Author Topic: Hiring and references  (Read 9104 times)

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LisaEllis

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Hiring and references
« on: Nov 14, 2006, 11:43 pm »
 A lot of people here seems to think that getting to an interview is the easy part, and you can finish selling yourself then.

By the time I get a phone call, they've checked my references, called who they know about me, and are already have a pretty good idea that they want me.  We chat, I get the specifics on the job, they see if they like me, and call me back in a week.  Getting the first phone call is the hard part, so I put it all out there. Going back for repeat seasons is important.  How long you spent with a company is important.  It's clear if you were only there for 1 show, because it's only listed as 1 show.  But was it 1 season or 3 could be different if you have 6 shows at the same place.  The company hiring you isn't going to research the places you worked to figure it out...they want to know who you are on the piece of paper in front of them and if other people like you.  And then talk to you to see if you're a good fit.

But resumes are very fluid things, always being updated and redone (that's why I don't have mine posted...I'd have to keep it current, and that changes every few months.)  I don't see how you can't fit the year, but to each they're own formatting....as with every piece of paperwork we generate...

MatthewShiner

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Hiring and references
« Reply #1 on: Nov 19, 2006, 12:04 am »
After reading and discussing with other co-workers, I think the dates is just a style choice, and probably good under different circumstances - especially if you are dividing your work by theatre or by position.  I list my shows chronologically, so there is some information about dates worked in.  (Plus, there are some things I have done quite awhile ago, that I want to remain on my resume to show some diversity.)

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By the time I get a phone call, they've checked my references, called who they know about me, and are already have a pretty good idea that they want me.

Actually in my case, I would NEVER contact a reference before I spoke to the person applying - what's the point of the two to three phone calls to track down a reference if the person isn't really interested in the job or, after I talk them, aren't really fit for the job.

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The company hiring you isn't going to research the places you worked to figure it out...they want to know who you are on the piece of paper in front of them and if other people like you.

In my history, if there is someone I am truly interested in hiring and they list a theatre I don't know, I will do a google search on that company.  That way I can get an idea of the size and scope of that theatre, and learn as much as I can before I go into the interview.  I think the person conducting the interview needs to be just as prepared as the person being interviewed.

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I've got the director also listed on my website resume but not currently on my Word document.  I probably should rework it so that I can get the director onto the page as well

I think it's vital to include the director, 9 times out of ten, it's the director I will contact for as reference - especially if the directors are NOT listed in their references.  Remember, there is no rule that the person hiring can ONLY contact the references listed - unless I am told they are keeping their job search confidential, I feel comfortable contacting anyone I feel will give me honest insight into the person I am interviewing.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Scott

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« Reply #2 on: Nov 20, 2006, 01:33 am »

Brilliant post by Matthew -- in my world, the Director has only as much say as they are The Power That Is and I often do not list directors if there are others with More Impressive Credentials; but, and inclusive, for that, I think he's really narrowing in on some important principles.

When I have the rare privelege of reviewing resumes, I would say that on first review I scan the first few (let's assume three) credits (physically top to bottom) hoping that I'll see some Institution or Talent that I am familar with, then look from bottom up for some clue as to training or training affiliation that I am familar with so there's something to talk about if all else fails (with an personal bias towards either liberal arts backgrounds or established conservatory programs -- but any sort of clue is interesting and useful).

In regards to dates, I find them useful in trying to establish the age of a candidate and in fixing a more precise view of where  one was in the process of a particular piece.  Also important when discussing events and other "non-traditional" SM credits.

cuelight

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« Reply #3 on: Nov 24, 2006, 10:41 am »
After an incident when my director yelled at me for having his name on my CV (apparently a potential employer had called him up and he was reluctant to give me a reference) I no longer put my directors names on my CV. I do, however, ask them if I can list them as a reference on my CV and depending on what job I have just gone for I will alter my references accordingly. I.E. Putting down a chief electrician if I'm applying for a lighting position is better than putting down a director 9 times out of 10 or vica versa.

My CV reads as follows.

Year - Position - Show Name - Company - Theatre

Lindsay

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« Reply #4 on: Nov 26, 2006, 01:36 am »
It seems like this thread has wrapped up really nicely and covered a lot of the question marks associated with resumes.  As a young freelancer, I like to list the season as a sub heading to show my commitment and ambition level.  While I do still have my college and year of graduation listed - and probably always will - i have reached a turning point where I have phased out all of my academic shows to make room for the professional ones.  Hooray. 
It does raise one question for me though - Some of the larger scale academic shows are being phased out so that I can include more recent work on workshops and readings (among other full productions).  I went to school in Boston and now live in DC so I see it as a way of showing who I'm connected to so far in the city but typically are workshops important to include? 
Lindsay Miller
AEA Stage Manager

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« Reply #5 on: Nov 26, 2006, 01:57 am »
I agree with your choice to highlight your local experience. 

Workshops in NYC (and I assume DC) are important to include and happen a lot.  It is a great skill to have and definately worthy of a slot on your resume.

When you get more full scale credits you can eliminate your smaller credits or simplify them all into one line.

ljh007

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« Reply #6 on: Nov 26, 2006, 08:06 pm »
Quote
After an incident when my director yelled at me for having his name on my CV
I think that the hirer her was definitely wrong to contact your director. Listing a director on your resume is NOT the same as listing a reference. It never occurred to me that someone might pick up the phone and call a director that was not explicitly identified as a reference. It would certainly seem to me that in our industry, listing a director is just providing information about your job experience. It conveys a lot of context about what kinds of environments you have worked in and what sorts of skills you might have. But that doesn't mean that if you list a dozen shows with directors, you have offeres a dozen references for your interviewer to call. As a hirer, I would never do this. If I needed to call some references, I would ask the candidate to provide a list.

MatthewShiner

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« Reply #7 on: Nov 27, 2006, 12:19 am »
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As a hirer, I would never do this. If I needed to call some references, I would ask the candidate to provide a list.

As someone who goes over a lot of resumes, if I know a director on someone's resume, I will contact them.  I do this ALL the time.

Here's the problem with references, these are the three people picked by the person applying for the job.  I bet you right now, those three people are going to say good things about them.  Why bother calling them?  I will usually only contact them if I am trying to see if they fit the job, or if I want to get some more information and I think a third party is better then the person actually applying (this is far more for educational positions, such as interns.)  But after calling a bunch of references last year, I actually stopped calling them - unless I personally know the person or I am on the fence about the applicant in someone.

If a theatre is listed, I would contact their production manager.  If a director is listed, I would feel free to contact them.  If the list a SM they worked under, I would contact them. UNLESS there was some notion on the cover letter or resume that they were doing a confidential search - and didn't want to notify them - at which point I may ask the person if I can contact further people.

The lesson here is if you had a bad show, a bad relationship with a director or theatre, you might want to leave that show off your resume.    I think in this business it happens all the time people will contact people they know off their resumes.  Heck, I also just call up a stage manager I know who might know them to get a vibe on the person.

In the end, it's all about the personal connection.  I could have two very talented stage managers applying for the same position, but one person I may get along with, and one I might not - if I know the person who I am getting a reference from, then they will know me and hopefully give me a honest, but more educated reference.  Someone telling me "She's great, but you two would not get along" is a much better reference then "She is great."

« Last Edit: Nov 27, 2006, 12:23 am by MatthewShiner »
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

butch

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« Reply #8 on: Nov 27, 2006, 11:00 am »
I would be interested to see what all the hirers have to say about this...
I am still currently in school, but have reached that happy point where my professional SM experience can completely fill that section of my resume (and then some). Is it a good idea to bump off the educational shows in favor of the professional ones right now? If it matters, the director that I work with in University, I have also worked with several times professionally.

Thanks

Jessie_K

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« Reply #9 on: Nov 27, 2006, 11:48 am »
Professional definately trumps educational.

MatthewShiner

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« Reply #10 on: Nov 27, 2006, 02:13 pm »
I still have some educational stuff on my resume, but mostly because of the size and scope of those shows are impressive - as well as a LOTof my dance work was done in grad school.

I think it is having a balance.  If you have only done really small shows professionally, then a big show, even at the college level, is good to have on your resume.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

stagemonkey

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« Reply #11 on: Nov 27, 2006, 10:48 pm »
As someone who is trying to make his start in the professional world I keep seeing more and more reminders of how small the theatre community really is.  With that in mind you have to think if you are putting someones name down on your resume it is often because you want to show you worked with this big named person, and if that person does have a big name chances are someone else seeing your resume might have worked with them before, and if they know each other they will ask each other about the applicant. 

So I have to agree with what MatthewShiner that if you had a bad experience working on a show or with a director then that is probably a line you want to leave off your resume.  Cause ultimately you are going to have done countless more shows then you can fit on a page, the resume is to highlight your best work that you are most proud of.

Maribeth

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« Reply #12 on: Nov 28, 2006, 04:04 am »

fI know the person who I am getting a reference from, then they will know me and hopefully give me a honest, but more educated reference.  Someone telling me "She's great, but you two would not get along" is a much better reference then "She is great."



I agree- I think that anything on my resume (or that can be figured out from it, i.e. production managers) is fair game. DEFINITELY directors, but also conductors, designers, occasionally even actors). I think it can really work to your advantage to have as much information as you can about a show listed- if a hirer knows the stage manager I ASMed for, I think it's almost expected that if they are really interested in hiring me and want information that they would call this person, even if they aren't a listed reference.

I think of this a positive, rather than negative, aspect of a resume, though. The more chance that a hirer knows someone I've worked with, the more they'll trust that person's point of view, instead of knowing that someone who is listed as a reference is undoubtedly going to say good things. Theatre is a small business, and I've definitely had hirers look at my resume during an interview and say, "Oh, you worked at _____ Theatre last season? Then you must have worked with __________, I'll have to give them a call."

Although I'm constantly reworking it, my resume is currently split into ASM and SM positions, and the headings are a little different:

Production      Director        Theatre/Artistic

It's chronological, since I don't have room for dates. "Production" is the title, "director" is self-explanatory, and "Theatre/Artistic" has the theatre company, as well as any other information about the show. I used to have it listed as Thetre/Conductor since I wokr in opera as well as theatre, but to take advantage of the space, I use this "artistic" heading to cover other things as well, such as listing the stage manager if I was the ASM, or if there was something that made that show stand out that I want to feature. Mostly I use it for listing conductors.

I think one of the most valuable things listed on my resume is the director- if I worked with someone that I didn't want a hirer to call I would probably leave the show off.

ljh007

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Re: Hiring and references
« Reply #13 on: Nov 28, 2006, 01:43 pm »
I do agree with Matthew that I would contact someone listed on a candidate's resume if I knew them. As other posters have said, getting a straightforward evaluation of someone without the sugar-coated reference is extremely valuable. But I do think that cold-calling a director listed on a resume is testy. Unless the call is personal in nature, employers can rarely do more in a reference call than confirm that an employee worked for them and during a certain period of time. You can indicate whether you had to issue any formal warnings or special awards, etc., but rarely can you comment on their character or work habits. It's certainly done that people cold call directors, other SMs, etc. for references. But I don't appreciate it when I am cold-called for a reference I did not agree to provide, and when I hire I don't call anyone unless I know them personally or they're offered as a reference. But I certainly do make extensive google searches about the theatres listed on the resume and pull show reviews - this is very valuable to get a sense of the level and quality of productions the candidate has worked on, and you don't get as good a sense of this through interviews or references.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Hiring and references
« Reply #14 on: Nov 28, 2006, 02:37 pm »
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I do agree with Matthew that I would contact someone listed on a candidate's resume if I knew them. As other posters have said, getting a straightforward evaluation of someone without the sugar-coated reference is extremely valuable. But I do think that cold-calling a director listed on a resume is testy.

Yes, to clairfy, I would only contact someone who was not listed as a reference but was on a person's resume if I knew them personally (a director, a production manager, a stage manager, etc.)
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

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