Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Blacklist Is Real! 10 Ways You Can Lose Out on Future Internships

Yes, the Cold War has ended. The US government's communist blacklist is no more. In fact, the industry welcomes any political and religious beliefs- especially if they turn themselves into a Million Dollar Screenplay.



However, there is still a Blacklist. These blacklists are not industry-wide and not on Wikipedia, but instead in the databases of HR at Hollywood's biggest studios and intern programs. The most notorious for these Blacklist documentation are Disney/ABC, NBCUniversal, Viacom/MTV.

The Application Databases 

To understand these blacklists we must first look at the application process for internships at these three major companies. First you apply on an online portal,  all relevant information. When the HR department logs on to their database, they can see all of the applications you ever submitted to the company, the results of these applications, interview notes, etc. They also can search the entire database or listing for applicants of a particular major, University, GPA, previous intern experience (often a box for that- always click it), and other relevant applicant information. This is how they choose which candidates to interview due to time constraints. Before you get mad that they may not be looking at your application, the HR departments are filling over 150 positions and receive about 15,000 applications each season. It is often times they only have a 2-4 person team focused on just internships.

These databases also list how far you got in the process if you applied to this company before. For instance if you got a phone interview, an in-person interview, accepted the position, or denied the position. All interviews are required to submit notes about the person they interview which will be on your record in that company FOREVER.

Yes, forever. Officially Disney/ABC says they disregard applications after 6 months (2 internship seasons). However, the database really is forever and nothing is ever deleted. HR is allowed to use their discretion to look up past interview notes, etc.

But where does the Blacklist come in? Glad you asked. These notes can effectively blacklist you from future internships or even employment at these companies.

Here's 10 Ways to Get "Annotated" on these Companies Databases: 


1. Terrible Social Media Profiles. I'm talking drinking, weed, talking about killing, or WORSE talking bad about your past internships or job/boss. If you want to know if your Facebook is killing your hopes of an awesome internship, check out my post on the matter here. 

2. Breaking Confidentiality at a Past Internship. Most of these companies have confidentiality agreements, so you should keep what you did at past internships under wraps. Don't be talking about that time you got Beef Jerky for Speilberg or Nick Jonas being cast in a film on Facebook.

3. Not Answering the Phone. If an HR rep calls and you do not return the call (within 2-4 days) for whatever reason, the HR rep takes it as you are no longer interested in the position. Ditto for emails. Answer those as SOON AS POSSIBLE.

4. Not Being Available for an Interview: HR reps are reasonable, they know you are in school and you are a busy person. However, if they give you a time or a place for an interview- you should make yourself free. If you blow off HR, much like a first date, they won't ask again.

5. Not Showing Up to An Interview: They have made the time in their busy day to see you. Not showing up to an interview is a terrible thing to do. There will not be a second chance. Email/Call if you are going to be even 5 mins late- and make sure you have a good excuse like a death in the family or your car breaking down on the 5.

6. Rudeness. If you seem like a terrible person during any interview, the notes will likely say they don't want to work with you. You will likely not get an interview again.

7. A Bad Reference (even an unintentional one). In the final stages of this process, they will go over every bit of your application. They may even call your references or worse, one of your past internships. You may forget that everyone in Hollywood knows everyone, or at the very least they can look up your supervisor on IMBD Pro. If your supervisor didn't particularly like you or says you slacked off, kiss that internship good bye.

8. Lying About Work History. This is a big one. Don't lie! With Linkenin, Facebook, Twitter, and High School's Graduation Press Releases, it is very easy to tell when someone is lying about their age, work experience, etc. For instance, I had a college freshman say he had interned at NBC. Hint: They only allow Juniors and Seniors to intern at NBC.

9. Calling The HR Department Repetitively To Check the Status Of Your Application. It's annoying. They are busy and will notify you if they want to move forward with the application process.

10. Backing Out After Accepting An Offer. Now this is the worest thing you can do. After you accept an internship they begin filling out tedious employment paperwork. If you back out, it destroys your rep with the HR department. So once you get an internship think hard and long about back out on that internship even if a better internship comes along. I'll be positing about this in the comming weeks.


Go forth and don't be blacklisted!




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