I interviewed recently to be the assistant to an EP on a network TV show. My interview philosophy has changed over the last few years. When I first started out, I lied my way through nearly every question in an interview.
When they’d ask what I wanted to do in Hollywood for the rest of my career, I’d tell them that I basically wanted to do their job… forever. If I was applying to be an agent’s assistant, then I wanted to be an agent. If I was applying to be a producer’s assistant, then I wanted to be a producer. If it was a manager’s assistant desk I was after, guess what: I wanted to be a manager.
But over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to develop a pretty decent PA resumé. So I quit the lying business altogether. This is how my LIAR, LIAR strategy plays out:
Interviewer: What’s your ultimate endgame in this business?
Me: …I could lie right now. I could tell you that I want to be a [insert job here], but I’d rather tell you the truth, which is that I want to become a writer. That doesn’t mean that, if I get this job, I’d be sneaking away to my laptop to work on my screenplay. If I get this job, I’ll try my hardest to be good at it and learn as much as I can, and I’ll figure out the writer-thing on my own time.
I’m pretty proud of that answer. It’s honest, direct, and sensible. It plays to my strength while acknowledging my apparent weakness, that I haven’t spent my whole life dreaming of this job.
But I’ve said this on my last two job interviews, and I’m sitting in my bedroom right now, unemployed, so do with this information what you will.
Also, for what it’s worth, it’s probably unwise to admit on a TV job interview that you don’t own a TV. What can I say. My candor got a little carried away.