You would like to be, you are, a sound engineer.
Why will I hire you instead of somebody else?
By Stephane Meer, Head manager of Studio Capitale, Audio Post-Production company in Paris France.
For fifteen years now have I seen and interviewed young sound engineers, mostly out of school looking for a job.
Some of them can have their evaluation made in minutes, some take a few days, in all cases after a week we know if the challenger is a possible recruit or not.
What are the things to know?
First, what you learn in a school will at max be 50% of what you need to know.
Second, knowledge is important but the key is attitude.
Attitude toward a technical difficulty
Attitude toward the questions you should ask yourself
Attitude toward the company team
Attitude toward the customers.
1/ Attitude toward a technical difficulty
We NEVER ask anyone to know EVERYTHING before coming to us.
It's okay if you don't know a software, a machine, or a way to record something.
What you shouldn't do is lie about it, and pretend you know when you don't really.
The best attitude is to ask questions and get your hands on it.
We will judge you on the way you react and learn, much more than on what you already know!
2/ Attitude toward the questions you should ask yourself
The rule is: Everyone makes mistake, -provided you are human, aren't you?-, but a professional always CHECKS OUT before delivering a program.
When a new challenger comes to us, he's in probation. We start slow by giving him easy tasks at first. You should always check out any simple request you are given. THEN we will think you are reliable and go on giving you more and more responsibility.
If you fail those early tests, I'm very sad to say that you are black listed right away and your chance to be recruited is gone.
Always verify, verify, verify again, spend a lot of time at this until this is your second nature.
3/Attitude toward the company team
There are many good sound engineers out there, so why recrut somebody we don't like and have to share our days with for the months or years to come?
The rule here is the same as in any social context:
Don't think about YOUR perspective, think about THEIR'S!
Don't talk about you, make them talk about themselves. What could be useful and comfortable for THEM first. What is their need, what is their problem, what do they like, what can YOU do for THEM?
Be in their shoes and they will take a good care of you and make you succeed.
It's so simple to do the right thing when you focus on the right goal.
We don't care about YOU, we care about what YOU can do for US.
So the first step, if you want to win the game, is to know more about the team you'd like to fit in.
4/Attitude toward the customers
Customers don't spend their time with the accountant, with the secretary, with the manager...they spend their days with their sound engineer.
Therefore you ARE the company's face to them!
We will recruit you if you give a good image to people. If you have charisma and sound reassuring, you definitely have an edge. The proper culture and way of life will give you a link with our customers and we will measure this feedback to evaluate you.
I've seen young sound engineer cross a customer in our corridor, and this person came at me and said: "I don't want him for my session". This is real life, every relationship detail is important, smile, hello, would you like a coffee or a tea...you know what I'm talking about don't you.
My conclusion is: Don't think you are a sound engineer because you master a pro tools!
Don't think you are good because your school gave you good marks.
Be modest and master the tips I gave you, and you will be a winner.
Best luck to you!
Stéphane Meer is Head Manager of Studio Capitale Audio Post Production in Paris France.
He is a professional composer and author of the musical fantasy audio book Helena and the orchestra of the world of mist.