What does a talent assistant do?
Talent assistants help to recruit the team that will make a TV programme. They support the talent manager in an administrative role, although more experienced talent assistants may have some recruitment responsibilities themselves and in this instance are often known as talent executives.
Talent assistants write brief job descriptions explaining the role and required skills, prepare adverts and post them on the company and other recruitment websites. They process emails, make and take calls and may conduct brief interviews to assess availability and suitability. They create a database of applications and a file of CVs.
They work with the talent manager to make a shortlist, which is handed to the series producer or production manager, who then decides who they want to interview. Talent assistants often then arrange interviews and provide feedback afterwards. If someone does well in interview, more experienced talent assistants call previous employers for references given by the interviewee to confirm the candidate has the experience, skills and attitude required for the job. They are responsible for flagging any potential concerns to senior staff before someone is contracted and are often required to find extra staff at the last minute.
Talent assistants build their own contacts book as they go, and as they get more experienced are able to draw on this to help recruit the best people for the job. In larger production companies, senior talent assistants are often referred to as talent executives. In smaller companies, they can be freelance and brought in to assist with recruitment on a new production. They don’t need a great deal of production experience at this level, but they do understand the various roles and pressures within a production.
What's a talent assistant good at?
- Organising: be good at filing contacts and CVs, creating databases, scheduling interviews, preparing paperwork
- Communication: be good at explaining roles, what you are looking for and what’s required, interviewing and getting references
- Building contacts: keep a diverse contacts book, have good relationships with other recruitment companies, talent managers and assistants and staff at all levels
- Knowledge of production: understand production roles, required skills, the different challenges of working in offices, studios, on location and in the edit
- Multi-tasking: be able to juggle recruitment for different programmes with different skill bases at various stages of production – all at the same time