Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Everything You Say Can and Will Be Held Against You


We've all been told that humans are inherently good.

Whether it's throwing a few coins into the cup of a homeless man, or running an errand for someone even though you're beyond exhausted, we all try and go the extra mile when we can (and we should!)

In other situations, some things are more Quid Pro Pro. This idea of "I scratch your back if you scratch mine" can prove especially helpful in the HollyWorld, as countless articles before this one emphasize the importance of making connections and helping each other out. However, one extremely significant part of this ideology is keeping in mind the worth of your word.

At my current Hollywood internship, I'm in charge of hiring my replacement when my contract expires. Since networking within Chapman University, my school, has always proven worth my time, I headed straight for the "Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Connection Group" and posted that we were looking for interns. Out of the many responses that I received, I knew most people personally - but only found one to be capable of handling the job.

This is where it gets tricky. Suppose you were in a similar situation, and you had to pick between two good friends for a position even though only one is qualified. Realize that recommending a candidate to your boss holdsyou accountable for the outcome. There is a lot of worth in your word. Never blindly recommend a friend or someone who has done you a favor simply because you feel the need to. When it comes to the competitive entertainment industry, your boss and colleagues are looking for candidates who truly know what they're doing. Sure, there's always some behind-the-curtain nepotism, and knowing the right people can get you pretty far. But if your coordinator or supervisor asks you for an honest opinion of a friend, think of them as any other candidate, or it could jeopardize your image in the future. 

Unfortunately, I learned this golden nugget the hard way. After recommending a good friend for a job I had last year, my boss pushed his application to the top of the interview list. Not 30 seconds after my friend left the office, I received a text from my superior: "That was a joke, right?"

Whoops.

On the other hand, this past summer when reviewing resumes for my current position, I came across a girl I knew personally but didn't particularly admire. She wasn't always nice to me, but knowing how motivated and accomplished she was, I knew she'd be a pretty solid fit and able to meet the demands of the internship. I told my boss as much, albeit with a warning that her personality didn't mesh well with mine, and she made it to the final interview round before getting dumped. Still, I felt happy that I'd been honest and recommended her instead of trashing her immediately based on a previous negative experience.

All in all, don't brush off your opinion as something that isn't taken seriously, because it is. Supervisors ask for your opinion for a reason, and only want any recommendations you have to give if they are sincere. Don't run the risk of tarnishing your reputation - be honest and it'll pay off. 

-Tansu

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© No Experience Required Maira Gall.