Archive for March, 2012

Interview of the week : Head of Scheduling and Programme Planning

Friday, March 23rd, 2012











This week we have chosen to feature Adam Russell : Head of Scheduling and Digital at a London based TV broadcaster and content provider .
Alfra TV setup TV channels worldwide and give customers a platform to distribute their content via digital networks.

My career background is in presentation scheduling and programme planning working for a range of broadcasters including Setanta Sports, Balance TV, Virgin Media and BBC.


 How long have you been doing what you have been doing?

I have been in my current role for 2 weeks. However, I  have been working in the broadcast and media industry for coming up to 10 years. 

How did you get into this : what did you do before?

My career has primarily been in television scheduling and programme planning. I have worked for major broadcasters including Virgin Media, BBC and Setanta Sports whilst also with a few niche channels including Body in Balance Television.

How did you start your career in this sector?

After finishing Uni I knew that I wanted to work in television. Whilst temping I continued to look for a job in the media and applied for any job that would allow me to get a greater understanding of the broadcasting industry.

What tips would you give someone who was interviewing in your company?

Be yourself and be prepared. You must be prepped to answer the questions asked of you, but equally be prepared to ask questions of your employer. If you haven’t got questions about the role, are you sure you really want it?

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the trust and confidence shown in me by my employers. I am given a task and trusted to get on with it. All ideas are welcome and considered. In terms of presentation scheduling, you know that your actions will play a big part in what the viewer sees on screen. It’s a big responsibility.

What are the challenges faced in the role?

Being a small company you have lots of responsibility. You must trust your own judgement and courage in your convictions. Things can change very quickly and you need to adjust quickly.

Why do you think some people are more successful than others when they do your job?

In scheduling, primarily you are the last link between the broadcaster and transmission. Scheduling can be monotonous but it is imperative that you have a high attention to detail and you can cope under pressure. Everybody makes mistakes, but it is ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. The successful ones are the ones that can meet deadlines whilst minimising and correcting mistakes.

What 3 adjectives would you use to describe the type of person/ skills needed in your job?


What is the highlight of your career to date?

Negotiating a new Satellite and Playout including new scheduling software with increased functionality

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt in your career so far?

Not everything will go according to plan. Its how you deal with the challenges that you are faced with at work that will make your career. Keep a level head and prioritise. Enjoy what you do and the people you work with. It becomes much harder when you don’t enjoy it

Who has been your biggest influence on your career to date?

My biggest influence on my career so far has been my MD. He gave me the opportunity to work on projects on my own and allowed me to define my own path within the company. 

What are your predictions on how your role will evolve in the next 5 years  ?

I think that my role will be more about putting content onto Connected TVs as opposed to traditional broadcasting methods.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your sector?

Don’t give up…There are plenty of jobs out there…. Boyce get a lot of them :-)



Interview of the week : Presentation Scheduler Thomas Archibald

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Getting a foot into the London Broadcast and Media  job market can be quite daunting, especially if you don’t understand how to get into the sector and what kind of opportunities are on offer.

This week we have asked Thomas Archibald, a Presentation Scheduler within the London TV industry to give us the lowdown:

Why is a Presentation Scheduler important to the business?

The role of a presentation scheduler is important to the business as we are the people that ensure channels go to air looking as good as they possibly can and ensuring that programmes go out on time. Without the presentation scheduler there would be no channel to watch!

 What do you do on a  daily basis?

On a daily basis the role of a presentation scheduler includes paying attention to detail and making sure every commercial break is the best it can be before being sent to transmission. Duties such as loading in Asruns, viewing new promos and reviewing previous days transmission reports can all be part of the daily life of a scheduler.

How long have you been doing what you have been doing?

I have been in and out of presentation scheduling for roughly 9 years now.

How did you get into this? What did you do before ?

I studied Media Writing at University and came out with dreams of being a journalist. When that didn’t materialise I looked for any opportunity within a media company and that’s when through a friend of a friend I heard about a presentation scheduler role at Discovery Channel and that’s how my career in tv began.

What was the interview process like to get this position, or how did you start your career in this sector ?

I had to go through two interviews to get my first role. It was the most comfortable I had felt in interviews and that was down to the people involved and probably why Discovery is still my longest permanent role to date.

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?

You are always part of a team in scheduling and that is one of the aspects I enjoy the most as you help each other out to produce the best results. Creating a schedule quickly and efficiently to the best of your abilities is always a good feeling.

 What are the challenges faced in the role?

The challenges are promos being dropped or changed meaning that you have to either go over work done previously and change it or contact transmission to swap out a promo with another. You are challenged to meet deadlines on a daily basis.

Why do you think some people are more successful than others when they do your job ?

I think some people are more successful than others in my job is down to communication. When scheduling it can become a solitary experience so the ability to communicate and make friends in other departments can always lead to other opportunities sometime in the future.

What 3 adjectives would you use to describe the type of person/ skills needed in your job ?

Quick, intelligent and vocal

What is the highlight of your career to date?

The highlight of my career to date is my time spent as a promo producer at a company called GTV. It’s where I was given the ball and told to run with it in a creative department that allowed my skills to shine in the best way. The company going into liquidation was tough and always grateful to have scheduling to fall back on but certainly in 2012 I am making every effort to get back into a more creative area.

Do you have any career regrets and if so what would they be?

If I had any regrets it would probably be not making enough of the roles or situations I found myself in at the many companies I have worked for. Being a people person and the ability to make friends with the right people can be a struggle sometimes when you stick to your own principles.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt in your career so far?

The most valuable lesson I have learnt in my career so far is never take anything for granted and make the most of every opportunity you are given as you never know when the next one might come along.

 Who has been your biggest influence on your career to date ?

The biggest influence on my career to date has probably been the director of programming at GTV and gave me the chance as a Promo Producer, something which I will always be eternally grateful for.

 What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your sector?

To anyone that wants to get into my sector I would say do an internship/work experience at one of the many broadcasters and if you shine in that role then once your studies are over there’s every chance you will be asked back for a permanent role.

 What do you do in your spare time, when you aren’t working?

When I’m not working I have various things going on. I like to stay active by going running and playing Badminton. I’m a big football fan , Liverpool are my team and watch a lot of sport in general. Films are a big passion of mine so regularly visit the cinema. I love to socialise with friends over dinner and drinks. And I like to give something back so do sponsored activities whenever I can to raise money for charity.

What’s going on in market research?

Monday, March 12th, 2012



When we speak to candidates everyday we are always interested to hear what their views and experiences are of the sector they are working in.

Market research is one of the divisions where we have noticed a great deal of development, innovation and change over the past year and we have had the pleasure to work with some extremely talented thinkers .

Key trends in the recruitment space for this area are

-          an increase in digital market research related roles as well as roles which use social media tools to reach the voice of the consumer

-          a commitment to creativity, being able to really think out of the box and challenge and innovate . The internet has provided access to competitors at the touch of a button and our clients want to be able to help their clients innovate to make their offering most attractive to their customers

-          many of the roles seek candidates with an integrated approach to insights and analysis, combining a range of skills and methodologies,

-          The appeal of smaller consultancies to offer researchers the chance to work on interesting problems and offer integrated solutions without being categorized as a “quant” or “qual” specialist has been noted by bigger firms with some new    senior roles within the top global agencies offering a much more holistic responsibility to senior managers and Directors.


The talk of last month was branding, innovation and communication being central to a large number of our roles within the Market Research division.

Interview preparation

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Interview Preparation

Thinking about the actual interview and preparing for the questions you may be asked can be quite daunting  if you haven’t had lots of experience  in this or you feel your experience is a bit rusty . Good preparation and planning will make the difference between and good  interview and an excellent interview in the London jobs market.

If you do get nervous the more planning and preparation  you do the more likely you will have a positive outcome.

The average number of interviews for each role you apply for is 2 however this is also variable and we have known of applicants who have had to undergo 4 or 5 stages.

Usually the first interview is  an overall assessment of skills, motivations and ability and can be combined with competency assessments and face to face meeting.  This can then be followed up by a second stage process where fewer and sometimes one shortlisted applicant is chosen to meet individuals in the team. The initial first interview could take place in varying formats.  It could be a face to face meeting, a telephone interview or a skype interview. The  format may differ, however the objectives are  usually very similar. To decide who should be invited back for a second stage, perhaps more in depth selection process. The second stage is often combined with a presentation (for more senior level positions or for jobs in market research, insight or sales or business development).  It is also an  opportunity to meet members of the team who were not part of the original process and probe further into specific skills as well as thrash out any concerns the employer may have about the applicant or assess skills which are needed  in the job in hand.

During the whole interview process it is always important to be clear, honest and  open and make sure that you are able to communicate your abilities and skills as well as interest in the company in an engaging way.


Our role

Before you go for interview we will always fully brief you on what to expect and who will be involved, highlighting any tests or assessments that you will have to take.  Our consultants will have experience of working with the company  you have applied to and would usually be able to advise on the key aspects of the process as well as the structure and who is involved from the start. We will give you information about the company, structure, culture etc… and an indication of how many staged there are in the recruitment process.

From their initial interview with you, the consultant  should be able to advise you on where they feel your strengths are and where you may have weaknesses  and how you could overcome these.

Your  role is to do your own research too:

Research is key to a successful interview. There is no excuse not to do this. Lack of information will create a bad impression and make you look desperate or prepared to apply for any old thing. This will make an employer doubt your commitment to them and to the job.  You should always  look at the company’s website. look at any new initiatives they have,. what sectors they work in, what innovative offering they may have, if they have won any awards. in addition it is very easy nowadays to see if there are any  press releases offering  information relevant to the industry by looking at related industry news or just googling the company on the Internet.  You may also wish to speak to any people you know that work there  or  speak to the PR department.  Re-read the job description and make sure you are really clear as to what it is you are applying for,  why you are interested in the role and how the job will fit into  into the business. You would be surprised how many candidates apply for roles without really understanding what the job actually involves.

An employer will want to hire someone who is genuinely interested in their business, the job and are passionate about the sector they are working in. Even if you are working in one part of the business, many employers will also
want someone who can demonstrate an understanding of the business as a whole and how the role they are applying to can cross into other areas of the business.  Although you may be offering specialist skills, employers value, more and more, people who have a broader view and understanding of business and who are able to go that extra mile to help out beyond their own actual job description. Being able to show you understand the business and the job and demonstrate why this excites you will make your application 100 times stronger.

Likely interview questions

If you review the job description and also your cv you can probably anticipate some of the questions an interviewer may have. These may be skills based, motivational or competency based questions.

Typical questions can include :

- Why did you chose to study x y x

- What made you follow the career path that you have chosen?

- What qualifications or experience do you have that would be most relevant to the job?

- What  strengths can you bring to the role and what are the challenges that you see for yourself in this role

- Tell us about our last role and why you are leaving?

- What is the biggest success or sense of achievement you have experienced in your career to date?

- Describe a time when you have changed a way of doing things? Why did you want to change things and how did you go about implementing this?

- Can you tell us about a time when you have worked well in team?

- How have you managed a situation of conflict within a team?

- Interacting with others can be challenging. How would you go about managing a situation of tension within a team?

- Tell me about a time when you solved a problem, and how you went about it?

- Can you give me an example of a task you have successfully completed that has benefited the company?

There are many more questions which will be relevant to the job description in hand and these can be discussed with your consultant.


Other general tips 

Remember that you are being assessed from the moment you turn up for interview . The impression you give the receptionist can influence the final decision so it is always important to make a good impression from the start

Be early and not late, so always plan your journey to arrive early , there can be delays so it is worth also looking at a contingency plan

Firm handshake and smile

Eye contact – this is tremendously  important  – trust and building  rapport with colleagues and clients is always an important factor in recruiting people these days

Body language : sit up straight but no fidgeting : this can be very distracting

Make sure your answers are  relevant  and qualify your answers , always  explain the reasons for your answer

Don’t be too negative about current employer

If you are not sure about an answer to a technical questions don’t pretend to know,  ask for clarification and if you don’t know then the answer say so and ask them what would be the right answer.

Always prepare a number of questions which are relevant to the role , the company and the sector.

If you are interested in a long term career with the company make sure you highlight your interest in this role as well, many line managers who conduct the first interview are looking for people who will stay in their
department, especially if they are investing time and energy in training them.  They will not want to  train someone who’s ultimate aim is to then leave in 6 -12 months’ time and move into something completely different.

Explain why you are interested in the role and the company as this will leave a lasting impression with the interviewer and remember to thank them for their time.  This can make a difference to the decision of who they chose to join as the most interested candidate will often  be the one who gets the job.

Remember to allow your interviewer to talk as well and take the time to listen to what they say about the business the team or even any constructive criticism they may offer .

Be realistic about your expectations and your responsibilities and also how quickly you can progress.


Contact your consultant to feedback as soon as possible. It is important to outline your impressions of the interview, the company and the role and why you are / are not interested.

At this point you should highlight any reservations or concerns you may have as well as offer  feedback on the actual process itself. Does the job meet your expectation, did you have a good rapport with the interviewer…..

If you stick to some of the suggestions above then you will find your interview will run very smoothly. Good luck!