So you’ve reached a point where your video production company has grown to such a level that you’re seeking outside help. Not only do you have enough work booked in to keep you busy for the foreseeable future, but you’re also at a point where your team is struggling to keep up with the demand.
Firstly, congratulations! This is a great place to find yourself. It’s what you might call a quality problem.
Not only do you need to hire help, but you can afford to do it because you’ve been making the most out of your time and profits, so affording a salary is not a problem.
This article will answer questions that you might have when you consider hiring people for your video production company. We’ll aim to answer these two primary questions:
What do you need to take into account when hiring people?
Where and how will you find them?
We’ll give you some tips that will help you make the best choices, without wasting your time, energy and money:
1. Where to find your potential employees
There are many online resources that you can use to find your potential candidates. One of the central considerations is do you need people to fill roles where;
- they’re physically around to help you and work in-person,
- or do you need to hire online freelancers to give you a hand via the internet.
That question is a starting point before considering these options for finding staff/freelancers online:
Classified ad sites
These websites give you the ability to get very specific about what you’re looking for and you have the potential to get loads of views from people in your area. These platforms are pretty easy to use and they have detailed information about how to post the ads, posting rules, and all information about posting fees, in case that’s a consideration.
If you’re looking for a non-video production specific role ― like an assistant, a bookkeeper or a graphic designer ― then these kind of classified sites are great places. Along with the other type mentioned below under “Online Freelancers.”
Now, if you want to go to find places where video production professionals and filmmakers hang out, then we recommend you try some specific platforms for filmmaking jobs and resources.
A really great option is Mandy, specifically made for independent film and TV production workers and companies. Having a strong presence and a properly built-out profile in one of these platforms will also be a great help for branding and networking.
Other good spots to find candidates, including Film, Theater, Video and TV staff, is Backstage, where you can easily access potential hires’ profiles and check their work and experience; Radar (for music videos); Production Base and Production Hub.
If you’re looking for a video editor, a second shooter, a Director of Photography, grips, a sound-person (etc etc), then these are the industry specific places that you want to be looking.
You can also put classified ads (and look for relevant freelancers) on major filmmaking message boards. Just a couple to get you started:
These sites, and others like them, allow people to post ads offering their industry specific skills in filmmaking and video production. There are plenty of talented people to be found here to fill roles of all kinds.
In case you just need to hire freelancers (read: non-staff) for short-term or even longer-term commitments, there are many websites that can help.
Situations in which you might need a freelancer:
- an additional editor when you’re overburdened with projects,
- someone to create a voice over,
- a multi-language speaker who can create subtitles when a project requires it,
- someone to make music for a project,
- a motion graphics expert
There’s are freelancers for everything! I just picked a few filmmaking specific ones for very niche situations. Some great freelance platforms for general and specific jobs are:
These freelancing platforms allow you to check a potential freelancer’s experience, references, hours worked, and a detailed profile, and the Escrow system ensures that everyone is kept honest when jobs are completed.
You can also find freelance platforms designed solely or video production jobs, such as Freelance Video Collective.
Media, from newspapers to social networks
Twenty years ago, probably the best place to find a job was in the ad pages of a newspaper. An alternative was hopelessly walking from company to company and physically dropping your CV on a receptionist’s desk, just wishing they might need someone new.
Nowadays, for both job hunters and employers, Social Media has taken the job finding world by storm. You can post on your own company profiles that you’re looking for new employers, and more importantly, post your ad to groups of professionals dedicated to it like UKFilmJobs on Facebook.
But it’s not just Facebook that’s a burgeoning hub of filmmaking talent. In recent years, LinkedIn has emerged as a are giant in the recruitment world. Many video production companies I know take LinkedIn very seriously ― both for marketing their companies, as well as finding and recruiting awesome staff members.
2. Posting your ad
Before trying to reach potential employees or freelancers, you need to know exactly what the job responsibilities will be, and how much you will be able to pay. It’s important to consider that not only will you be judging and analysing other people, but they will also be doing the same to you and your company. Strange, isn’t it?
Here are some tips for composing your ad:
Unless this is just a text-based ad that you’re posting on a website that doesn’t allow design, make sure you create a nice professional-looking image for your website and social media. This way you can show just how serious your company is about finding amazing new staff/freelancers. Not only will you get more eyes on the ad (because it will be visually appealing), but you will set a high standard for applicants.
Start as you mean to go on.
When writing ― needless to say ― make sure grammar is perfect, and that you have no typos. If you’re not confident about it, make someone proofread it for you. The last thing you want is someone judging your company as a dud due to grammar or spelling.
Don’t forget ― it’s not just potential staff who might be viewing your “staff wanted” ads, other video production companies and even potential clients could stumble upon these ads.
Make sure you introduce yourself and the job properly. You need to state clearly and quickly what the job is about, what kind of commitment you need, and what skills are mandatory. Don’t forget to include detailed responsibilities of the position, and required and prefered qualifications. Also, never forget to include a contact address, phone, email, and a link to your website.
This is an example of how an ad could look:
Video Production Professional Wanted
[Name of your company], an award-winning, experienced music video and postproduction enterprise, seeks a motivated Video Production Professional to assist in planning, scheduling and filming video production projects. The role will include the coordination of on-going video production jobs, the maintenance of equipment and the delivery of raw footage to our editors.
- Support our video production crews, acting as a first or second shooter, depending on project scope.
- Setup, troubleshoot and operate camera equipment, audio and lighting gear.
- Research and recommend audiovisual technologies to further support company initiatives.
- Excellent organizational and customer service skills.
- Ability to problem solve and troubleshoot under pressure.
- Advanced knowledge of equipment used in video production; DSLR cameras, 4K RED setups, Sennheiser AVX-ME2, and more.
- Effective verbal & communication skills.
- Prior experience in retail, customer service or with public.
- Basic understanding of video editing systems.
- Owns means of transportation and mobility of equipment.
Please send resume with salary requirements to: [your email address].
3. Selecting from applicants
From all the applications you get, you will have to make a selection. This might seem confusing if you have a big amount of applicants, but there are some basic steps that will help you reduce the pile and get organized:
- Remove all candidates that do not meet the required qualifications, even if they have loads of experience in other similar jobs. If you set the requirements, you have to expect your candidates to meet them.
- Remove all candidates that do not meet your budget. Unless they’re willing to negotiate, it’s not going to be realistic for them or you, and will just waste everyone’s time. Some options, if you’re really interested in the candidate, is offering less hours, or keeping their resumes for future situations.
Then, from the rest, you can make preliminary interviews, either on the phone or via e-mail. This will give you an immediate idea of how suited to the role they are, as well as an idea as to their professionalism and how interested they really are in the position.
After this, you can start with the full interviews. Depending on your company, you might want to make from anything from one to three interviews. It depends on your time and energy, as well as how integral the role is to your company.
It’s impossible to get a perfect future-proof reading of how a candidate will perform in the long-run if offered the job. To paraphrase one of Chris Rock’s most famous comedy routines, when you meet someone for the first time, you’re not meeting them, you’re meeting their representative!
However, the more detailed your interview the more information you’ll get on the candidate to disqualify or quality them for the role.
It should also be pointed out here that for lots of job roles (especially minor work that you need doing by a freelancer), you won’t you (or want!) to have a drawn out interview process. You’ll simply find the right freelancer and send them the work to be done.
4. Tips for Interviewing Candidates
If we’re talking about a long-term staff role, you’ll want to have the best possible interview you can with each candidate. Here are some tips for what to do when it comes to actually interviewing the people you’ve shortlisted as candidates:
Interview Face to Face
You can see applicant’s behaviour and how presentable they are, as well as their confidence and over demeanor if you meet in person. It’s really hard to properly analyze an applicant through e-mail, phone or even a Skype chat.
Be presentable yourself!
Don’t forget you’re also building an image of your company and setting your standards, so make sure everything looks professional, including you. Be confident when you speak, and expect them to follow your lead.
Check your candidate’s background
Through Google, Social Media and their references, you can form a detailed picture of what your candidates are really like. Social media profiles like Facebook can tell you a lot about a person before you meet them: don’t be afraid to do a little internet stalking in the name of your company!
5. Things to look for in a candidate
Check on their CV and ask them about their experience, but also try to focus on their ability to learn quickly. If you find someone smart and flexible, you can make much more use of them than of someone with loads of experience but with the inability to change and grow.
Make it a two-way talk
Let them ask you about the job. If they’re right for it, they will be interested in knowing more about it and trying to make sure it’s exactly what they want. You don’t want a candidate that just needs a job and is not interested in its specific responsibilities.
Honesty and communication
Don’t be afraid to talk about money and other uncomfortable issues. Some applicants might be afraid to ask about salary details, so if you don’t bring the subject up yourself, things might get weird. Don’t be afraid to talk about anything, try to keep things in the open, especially when it comes to money, working hours, responsibilities and payment schedules.
They need to know and you need to be up-front.
Test their abilities
If you have the chance, show the potential employees where they’re going to be working, and the gear or software that they might end up using, and see how comfortable they feel with it.
This funny video kinda sums up both sides of the interview process and is well worth a watch:
6. Choosing the right person
After posting your ad, interviewing and checking candidate’s backgrounds, references and experience, you’ll have to decide which person is the right candidate for you.
Of course, as well as all the facts and figures, don’t be afraid to let your intuition have a say in the process, too. Listen to that hunch! It probably means that you have affinity with that person and that it’s probably the one you’ll enjoy working with the most.
Don’t forget that working with someone means lots of hours together and lots of communicating and solving problems, sometimes in stressful moments, so make sure you hire someone that you really get along with!
Good luck with the search!
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