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How The Oscars Remind Us To Fix Our Dysfunctional Relationship With Human Resources

Daniel Radcliffe never auditioned to become Harry Potter. At least, not at first. Instead, it was a fateful moment during intermission at a theater show in London where Producer David Heyman spotted Radcliffe sitting in the audience and asked his father about letting Radcliffe join auditions.

Of course, he did – and was eventually chosen. Isn’t that how we like to think casting always works? A visionary Director or Producer looks at a crowd of people, magically points one actor out and boldly declares, “that’s him!” Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case.

Great casting for larger films often involves screen tests and even audience reactions. Multiple actors are auditioned – and the person running the show is rarely the Director.

Instead, the Casting Director is one of the most undersung jobs in Hollywood – garnering little recognition and no Academy Award (despite tries at having one created).

Sound familiar? The casting directors of the business world (human resources professionals) also seldom get the recognition they deserve either. Of course their jobs involve much more than just “casting” – yet supporting the ability of an organization to find and hire talented people is certain among their most important roles.

Just like casting directors, though, HR people often struggle to gain respect and recognition. How might this change? Here are three ideas for solving the “casting director problem”:

  1. Tell better stories. Who doesn’t love to hear a good hiring story? Unfortunately, these are often only retold in cocktail parties – with the useless “official” announcement or worse (press release) sharing a hiring date and job title. The stories are what make the impact of what you do real. Without them, you’re just an order taker with a to do list.
  2. Get involved in the day to day. One of the fundamental problems casting directors face is that most of their work is done before the movie is even made, so they are not involved in the face to face hands on work that really bonds a film crew together. What’s the solution? Be part of the real work that brings your early efforts to life – even if it’s just in a small way.
  3. Make collaboration a strength. When it comes to casting, or even hiring, there are plenty of collaborators from hiring managers to senior leaders. Collaboration can mean that others in higher visibility roles may get more credit for work than those “behind the scenes.” Whether or not they choose to share that credit with you depends on two things: your collaborator’s personality (which you can’t really change), and how much your collaboration means to them (which you can).

For the HR pros out there, or even anyone who has run into the problem of being under appreciated at what they do … any other tips for making sure you get the recognition you deserve?


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#1 WSJ & USA Today Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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