressure. These kind of skills are either natural talents, or learnt from experience, and it’s very hard to know if a person has them unless you spend a lot of time getting to know them and their work history. At PA Business Support this is exactly what we do; we have a very in-depth process for screening our candidates, and working with them over time we learn exactly the kind of environment they each thrive in.
The right “personality fit” is crucial
This is usually top of the list for our Film and TV clients, especially more senior business support roles, where an EA or a PA will practically be living in the pocket of a Creative Director, a CEO, or some other senior exec. They’ll be expected to communicate with a large number of people that won’t all be office professionals. For example, members of production crews, who may be panicking because something’s gone wrong on a shoot, someone’s not turned up, or some piece of equipment has failed. We know from experience that the best candidates for these roles, irrespective of experience and qualifications, are the ones that are, by nature, diplomatic, calm under pressure, and…well, likeable (though it’s more about the chemistry they have with the wider team).
Today a Film and TV PA, tomorrow the World!
PA Business Support is all about building trust and dependability with our clients, and we like to think that in all of the industries we work with, Film and TV is one of our most promising. Our bespoke and personable approach encourages a close relationship where we really get to understand you, the client, or you, the candidate, in a way most other agencies aren’t able to. We’re continuing to grow our roster of Film and TV clients and hone our list of ideal candidates suited to this fast-moving and exciting industry, so watch this space for more updates!
Whether it’s an EA, PA, Virtual PA, or any other type of admin/business support Film and TV role, give us a call!