3 Hiring Risks in the Entertainment Industry

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

November 11 2019

The entertainment industry is one of the few that never lacks for talent. Whether it’s film, sports, or even Broadway, there will never be a shortage of camera operators, makeup artists, or writers. In an industry where there is a glut of qualified talent, few hiring managers think of the risks when deciding between candidates. Here are some of the biggest hiring risks in the entertainment industry today.

1. A Detrimental Social Media Presence

In an field that’s literally always in the spotlight, social media is becoming more of a concern. The things people post on social media have a habit of coming back to haunt them—and their employers. Any insensitive joke or inappropriate post has the capacity to go viral. Consider the cautionary tale of Justine Sacco, a former PR exec who tweeted an insensitive comment before boarding a flight to Africa. The tweet went viral, and by the time Justine landed, she’d already been fired.

Employers need to do what they can to mitigate this risk. While they can’t control what employees post, they can screen candidates’ social media to learn if they have a history of a negative social media conduct. A social media screen via InfoMart has the added benefit of being FCRA-compliant, as employers are never exposed to protected information about their candidates.

2. The Unconscious Bias Problem

Unconscious bias is a huge problem in the workplace, but a difficult one to tackle. Because it’s unconscious bias, people often don’t realize they’re doing it. A hiring manager might pick a younger candidate because they think an older candidate won’t fit in with the team, for example. This sort of bias inhibits diversity and inclusion efforts and limits your potential candidate pool. The next superstar employee can hardly shine if they get rejected based on their name.

While unconscious bias is nearly impossible to eliminate, employers in the entertainment industry can take steps to ensure that it doesn’t play a role in hiring decisions. Introducing “name blind” and “gender blind” policies, for example, enable managers to judge candidates based solely on their credentials.

3. Exaggerated Resume Claims

The entertainment industry hires more than just actresses and directors; the majority of your workforce is made up of behind-the-scenes talent—and those employees are often skilled in very particular crafts, like graphic design or videography. When you’re hiring for a skilled position, you need candidates who have the qualifications.

But a Robert Half survey revealed that 43% of workers know someone who lied on their resume. People embellishing their experience and credentials is nothing new, but in a field as competitive as entertainment, people are willing to say anything if they think it’ll get their foot in the door. The unfortunate part is that, sometimes, these lies work.

Interviews are one way to screen out these unqualified candidates, but sometimes it isn’t enough. The only sure-fire way to verify a candidate’s education, qualifications, and experience is to conduct a full background check complete with reference checks. A background check often includes a previous employment and/or education verification that can confirm your candidate’s former job titles, dates of employment, date of graduation, etc. A reference check involves contacting your applicant’s list of references and asking them about the candidate’s work ethic, job performance, and overall demeanor.

In an industry as fast-paced and specialized as entertainment, employers need to ensure that their candidates are not only the most qualified available, but also a good investment of company time and resources. A bad hire can be costly and, in entertainment, a potential PR misstep. A thorough background check is the best way to safeguard your business and your brand reputation. By doing your research on candidates, you can protect your company from most entertainment hiring risks.

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InfoMart has decades of experience creating background screening programs for media companies, sports leagues, and other entertainment entities. To partner with a background check provider that understands your industry, contact InfoMart.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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