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How to ace a TV job interview

Posted on January 25, 2016

Congratulations! You’ve finally managed to do what everyone said was impossible and bag yourself a coveted interview spot with the TV production company of your dreams. After spending an hour elatedly dancing around your bedroom in your PJs, it suddenly dawns on you that although you’ve spent what has felt like a lifetime dreaming about working on the set of your favourite TV show, you haven’t put any thought into the interview process or how you’re going to prepare for it.

Well don’t panic. Luckily for you, we’ve prepared some great tips that will help you ace your TV interview and hopefully knock your unprepared, competition out of the park.

Make sure you do your research. We really can not emphasise it enough when we say that the key to preparation is knowledge and you can only get that knowledge through research.

TV companies are always looking for enthusiastic candidates who know all about their output and have their own opinion on it. Regardless of whether you’re going for a production, research or development role, it’s important that you know all about the types of programmes the company makes and can demonstrate that you have an understanding of their audiences.

Expect to be asked all about your favourite and least favourite shows and be prepared to have a strong opinion on why you love or hate them and if you’re able to tell them how you think these programmes can be improved then you’re well on your way to impressing their socks off. So if you know your ‘Making a Murder’ from your ‘How to Get Away with Murder’, now is your chance to show them just how many hours on Netflix you’ve racked up! Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself before your interview:

  • What TV programmes do they make?
  • What do you like or dislike about their programmes?
  • Do you have any format ideas that you think would be perfect for their target audience?
  • Do you know the difference between pre and post production?
  • Why do you want to work for their production company over all the others?

Think about why you want to work in TV. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that working on a TV set is going to be super glamorous and that you’ll spend your days schmoozing with the stars and your nights hopping from award ceremony to party. That’s not to say that you wont get to do these things, but before you get to experience any of the perks you need to prepare yourself for the hard graft, the heavy lifting and the very long hours. If you’re the kind of person who can take the good with the bad then you’re cut out for a career in TV so you just need to convince your interviewer.

Also, when you’re asked why you want to work in TV, use this opportunity to not only demonstrate your knowledge but also talk about your previous experience, skills and education to explain why you’re not only perfect for the role but why you would be an asset to the company.

Make sure you ask questions. Even though you’re the one being interviewed, it doesn’t mean that asking questions is off the table. You need to know what their office culture is like and whether you’ll be a good fit for it. Asking about the potential routes for progression is always a good idea too. Although you want to get as much experience as possible, it’s always useful to know if there will be opportunities to develop the role or move into another department after you’ve been there for a certain amount of time. No one likes to feel stagnant!

We really hope these tips have helped you well on the way to acing your next TV job interview. And don’t forget, we have some amazing paid internships in TV and other creative sectors, so feel free to check them out here.