The creative industry I’ve chosen doesn’t always work like more conventional industries. I won’t necessarily apply for a job, interview and climb a ladder at a company until I retire with a healthy super fund, savings and a nest egg for my children. I’ll have my own clients, my own personal and financial goals and targets to reach, and a wider understanding of my own business as whole rather than a pay check every fortnight and accumulating sick leave. I’ll have to understand A) my own expectations, but also my limits, and similarly for my clients. I may have employees, and to be fair, my clients may view me as an employee. While I’ll be my own boss, I won’t always enjoy the work I do, or the people I work with; but at least it will be short term.
While the audio industry doesn’t usually award work around interviews where an employer is interviewing a potential employee to become employed, I will still face interviews. My clients will be interviewing me to further understand if I’m the right person to record their vision, while I’m interviewing them to decide if their project is something I can give my 100%, but also how it will contribute to my own business’s growth and reputation. On the other hand – if the clients tick neither of those boxes, I’ll be interviewing to gauge how willing I am to work with an artist depending how badly I need the money. Therefore, we need to talk to clients that have contacted us and A) sell ourselves, show what we can bring to the table & communicate our product and B) understand the clients’ vision + expectations. Once these questions have been answered we can decide if the job is right for us. Our clients need a product that we can provide, while we need work that our clients will pay us for to obtain that product. While this seems simple enough – a lot of work goes int the process and we have to be prepared to meet and exceed expectations, compromise and create. We need to understand how much input our clients want from us as ‘producers’ rather than just engineers, and how much extra work we may have to do to make up for clients without experience in the studio.
This leads us to A) knowing what our potential client or employer wants and B) know what questions they’re really asking when they ask about tennis ball fuzz. Smith (2016) discusses an interview questions used by Google to ascertain how potential employees handle questions they can’t answer, by asking “How many cows are in Canada?” In class, I asked my potential employee ‘Do you expect to work an 8 hour day in this industry?’ I intended to follow up with, ‘If not, how will you manage your family and social life commitments?’ This was primarily to ascertain the interview’s expectations and workload in this industry and but equally importantly to understand how they work ensure that under pressure, they will continue to keep a happy home and social life. To me, this is important because unhappy or workaholic employees will either resign from projects or work themselves into a state that leaves them unable to continue to work.
The readings this week listed a series of questions tailored specifically for different disciplines in the creative industry; because the work we’re doing, executive decisions we need to make and responsibilities we hold don’t always fit in more conventional interviews. The questions are more tailored towards problem solving, intuitiveness and confidence in our own work. It also questions our ability to remain organised with al the extra jobs we do as creative professionals; such as accounting and maintaining our equipment on top of the day-to-day. These question aren’t being asked to ensure our tube mics are running and our preamps are free from hiss – our interview is trying to understand if we’ve been organised enough to do all the little things that need to be done when you’re self-employed, which apply to short term projects swell. One good test would be hand a potential engineer something like this:
This could gauge whether A) they know what it is and B) if they’re organised enough to have used one in the past.
Kellie Shadle (“Interview Questions for Creative Professionals: How to Answer the Usual Suspects”, 2016) discusses a few questions (and again the questions aren’t the point) commonly used by hiring creative medias to “… uncover whether or not you’re staying busy and working on projects to improve your craft.” while also trying to understand your long term prospects by your “… willingness to stay sharp.”. More closely related to a band is the interview trying to “determine if your design aesthetic will complement (or clash with) the company’s branding.”
Developing a rough session plan early on can assist in understanding what we expect from clients, team members and other engineers. We can understand what jobs need to done, and what qualities each person doing their assigned job will require, including yourself. We can understand what to expect from the session as part of the session plan. How much experience does the group have? What equipment does the group have? Do I have the gear to make the sound they want?
In conclusion, we’ll never escape interviews. But rather than conventionally interviewing to secure a job, we use interviews to ascertain whether a job is right for us, and vice versa. We still need to same information as a more conventional interview, however we gather information to assist us in achieving a common goal, which isn’t always the case in less… cool industries.