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Hiring From Within
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Hiring someone these days can be like finding a person you’d like to go into battle with … will they have your back? Will they come through when you need them the most? And most importantly, can you depend on them and have fun with this person along the way? In my eight years as a member of the PGA, I have always stood firmly behind the idea of hiring fellow members. As a Board member and Co-chair of the Produced By Conference, I felt it was a principle I had to demonstrate. Recently, when I was hiring my staff for season four of UFC Primetime, I knew I was going to follow my mantra again. Within the volunteer ranks of committee chairs, council representatives and volunteers, I found that I had seen first-hand a ton of people’s work ethics… I had found a producing talent pool like never before.
Rachel Klein (left) and Melissa Friedman

I hired Kimberly Austin, Melissa Friedman and even former PGA intern Ryan Willis. These three had volunteered for me at the Producers Challenge, a part of the Produced By Conference, and had worked like it was a high-paying job! I saw dedication, class, skills and responsibility first-hand … and we had a BLAST! I knew I wanted to bring these PGA members into any show I could staff.

Another example is John Peterman, who approached me at the PGA East Tribeca Party two years ago, and simply said, "When I grow up, I want to be YOU!” We struck up a conversation and through my initial impression and subsequent conversations, I knew I wanted this guy on my show one day. That day soon came, and I took JP on the road with me to New Orleans for Steven Seagal: Lawman. A brilliant slice of networking had put John on my radar, and I never forgot him. Each time I crossed his path, interacting with him became a positive experience, so when the coordinator left the show, I went to bat to bring on Peterman.

My essential advice for members looking for work is to volunteer and network. But don’t do either like you’re looking for a job or interviewing, but as if you’d simply like me to get to know you. I want people on my producing team that are energetic, excited about what they can do and looking to be a team player. So get out there, dedicate a few hours to the Guild, with people you know can provide work, and commit yourself to the task at hand… You will shine and be in the mind of people the next time they HIRE FROM WITHIN!

- Rachel Klein