Author Topic: Why didn't I get the job?  (Read 3157 times)

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MatthewShiner

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Why didn't I get the job?
« on: Feb 22, 2015, 08:34 am »
I have interviewed 80 stage managers in the past eight months, and recently had a couple of “hey, can you help me hire an sub/asm/replacement” situations arise. 

I’ve gotten a couple of emails after the fact, asking, basically, “why didn't I get the job?”.

Here’s a couple of the major reasons why a candidate may not get the gig.
1)   Experience – when a stage manager is being hired, their experience is being rented . . . I am trying to get as much experience for my buck as possible.

2)   Wrong kind of experience – even the best stage manager may not have the experience I am looking for – no musicals, no big teams, no classical theater – all have had me put a resume aside for someone else.

3)   Bad Interview – just as I can rant that many GMs/Production Managers don’t know how to interview FOR a SM position, there are some SM’s who don’t know how to be interviewed.

4)   Wrong Personality – I joke all the time that a monkey with a lap top could sometimes do our job, but it has the right personality.  If I am looking to fill a position, I need someone who I can spend 80 hours a week with, and a lot of those hours I am going to be stressed, tired, frustrated . . .

5)   Wrong for the Team – I am looking to put together a team, and I tend to look at who is already in the team, the skill sets / personality of the team already in place – I am looking to complement those skills.  I don’t want a team of all people exactly like me . . . first off, that would be horrifying . . . second off, I have my skill set, I need people with other strengths or weaknesses.

6)   Over Qualified – as I wrote before – I have had some VERY bad experiences with taking a risk on an over qualified candidate.  I avoid it all costs.

7)   Union Experience – I tend to want to make sure when I am hiring someone they have had a couple of shows on that union contract.
 
8)   Degrees of Separation – I have had tremendous luck and positive experience when being handing a team, or working with new people – but I will always tend to move towards candidates either I know, or someone I know recommends.   It’s about knowing people work well with my style – but it also about just knowing that person is good person.  (There are some not so nice stage managers out there)

9)   Wrong Reason for Wanting the Job – sometimes a candidate will give me a reason for wanting the job that sends out warning signals to me . . . if a stage manager seems desperate to work on the show, I get very worried – or if they seem like FANATIC in anyway (I REALLY WANT TO WORK WITH THIS ACTOR, THIS DIRECTOR, THIS COMPANY) I get nervous.

10)   Recommendations – if there is any hesitation a recommendation gives me on a candidate . . .I will usually move on.

11)   Wrong Person – sometimes I know I want a team that has diversity – I want to make sure I have a diverse team.  I lost a job early in my career because of my gender . . . I mean it was a long shot, but the PSM didn’t want to end up with an all-male SM team, if the female first had said yes, I would have gotten the second position – sadly, a male first was hired.

12)   Lies on Resume – that one speaks for yourself.

13)   Missing critical skills – two PA resumes in front of me, one knows Final Draft, one does not – the projects is a new play by a playwright who is using Final Draft – I am going to lean towards the PA who has proven experience in Final Draft.

14)   Social Media Savvy – if I am on a fence about a candidate – I do check out social media – if that candidate has bad mouthed other SM’s, complained about their shows, and showed poor judgment in the past . . . hard to hire them.

15)    Where you live – two choices of equal talent – one is local, one requires housing – why not hire local?

16)   Bad Resume – if your resume is too far of the professional acceptable format, I wonder how off you are in other paperwork


Basically, I think, there is a myth that any SM can SM anything . . . and that’s not really the case – SM is a very tricky job, and when you are under the pressure of finding the right person for the right job, there are many red flags that might be the signal for you to pass on applicant.


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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.

kdshort1

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #1 on: Feb 23, 2015, 12:34 am »
This is such an important post for me, as I am less than three months away from graduating. 
I've always understood why an actor or actress might not get the part, but have had a more difficult time grasping why a stage manager might not be right for the job.  This list is gold.

Thanks for sharing. :)

XanderQCall

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #2 on: Feb 23, 2015, 11:35 am »
I agree!! Solid gold list. Thank you Matthew!!

MandalynM

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #3 on: Feb 23, 2015, 08:40 pm »
Thank you! I am about to graduate with my MFA and heading toward professional theatre, however, I am worried with my education vs experience, I wont be considered for internships/apprenticeships because I am over qualified. I don't have much professional experience so I need that year of interning (regardless of my education). Do you run into this issue? How would you handle a resume with a lot of educational experience but not so much professional experience?

Mandi

MatthewShiner

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #4 on: Feb 23, 2015, 10:03 pm »
It depends on the job and position . . . would I hire someone with only education experience - not on any show I am currently attached to . . . but someone who is just in school would not be a good fit for either project . . .

But, for an internship or a PA with a smaller (regional) theater might be just the right first step for you.

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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.

MandalynM

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #5 on: Feb 23, 2015, 10:51 pm »
Great! That's what I was hoping you'd say. Thank you!

LisaS

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #6 on: Feb 24, 2015, 01:50 pm »
Matthew, my only question is about you wanting to hire someone with experience on whatever particular contract you are working under.  How is a younger stage manager supposed to gain any experience under different contracts unless someone is willing to hire them for something that they haven't done yet?

(Which describes the wall that I feel like I am currently hitting in my career.)

MatthewShiner

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #7 on: Feb 24, 2015, 02:14 pm »
It's not that I wouldn't hire someone without experience . . . but if it is between two candidates, I might side with the one who has experience on the contract.  These are reasons I wouldn't for sure not hire one, but could be part of the thought process why one good stage manager is passed over for another stage manager.  If a PM, GM or PSM (whomever is doing the hiring) is smart, they are going to put together the strongest team they can get for their money. 

I recently did an OFF Broadway show, where the ASM had never been on AEA contract before, let alone an off-Broadway contract.

My current show is currently being producing on a COST contract, so I made sure one of my team members had experience on the COST contract to flag with something.

Even if you just PA'ed or intern on the contract, hopefully you were paying attention, and picked up some of the experience.

Most of my big break thrus have been based on someone knowing me and my work - and going - "you know, he hasn't done a commercial show before, but he has the all the skills, and I believe in him" or "you know, he has never done a big musical before, but he has done some really big straight shows, and I really like working with him".

LisaS, it's  a rough business - and getting past those walls and moving to bigger ponds are part of the career - and part of the career that is a big challenge.



And remember, this wall against you is something you will hit long after you drop the term "YOUNGER" - I have lost out out on some commercial projects because I have had zero Broadway experience . . .

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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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LisaS

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Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« Reply #8 on: Feb 26, 2015, 02:47 pm »
Thanks for clearing that up Matthew.  It was pretty scary to hear a successful SM confirm one of my big stressors (at least the way I read it).

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