3 Rules of Thumb for Media & Entertainment Staffing

Rule_of_thumbMedia and entertainment staffing is more than hiring the next big star. With thousands of writers, producers and back office people needed to keep broadcast, cable and online companies going, how do you vet for the talent as your needs raise and lower?

If you aren't using temporary workers to recruit for media and entertainment employers, then how are you filling positions? Everyone from hair dressers to producers and on-air talent can be hired on a temporary basis. Others, like IT people and technical support people need to be hired on a more permanent basis; we'll touch more on that below.

Now that you know how to fill your talent pipeline, you'll need to get the wheels in motion. Here are three rules of thumb when calling on temporary staffing agencies to recruit, source and hire temporary employees. 

1. Content Process is King 

The first and most important piece to have in place is an efficient process for engaging temporary or freelance talent. The key is to understand the different types of workers that are used, and develop a program with your workforce solutions provider to meet those needs.

This includes strategies for hourly and daily employees as well as those with equipment. There may be recruited positions (which take time to identify and screen) and payrolled positions (see below) where the freelancer or temporary is already identified. Processes should be created around all types of positions so that it’s easy for a hiring manager or internal human resources manager to get the talent they need. Obviously timing is critical for the entertainment business, so the process must be smooth and easy for everyone.

2. Reality (Show) Check

The reality of the entertainment business is that many of the same people are used over and over again. The process you develop should allow for them to be called into action when needed and then easily re-engaged in the future. In short, it should fit the reality of your situation. For example, you may have a production that lasts only for a few days, with a similar production that happens weeks later. You want to be able to simply schedule that worker and have them show up on the right day. Similarly, most media and entertainment companies have many of the same types of positions throughout the organization. Clear job descriptions can help a staffing partner develop relationships with workers who will be needed throughout the year or in different parts of the organization. This talent pool can be developed proactively to meet tight production schedules.

One important note here is the current war for IT and more specifically, development talent right now. Gaming companies, corporate America, software companies and most of the Silicon Valley is looking for top developers. So, it’s important to have a strategy for web development, IT security, network administrators and similar in-demand roles.

3. Checks and Balances 

Lastly, your process needs to incorporate appropriate screening and coordination with temporary or freelance workers. Think about what types of screenings are necessary and make sure they are informed about procedures onsite, such as security badges, access, equipment use and the employment relationships (i.e. they are an employee of the temporary agency, not your company).

This is where an MSP provider can handle onboarding and communications while making sure the workers show up and do the job. In the case of direct, recruited hires, it’s about making sure you have the right fit for your environment. This can take time and busy producers and HR staffs typically don’t have a lot of time. While recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) may seem new to entertainment, it’s used by most of the largest companies out there.

So be ready for your talent acquisition close up. When you have productions to keep moving or jobs to be filled, without a good recruiting strategy in place you might find that you are looking at dead air – or worse, you might just get cancelled.


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