29 July 2019

TALENT – Finding the right talent in the event and exhibition worlds is a minefield. Primarily because there are often so many different people and organisations involved in any event, it can be difficult to determine what specific experience and expertise an individual has. Couple this with the fact that most job titles in the event and exhibition spheres are largely meaningless and the result is an endless struggle to find the right expertise, often until it’s too late. A few critical questions, that I see so few people asking people or researching can change this. Two and a half minutes of video to explain how, what I call, the ‘Up & Down Checks’ can help…


Hi, I’m Will Glendinning. I’m a Live Event Producer, Designer, and Director.

Now, if you struggle finding the right talent or experience for any role within a live event or exhibition spheres, this video is for you. All too often I see people who think they’ve hired the right talent later discover they don’t actually have the relevant experience. It’s also fairly common to see people who’ve managed to land themselves a dream role literally busking it.

These situations typically arise because people looking for or hiring talent often ask the questions they think they should ask, rather than the questions they need to ask. And the situation is further exacerbated by the fact that so many job titles in the event and exhibition spheres are utterly meaningless.

For example, if anyone you’re looking to hire says anything like this as evidence of their experience, I was the Producer, Project Director, Project Manager, Designer, Creative Director, Production Manager, Technical Director, Marketing Director, Sponsorship manager, or anything similar of a certain event or at a certain company, I can tell you now this tells you next to nothing useful.

Similarly, if someone shows you lots of sexy pictures of events and exhibitions and tells you they were heavily involved, or they led or managed them, again, this tells you nothing useful.

These are just starting points. Icebreakers, if you like. You need to perform what I call the ‘Up and Down’ checks.

Ask, what did you actually do in layman’s terms? Did you do all this yourself, or did you support or report into someone above you who took responsibility for this? This is the Up check. Did you do all this yourself, or did you oversee people, companies, or agencies working for you who did this? This is the Down check. How many people were involved in doing this? You want to know if this person had a small army working with them, or whether they were doing it on their own. So you can compare this with a situation you’ll be engaging them for, and whether they can cope working alone or are reliant on a team. Who did you report to, and who reported to you?

Ask these questions, get names where you can, and check what they’re saying stacks up by speaking to those people they said they worked for, or had working for them.

The aim here is not to catch people out, it’s to find people that can actually do what you need doing, and in turn, what support they might need from you or from anyone else.

Also, if you’re looking for a particular role, and you don’t have the relevant experience yourself, it can be frustrating to find out after you brought someone on board, that you’ve ended up with the wrong skillset in place because you couldn’t articulate what you wanted. The opposite is possible, too. Without relevant experience, you may think what you require is more complicated than it actually is, and end up with someone overqualified and overpriced and be overstaffed for what you need.

There you go, the ‘Up and Down’ check, something I use all the time.

If you’ve got any questions, just let me know.

Thanks for watching, and I’ll speak to you again soon.