Research the Company

Laptop with Google search page and a cup of coffee

Part of job hunting is research – not just finding jobs or production leads, but also researching the company and people involved. Research will help you target your job search, which is always more efficient and successful than a scattershot approach.

You will want to ask yourself some questions as you go forward.

  1. Is this company the right fit for you? For a listed job, you will want to consider the corporate culture and values expressed in the company. If this is a place where their values do not align with yours, you will end up unhappy and unfulfilled. What kind of work has the producer and director done before? Are they a maverick or a traditionalist? What can you learn about their working method? If they are a start-up, do they have a long-term strategy? If they are an established company, have they been active recently, and have they kept abreast of changes and trends in the business? Vibrant or stagnant?
  2. Are you a good fit for the company? That is, why would you want to work here, rather than one of their competitors? Research shows you what they need, the personal qualities beyond the soft and hard skills that should be visible in the job listing, so that you can show your best features and express these in your cover letter and resume keywords.
  3. What is their biggest problem and how can you solve it? What are their plans and future projects, and how can you help with those? One way to consider these questions is to examine the entire careers page of a company. Are they doing a major hiring push, focusing on a single department or working team, or are they looking for one new person to replace a long-time employee who has moved on? Neither is better or worse – it is just useful to know.

How to Research – Listed Jobs

  1. The job listing itself and the careers page. Look at the repeated keywords, and especially read the description of the company in the job description. These are the first things they want you to know about their company. Some hirers have lots of pages and information about how to succeed at their firm, even videos. Watch them! Look at the over all style of the language – formal, friendly, filled with buzz words? You will want to mimic the style in your cover letter and verbal presentation. Look for images of the workers on the site. How are they dressed? You will want to mimic the style of the best dressed employees for your interview.
  2. The corporate pages, which may not be part of the careers page. Sometimes it takes a search or a scroll to the very bottom of the main website to find the corporate tab or site map. But you will certainly want to read about the corporate values and mission statements. You may find information about charitable giving, management trainee programs, or their policies about staff development.
  3. and similar sites with public input. Glassdoor often includes feedback from people who interviewed with the companies, so you can learn the kind of questions they are likely to ask. Of course, sometimes these are disgruntled folks, so be aware. However, there is also corporate information available online, even up to annual reports from prior years. These can tell you whether a company is growing and secure. Non-profit groups also have public records that indicate their health and prospects.
  4. Social Media presence – both the company and the principals involved. Look at the kinds of posts they make, who their followers are, whether they have a vibrant presence. Social media is a growing employment area in many companies.

How to Research Film/TV Productions

  1. The company website is still the same place to start. Read up on past productions, and the full range of services that a company offers.
  2. The personal websites, IMDb pages, and social media accounts of the principal individuals. IMDb can be fun because you can also check out people who have worked with the producer or director in the past. Do they continue to work with many of the same teams, or do they constantly bring in new people? Look at the message boards that are part of the films. Look up the people on YouTube – if nothing else there may be trailers for past projects. Look up their LinkedIn profiles, and see what kind of article they link and like.
  3. Do a “News” search for the project and main people.
  4. Do a “Google Books” search for the main people, especially if they are long established.

It looks like a lot, but it will be worth it. In addition to making the best possible application, all this research will help you with your interview. It will allow you to show the aspects of your skills and creativity that will be most valued by the hirer. Some people love mentoring new folks, so an interest in expanding your skills will be helpful. Others are looking for super efficiency and a methodical mindset, so the times when your past boss complimented your attention to detail or outstanding spreadsheets should be mentioned. Still others want people with high energy and a history of taking creative risks that paid off, so they might be interested in your reel, or hearing about some unusual situation you found yourself in where you solved a problem. Research can help you avoid faux pas, like talking about another director or film that the interviewer happens to dislike, or a project that was a disaster.

Good luck with your job search.