• 06 October 2020
  • Recruitment Room

6 Film and TV job interviews - and what you can learn from them

Working for a recruitment company and being an actor, I love to find the ways I can blend those two worlds together. I think there is always something we can learn from the arts, and that includes how to tackle a job interview.

Since I have previously given interview tips from an actor's perspective, I thought it would be fascinating to examine how interviews are portrayed on our screens, both big and small!

We can pick up interview tips from even the most outlandish interviews portrayed in TV and film. After all, art imitates life - and life imitates art!

The Circle

Emma Watson’s Character is interviewing at a new social media platform.

The Good

  • Her attire is professional but comfortable, and is suitable for the job she is applying for
  • Once she refocuses, she restructures her response to the interview questions
  • Takes the right amount of time to think about her answers, doesn’t rush but also doesn’t hesitate for too long
  • In the rapid fire round, she keeps her composure
  • Is honest and professiona. Knows her boundaries. 
  • Is knowledgeable about the company and what she might be asked in the interview
  • “Unfulfilled potential” is such a good answer to: “What are you most scared of?”

The Bad

  • She does seem anxious/nervous at the beginning of her interview and stumbles when her answer isn’t what they wanted (have a look at David Waddell's interview tips on how having a structure can alleviate nerves).

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The Intern

Seventy-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert DeNiro), is a retired executive and applies to a senior citizen intern program.

The Good

  • He has calm and kind demeanour. Makes light humour but keeps it professional
  • He always remains polite even when his age comes into question
  • He uses his vast experience in his interviews to sell himself, so turning what the interview thinks of as a negative (his age) into a positive
  • He keeps up to date with interviewing trends (performs well in a video interview)

The Bad

  • Slightly overdressed for the companies he is applying for. Researching the company before you go to the interview might give you an idea of what you should wear
  • His age and the fact that he is overqualified plays a part in his job rejections. This is more a criticism of companies making age a facto. How old or young someone is doesn’t necessarily influence their capability to do their job. 

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Suits

Mike has just run away from the police with a briefcase full of drugs and walked into an interview to work at a law firm.

The Good

  • Mike is honest (with Harvey at least!) about how he ended up at the interview, which is appreciated
  • He has an Eidetic memory and shows how that is beneficial to the role
  • He is quick at answering questions and offering solutions

The Bad

  • Walking into the interview with a briefcase full of drugs, which falls open at the interviewer's feet is not ideal, especially when the interview is for a law firm!
  • He actually doesn’t have the right qualifications for the job. Be careful when applying for a role when they ask for specific qualifications and you don’t have them
  • However equivalent experience will always be a benefit
  • Not the best hiring strategy from Harvey by taking on a candidate like Mike!

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Get a Job

Will is struggling to get a job after graduating from university.

The Good

  • He answers the questions well, when asked to elaborate. It’s good to know how you would respond when asked to explain further
  • He knows how to sell himself and his skillset, and he knows to talk about past experiences

The Bad

  • He doesn't put his phone on silent, and he still doesn’t mute it when it keeps beeping. He even answers it, saying: “My girlfriend and I are having a fight, do you mind if I…?”
  • It's not a good idea to answer your phone in an interview, unless it’s an emergency. It's even worse to divulge personal information like that at an interview!


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Big Bang Theory 

Penny is at a job interview that she has been forced by a friend to go to.

The Good

  • She looks professional and well put together
  • She eventually is able to connect with the interviewer (over their annoyance of Bernadette!). Being able to connect with the person interviewing you is always going to help!

The Bad

  • She is very nervous at the beginning of the interview and ends up rambling, and she insults the interviewer
  • She struggles answering questions and comes out with an inappropriate response, so always make sure you think of your answers before you get into the interview

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Friends

Chandler has an interview for a higher paying role and has been told to keep his jokes to a minimum.

The Good

  • He is dressed very smartly, which is appropriate for the role he is applying for
  • He sells his managerial skills well, again using past experience to demonstrate 
  • He manages to keep professional during the interview
  • He gets positive feedback from the interviewer

The Bad

  • He tells the interviewer he was nervous at the end of the interview. Try to keep your composure until you leave the interview
  • He can’t let go of the “duties” joke and ends up digging himself a hole so big he can’t get back out...
  • Main takeaway - light humour is fine, but make sure you read the room!

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We all hope our interviews are going to go as well as the first two, I hope they never end up like the rest!

The best part of getting one of our consultants to help with your job search is they will give you all the support and inside knowledge you need to ace that interview.

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Alex Louise is a member of the Operations team at Harvey John.

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