Recruiter tips to help you get a job in Film and Games
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Recruiter tips to help you get a job in Film and Games

Making yourself stand-out against the masses of applications is a difficult task in any industry. Why should someone hire you over everyone else?

Making yourself stand-out against the masses of applications is a difficult task in any industry. Why should someone hire you over everyone else? What can you do to give your application the extra edge it needs over the rest? We reached out to to some recruiters who work or have previously worked in the VFX and video game industry to share their thoughts.


Kelly Barschig

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellybarschig

What is your current role and what does it involve?

Currently I’m the VP of Talent Acquisition for a startup game studio called That's No Moon. I am helping recruit talent and grow our team from the very beginning of existence which is quite exciting. I’m also working on establishing a recruitment process, practice and culture for our studio.

What do you think is the biggest hurdle an emerging artist has to overcome?

I think the biggest hurdle for an emerging artist is really sticking out from the rest of the graduates or entry level artists if you haven’t gone to school. Because of that I feel it’s all about contacts you can make in the industry so you can establish relationships early on with people that support you getting into the industry you desire. I always encourage trying to get an internship if you are going to school. It’s the best way to utilise your resources and get that foot in the door!

I think the biggest hurdle for an emerging artist is really sticking out from the rest of the graduates or entry level artists if you haven’t gone to school.

Can you recall any memorable job applications, and why did it stick with you?

The most miserable job applications are the applicants who apply to every position even when they aren't qualified, just to try and get a job. Recruiters notice that and are put off by the un-professionalism of their application process.

What skills seem to be missing all too often in job applications?

Any sort of technical skills. For example, if you are an artist it is good to have an understanding of the technical side of being an artist. You have Engineering as support when working on games or films, but it ensures you can speak their language a bit more. Also in general I think it is just more desirable from a recruiting perspective.

What mistakes do you see artists making when applying for jobs?

The biggest one I mentioned was applying for anything and everything even when they aren't qualified. Also leaving off their portfolio or website off their CV. Their resume could be amazing, but it's an extra step for the recruiter to then reach out and ask for their portfolio which they may not want to do with all the applications that come in.

What are your top 5 tips as a recruiter to help emerging artists get a job?

1. Have good manners.
2. Be self-aware.
3. Don’t give up.
4. Have good communication.
5. Do your research (including the role you are applying for and the company).


Makeila Reyes

https://au.linkedin.com/in/makeila-reyes-b9aa9542

What is your current role and what does it involve?

I am currently the People & Culture Manager at a EdTech startup, Stile Education. Prior to this, I was the staffing coordinator at a VFX company from 2015 to 2018. At this company I supported Production by assisting with the estimation of how many artists we would need per project. I would also manage our job ads and interview pipeline. The biggest part of the role was ensuring that contracts were looked after (extensions, ending, etc).

What are the kinds of things to avoid in a job application?

I personally find that reels with passwords are quite annoying. I do understand that sometimes it's because of client confidentiality. So if you need to password protect, make sure we have easy access. Also avoid bar charts with your proficiencies. I don't know what that means. Just tell us in words what software you can use or are in the process of learning.

Also avoid bar charts with your proficiencies. I don't know what that means. Just tell us in words what software you can use or are in the process of learning.

Can you recall any memorable job applications, and why did it stick with you?

It's interesting that I really only remember the bad ones. The one that really sticks out is the artist that tried to use our own CG Supervisor's work as their own. I also remember people sending their headshots in for the 'modelling artist' position clearly not reading that it's an asset artist... not a runway model.

What do you think is the biggest hurdle an emerging artist has to overcome?

Making yourself stand out. At my previous studio I got so many mediocre applications.

What skills seem to be missing all too often in job applications?

I do think that a lot of it was due to the fact that people were very stylised. When working in the movie industry, we need photorealistic imagery. Cater to your audience. Make a different reel to film than to games than to animation if that's what it takes. Or provide us with a good variety.

What mistakes do you see artists making when applying for jobs?

I think many artists are trying to get their foot in the door. Pay attention to whom you're addressing things to and send it to the right people. Also, all the advice given to the reels above. Take that seriously! It only takes 10-15 seconds for people to say no.

If you could give one piece of advice to artists starting out, what would it be?

Don't try too many things too quickly. Try to master just a few pieces or shots. We rather see 5 great things than 10 mediocre things.

What are your top 5 tips as a recruiter to help emerging artists get a job?

1. Keep your reel under 2 minutes.
2. Make sure your contact details are somewhere easy to find.
3. You don't have to take the entire 2 minutes. If you only have 30 seconds of amazing work, just use that. They're looking for quality over quantity.
4. Showcase your BEST work within the first 10 seconds. If you lead up to it, chances are they won't watch the entire reel if they're not drawn in.
5. This should go without saying but use your original work. I've seen so many artists try to put work in their reel that wasn't theirs; specifically it was one of our artists' work, so we caught on very quickly.


There's a few things to take away from all this;

  • Present your best work within the first 10 seconds of your showreel. Don't hold off for a grand finale.
  • Use your own work! You will only get found out by using someone else's work. It's not a good look.
  • Make sure your portfolio is attached to your application. Avoid using a password if you can, it just creates an extra step for the recruiter.
  • Research what position and what company you're applying for. Is it a company that does heavily stylised animations? Or are they famous for doing photo-realistic digi-doubles?
  • Broaden your technical knowledge. A greater understanding of the technology being used either side of your department means better communication throughout the pipeline.
  • Apply what you are qualified for. Don't go for any and every role just because you want to get your foot through the door. Recruitment won't look kindly if you're a fresh graduate applying for a position with 10+ years of experience required.
  • Be polite. People respond a lot better to good manners, whether it is reaching out to a recruiter or if you're trying to network your way around the industry.