The right tools for recruitment

Good recruitment processes are vital for any organisation, no matter what size. Finding the right people at the right time with the right skills is invaluable to success.

The right tools for recruitment

Poor hiring practices can be costly, not only in financial terms if the person hired doesn’t work out, but also in the impact they have on the overall culture of the film and TV industry. This includes lack of diversity, skills shortages from people advancing too quickly without appropriate training, retention issues, limited career progression, bullying and harassment and negative wellbeing.

Investing time and resources into the recruitment process will help ensure that you get the best person in the role. When done correctly, it can reduce costs, improve the employee experience and support the company’s reputation as a good employer, thereby attracting the best talent.

Everyone involved in the recruitment process – especially if they don’t have the support of an HR team – should have the appropriate knowledge and skills to make effective and fair hiring decisions to ensure that the organisation remains compliant with government legislation.

Do your research

There are many government acts that deal with employment, for example, the Equality Act 2010. It protects job applicants, and those already employed, against discrimination under any of its nine ‘protected characteristics’. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.

Other employment statutes include: Employment Rights Act 1996, Working Time Regulations 1998, National Minimum Wages Act 1998, Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, Data Protection Act 1998, Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

These e-learning modules will give you a head-start on preparing your recruitment process in the right way:

Make sure you also take a look at the Disability Awareness for Hirers and Equality and Inclusion Essentials courses here.

Defining the role

The key questions to ask are what is needed? Why is it needed? How long for? What skills and experience are required?

Think carefully about what skills are essential for the role. Is there flexibility in terms of location or the required hours of work (this could open the role up to applications from those with disabilities or caring responsibilities)? Do some of the skills required exist in roles in other industries?

These useful links can help you identify transferable skills from other industries:

Job description

Job descriptions are currently underused in the screen industries – but they are invaluable, giving both the employer and the person being hired a clear understanding of the role and their responsibilities. This can also include a person specification to indicate what prior experience or skills are needed for the role, and further information such as the working location or reporting lines.

Our job description template shows what you should include. You can also use our skills checklists to populate your job descriptions with typical responsibilities and skills for someone working in any of these roles. These cover a wide range of departments across scripted productions, and can be tailored to any role depending on the genre and size of the project, selecting the responsibilities and skills that match your particular situation.

Find out more advice below on how to use job descriptions and how to make them as inclusive as possible in order to attract the widest selection of applicants.

How to advertise

The process should be transparent, timely and fair for all candidates.

Poorly designed recruitment processes can negatively impact the employer brand and the ability to attract candidates.

Inclusion and diversity should be integral throughout the process, with practices and systems regularly reviewed to ensure resourcing methods are inclusive and hidden bias is removed. Everyone taking part in activities such as shortlisting and interviewing must be aware of relevant recruitment legislation and the need to avoid discrimination in recruitment and selection. 

Wording used in job adverts needs to take into consideration the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. Any wording in adverts that appears to discriminate against any of these characteristics could be used by a prospective applicant or rejected candidate to make a claim for discrimination.

Positive action may be used to encourage applications from under-represented groups. The decision on who to hire must be based on merit, and not purely on the basis of their age, disability, gender, race or religion, regardless of their ability to do the job. Hiring based on a protected characteristic alone would result in positive discrimination which is unlawful. A company can choose to hire an individual from an under-represented group, as long as they are suitably qualified for the role. Positive action is not legally required and is entirely voluntary.

Check out this essential guide to positive action from the Government Equalities Office.

Including an equal opportunities statement can help attract a more diverse range of candidates, particularly if it’s worded authentically and sounds genuine rather than generic. This can, for example, demonstrate:

  • you comply with the Equality Act to show candidates you acknowledge the regulation’s existence and understand its importance
  • your commitment to recruit employees based on merit, and not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics
  • your company’s overall commitment to workplace diversity
  • particular inclusive employment practices or initiatives you offer, such as flexible working, job sharing or being a Disability Confident employer.

You should aim to advertise as widely as possible in order to reach as many people as possible, from as many different backgrounds as possible.

Below are some examples of places you could advertise roles. Many of these also operate other social media accounts. You could consider advertising a role on your organisation’s own social media too.

Examples of places to advertise roles in film and TV:

  • Social media – using your own organisation’s social media, and also film and TV Facebook groups and Twitter.
  • Job boards – such as Screenskills or The Talent Manager.
  • Talent agencies – such as Talented People or Gritty Talent
  • Specific job sites which might be more likely to be seen by underrepresented groups, such as Telly Mums, Mumsnet, BME Jobs, Black in TV, Think Bigger, Evenbreak, LGBTJobs and Restless.

Where possible and appropriate, you should also include the following details about the contract you are advertising, to give as much transparency as possible to applicants:

  • Salary band or rates of pay
  • Contractual hours
  • Duration of contract
  • Location of contract.

Managing the application and selection process

Reasonable adjustments

These may need to be made for candidates throughout the application and selection process.

For example, as well as helping those with a physical disability, recruitment processes might be adapted for neurodivergent people or those with audible or visual restrictions.

Where possible, your advert should invite applicants who may need adjustments to contact the employer directly to identify additional support they might need during the recruitment process.

Make sure you know about reasonable adjustments, read more about what they are here.

Dealing with applications

All applications should be treated confidentially and circulated only to those individuals involved in the recruitment process.

Prompt acknowledgment of an application – whether successful or unsuccessful – is good practice and presents a positive image of the organisation or production. It can be useful to note in the advert that only successful applicants will be contacted, if you will not have the time or resources to send acknowledgements.

You will need to decide what criteria will be used to shortlist candidates, and what form interviews will take. Will they be a phone call, video call or in-person? This process needs to be fair and transparent.

Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias training is useful to raise awareness in the workplace of thoughts and opinions that individuals might not be aware of. Unconscious bias training alone is unlikely to improve inclusive working practices, but it can help workplaces implement further measures that will. For example, using positive action in order to attract applicants from under-represented groups, or a “blind review” of candidates with all references to names, gender, age, race or ethnicity removed.


Interviews can have limitations, so preparing questions in advance can help improve results. Base your questions on the key skills you need for the role and also the culture of the organisation. All candidates should be asked the same questions to prevent any feelings of discrimination or bias.

Involve more than one person in the hiring process in order to keep each other accountable. Everyone has different views and opinions and will see the candidate from their own perspective. If you can, involve people who are part of groups that are under-represented in the screen industries.

Offering multiple communication channels for interviews, including video or phone when done remotely, gives candidates the opportunity to choose an approach that suits their resources and comfort level. If it’s possible to offer interview slots during the day, evening and weekend, then it can accommodate people with varying schedules and commitments. Any interview materials provided to candidates (such as videos or documents) need to be made accessible to everyone.

Using an interview scoring matrix can help to keep the recruitment process fair and objective whilst providing structure to the interview. See the template here.

Making the appointment

Make a verbal offer to the employee, outlining the role, dates of work and rate, with the caveat that the appointment is subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks, such as reference checks and confirmation of right to work. Offers should always be put in writing, so that everything is clear (it is worth noting that verbal agreements can also be legally binding).