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Recruiter’s Corner: what talent needs to know about today’s media & entertainment industry

How you can shine in the media and entertainment field?

Media and entertainment has always been one of the hottest and most desirable industries. But these days it too has been affected by a tight talent market. In this edition of Recruiter’s Corner, Korn Ferry’s director of media entertainment and convergence William D Simon explains what types of leaders are in demand, what major changes the industry is undergoing, and what you as an employee can do to land that dream job in this field.

The most desirable trait in today’s leaders

Companies want continuous learners who are able to adapt and aren’t frightened by change. They want people who can deal with the unexpected and have a wider lens for how they look at products and services in the marketplace.

Consumer habits have changed drastically these last two years. [Those that will succeed] will figure out how to adapt to new consumer habits and demands. Just look at the new James Bond movie. The question for the consumer is: do I see it in the theater? Do I wait four or five weeks for the video on-demand? Or do I wait four months until it is part of my paid subscription on Amazon? Trying different formulas that match this constant change is what the leaders of these businesses have to contend with.

The 3 biggest changes in the media and entertainment industry

1. A true commitment on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). DEI is something entertainment companies have talked about in a politically correct manner for the last 10-15 years. But real resources and commitment from the top had not been as evident as they are today. You’re seeing real dollars put into it and people being held accountable. We’re also seeing that the hiring numbers are up. These are highly-specialized positions and the talent pool is what it is, so we’re working really hard to enhance those numbers. It’s challenging but it’s good for us as a firm, for me as a professional, and it’s also good for the companies that are demanding it. You need to have a workforce that looks like the communities you are serving. And you need to create an environment where people feel like they can contribute and are valued.

2. A new embrace of employee retention. There was this certain arrogance because there was always 100 people outside of the gates, banging to get into the studio lots. So there hadn’t been a real focus on retention, but that’s changing significantly now.

3. Less creeps. The Mad Men behavior that took place in the entertainment sector for the last 100 years is very tough to get away with now. Whether it’s the casting couches, the Harvey Weinstein monsters, the thousands of stories... I’m not going to say it doesn’t exist anywhere, unfortunately. I’m not naïve. But there is a realization now that people will be held accountable.

3 secrets for a successful job search

1. Create your own individualized board of directors. Find three or four people who aren’t your boss or your aunt, uncle or spouse who can tell you the truth. You need people who can give you context about yourself and what’s going on in the marketplace.

2. Identify your own superpower. The first thing I ask people is, ‘what is it that you do that is really special or unique?’ Are you a branding guy or gal who can take a nugget and shine it up into a big brand? You need to know the answer to that question.

3. Don’t take rejection personally. If someone blows off a meeting, cuts off a call or doesn’t hire you, don’t take it personally. It’s a numbers game from a hiring point of view. They’re going to look at ‘X’ amount of people before they make a decision. You’re going to have to toughen up because there are a lot of issues at play here that have nothing to do with you.

William D Simon is a senior client partner in Korn Ferry’s Los Angeles office and managing director of the Media Entertainment and Convergence sector. The Media, Entertainment and Convergence sector that he oversees encompasses all aspects of traditional entertainment film, television, home entertainment, music and publishing and all digital content and platforms for broadband, games, wireless and mobile devices.

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