What to Say in a Non-Actor Job Interview

Hi Bonnie,

I wanted to reach out to you and ask if you can speak to the need for day-jobs and how to handle yourself during an interview when they ask what your goals are or where you see yourself in X amount of years.

I find this is a particularly difficult situation actors are constantly in — straddling their personal ambitions with the professional workplace, no matter if it’s a restaurant or an advertising company or a university setting.

Employers want to hear: “I plan to stay with you forever and my goals are to be a leader within a team here forever.” This is to say, they want you to lie.

How do we remain honest while managing to still get what we want?

Thank you,
Brigid Marshall

Brigid, I love this topic. I’m such a fan of authenticity and transparency that I would be honest, were I in this position. I mean, especially in Los Angeles, *everyone* is hustling for their dreams and employers are realistic, for the most part. They KNOW everyone has a screenplay or a stack of headshots and they KNOW the time being put in at their company is a means to an end, not the end itself.

So, if I were being interviewed for a position outside of the industry, I would simply be honest. I would say, “I moved to LA to live my dreams and the thing I can tell you for sure is this: While I’m clocked in for you, I’m 100% present. I’m gonna have fun. I’m gonna work hard. I’m gonna rock your world with my professionalism and charisma. But I have no ambition to work my way up the foodchain here. I’m a natural leader, so you’ll probably promote me quickly and that’s cool. But I’m here to build my empire, not yours, and this job is something I’ll rock at, but it’s not something I’m looking to substitute out for my dreams.”

That’s what’s on-brand for me, of course. For you, maybe it would need some adjusting. But I am certain no one outside of the entertainment industry is unfamiliar with dealing with industry pros. 😉 They can smell it on you. And they probably don’t actually want to be lied to; they want to know if you’re going to do the job well while you’re on the clock. Of course you are. Let them know that and everything else won’t matter much.


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001982.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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