Alison Mann, Manager of Talent Relations for Paramount Animation Studios, on Creative & Technical Recruiting.
July 13, 2015
I was born and raised in California, and as an artist myself, I felt influenced by the entertainment industry and knew I wanted to be part of it; specifically animation.
I began my career at Nickelodeon Animation Studio as a finance department intern while attending Columbia College Chicago, where I majored in Business of the Arts.
After graduating, I was offered the amazing opportunity to continue working with Nickelodeon/ MTV as their Recruiter/ Coordinator of Talent Relations.
Through my 12 years in the industry, I gained experience in TV, Film and Gaming while working at Walt Disney Animation Studio, Zynga, and Disney Interactive.
Currently, I am the Manager of Talent Relations for Paramount Animation, where I am responsible for industry outreach, artistic talent acquisition, and studio enrichment activities.
First Job in Entertainment
After I finished school, I was offered two positions at Nickelodeon.
PA on Go Diego Go, or Assistant in special events, which included sorting prospective portfolios and giving them to productions for review.
I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted, so I picked Special Events. After a while I just sort of fell into recruitment and built my own recruiting department at Nick since it didn’t exist at the time.
I fell in love with recruiting, which I didn’t even know was a career at first, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
I’ve always been inspired and influenced by feature and TV animation since I was a kid, so getting to actually work with the amazing artists that are part of creating these shows is still a constant inspiration.
What Is It About The Creative & Technical Recruiting Field That Appleas To You?
The best part of my job is that I get to help people and see them grow throughout their whole career. I also like being able to influence and build a business.
For Those That Don't Know, What Is "Full Life-Cycle," Recruiting?
Full cycle recruiting is being involved at every point during the recruiting process, which breaks down to 3 main steps.
Step oneis meeting with a hiring manager to gauge needs and form a job description.
Step two is sourcing candidates, whether passive, active or referred, then screening candidates, interviewing, qualifying, and testing.
Step three is negotiating potential offers, compensation, and counter offers.
What Skills/Attributes Are Needed To Be A Successful Creative & Technical Recruiter?
Good listener, responsive, empathy, accessibility, industry smart, and sense of urgency while seeing the bigger picture of the business.
How Has Your Field Changed Because Of Improvements In Technology?
While most studios prefer to have their employees work in-house, changes in technology have made freelancing, remote access, and communication easier.
Most Important Traits You Look For When Recruiting
Relate-ability to the company/project
Alignment of salary expectations
This is a small industry and reputation is everything.
How you conduct yourself in school and after, as a professional, can influence whether or not you get hired.
Being self-aware is important too. Know your limits and shortcomings.
Familiarize yourself with the processes and needs of the jobs you are applying for.
Realizing as I have grown through my career not to compare myself to my peers; we are all on different paths and timelines. Having the self confidence and maturity to work on bettering myself and not just focus my energy on trying to compensate or be like someone else.
Social media is a primary avenue of recruitment for me.
Connecting to people through Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc, has become a necessary tool to build my candidate pipeline.
Having a social media presence has allowed me to be more accessible and more on top of whats happening in my industry.
From a business standpoint, it helps people connect and become educated about the company.
This goes both ways though!
Be careful what you post on social media, because it can and will influence your chances of being hired.
Top 5 Moments In Entertainment
Seeing people I hired as interns win awards.
First time I saw my name is the credits.
Hearing that my work has made a positive impact on peoples’ lives and careers.
Meeting my husband (Character modeler at Disney).
Getting to travel and represent companies and brands that people love.
Something About Your Career That People Might Not Know?
I feel that people sometimes get the impression that people in recruiting or HR get into it due to lack of options or that it’s easy.
The truth is that it’s a very challenging, dynamic job that can be very rewarding.
I find that the best recruiters are the ones that go beyond the transactional part of the job to form long lasting connections with people.
Like any profession, you don’t go above and beyond unless you love what you do.
I mostly learned on the job and from shadowing other recruiters. A big part of being a recruiter is intuition.
Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Our Readers?
The entertainment industry can be tough.
In this industry, the only person that controls your success is you, so don't let anyone else hold you back.
You have to work hard, be a good listener, and stay motivated to achieve your goals.