10 Reasons You Won’t Get Hired On Your Next Gig

At, our staff have extensive experience in putting together projects for film, video, television, and digital. That experience is part of what inspired us to start creating talent management tools for producers.

Over the years we’ve gone through the hiring process with thousands of applicants. We know that finding good talent can be challenging, and so it’s actually disheartening to see candidates “shoot themselves in the foot” during the process.

Sometimes, it can feel like applicants just don’t care about the position they’re applying for. However, most of the time, we think it’s a function of not knowing what you don’t know. So, we decided to put together a list of the most common reasons, at least from our perspective, that applicants don’t get hired.

  1. You didn’t follow directions. If a job posting asks you to answer specific questions or submit your application in a certain format, it’s really important to fulfill those requests. In fact, we recommend checking thru every application you send to make sure that you took care of all the requests listed in the job posting. When you miss something that other candidates included in their applications, guess how your application looks in comparison?
  2. You didn’t include a cover letter. Contrary to popular belief, cover letters are not dead. When submitting your application if all you write is “resume attached”, hiring managers may think you’re either flippant, lazy, or worse, that you just don’t care about the position that much. Cover letters are a chance to make a great first impression. Whether you’re applying to be a PA or a Cinematographer, cover letters help you stand out from the crowd. Even a short few sentences can show that you put effort into applying.
  3. You didn't proofread. A resume or cover letter filled with typos, poor wording, or misspelling(s) signals that you aren’t detail-oriented. No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t check their work, and not proofreading will show that you don’t care about getting this job.
  4. You didn’t tailor your resume. While creating your resume, if you include a generic goal or purpose, it comes across as lazy. So be specific. Include the name of the job you’re applying for, as well as the name of the company. Explain why you want that specific job. Don’t just say that it sounds cool or the company is really great. Also, make sure you only include relevant experience. Hiring managers don’t want to read multi-page resumes with information that doesn’t relate to the job.
  5. You didn’t provide a reel or portfolio (if applicable). Many positions within the film industry ask for a reel or portfolio, and not providing one is a sure fire way to disqualify your application. If the hiring manager can’t review your work, then they have no idea what you will bring to the table. A resume full of past work is not a replacement for a reel or portfolio. Forgo that reel / portfolio to guarantee that you will not be getting a response back.
  6. You took too long to respond. Did you actually get an e-mail or voicemail asking for more information or to set up an interview? Don’t respond in a reasonable time frame (i.e. the same day) and you might automatically disqualify yourself from the role. Nothing shows you don’t care about the position like making a recruiter or hiring manager wait too long.
  7. You trash-talked others. In whatever medium, be it a cover letter, phone interview, or in person interview, avoid talking trash about anyone. Don’t call out past employers, managers or coworkers. You may be 100% in the right. They were the worst, they screw you over, etc. However, the recruiter and or hiring manager doesn’t know all the facts. They’re just getting to know you. And so, it’s a tall order to expect them to believe everything your saying. Instead, avoid the negativity. Stick to the positive. If asked about a negative experience, focus on what you did to overcome it and leave it at that. You’ll create a much more favorable impression.
  8. You didn’t prepare for the interview. Preparing for an interview by researching the company or role you are applying for shows the interviewer you care about the position. It may sound like a no-brainer. However, plenty of applicants show up without having taken a look at the company’s website or having re-reviewed the job description. Do the homework and it will show.
  9. You didn’t dress to impress. When choosing an outfit for the interview make sure you pick appropriate business attire. Even in the creative industries, it’s important that you look classy during the interview process. Yes, if you get the job, you may be working on set in jeans or in cut offs. However, until you actually get the job, show them what a complete package you are.
  10. You checked your phone. This is big and we’ve seen even seasoned professionals do it. You’re doing an interview or you’re being introduced to people at the company, and in the middle of it all, you check your phone. That’s a sure fire way to communicate that you are not present for the interaction. So, put that phone away and don’t pull it out until you’ve left the venue where you are interviewing.



Post by Jordi Matsumoto

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