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Yan Blais / Talent Acquisition Partner at L’Atelier Animation


Yan Blais

Talent Acquisition Partner at L’Atelier Animation

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What are the things a candidate should do right before the interview?

First, wash his/her hands… Just kidding! Read about the company you’re applying for, research the employees and recruiters on Linkedin, have questions about the company prepared. This last one is quite important, asking about the company values and ways of working is primordial. You’ll be spending about 40 hours a week working for it, if the values don’t align with yours, you’ll be in for a long ride. Inquire about what’s important to you; flexibility, insurance, work-life balance, remote work, quality of life, the neighborhood, internal and external communication, etc… There’s no wrong questions and recruiters like this, we get a break from asking questions for a while!

What is the expected behavior a candidate should have during the interview?

There are no expected behaviors from candidates. Everybody has a different personality and way to show themselves in a public setting. The only thing that is expected is for the candidate to be polite (you'd be surprised) and true to her/himself during the interview. Talking about your experiences with honesty and integrity is way more valuable than regurgitating pre-written answers.

What are the special things/activities you organize to make the work environment pleasant for everyone?

Everybody needs to feel at home and comfortable, even more nowadays with the sanitary situation. At L’Atelier Animation, we try to keep artists excited about upcoming events (Halloween, Christmas) and compose with the situation. On the HR side, we also try to communicate and let the artists know we care about them by sending gifts, hoodies, hats, candies and more randomly during the year. We’re currently in a weird and stressful situation and nobody has the good answers on how to manage and get out of it, but It’s extremely important to talk to everyone and reach out to all. The work environment is one of the main reasons to come to L’Atelier, as cliché as it may sound, we try our best to be a family.

" KEEP IT SHORT AND TO THE POINT "
What are the essentials to put on the demo reel?

From my point of view, this is different for every level and experience of the candidate. If you have more experience, focusing on the role or department you’re applying for is a great way to catch the interviewer attention. If you’re junior or straight out of school, putting an emphasis on your school project, mentioning clearly which parts you worked on is a must. I love seeing shorts or reels from school projects, they’re always made with passion and expose the true potential of a younger/less experienced candidate.

How much time do you spend on a reel?

I like to watch a reel 1 or 2 times to see if it catches my eye and try to figure what level the candidate is when I compare it to our standards. I also like to rewatch it before the interview so I can ask the candidate to describe some shots I preferred.

What are the things applicants should avoid to put on their reels?

This is a hard question, everything is important in a reel. All recruiters focus on different things while watching a reel and so, every shot is important. The only tip I could give you is to keep it short and to the point. If your reel is too long, you’ll lose the interest of the viewer. You can always let the viewer know that more shots are available upon request if we want to see more of one. Also, that might sound obvious, but never put something you haven’t worked on or that isn’t yours in a reel. This is a small world, everybody finds out at some point!

`` BE CURIOUS ABOUT EVERYTHING, TALK TO EVERYBODY AND KEEP LEARNING ``
Can you describe the most pleasant interview you’re done?

I’ve had plenty! I remember someone coming in for the interview and he was straight out of school. He was extremely stressed by the interview, since this would have been her first job in animation. It started super slow, but at some point, don’t ask me why, we started talking about dogs and figured out we both had one that looked exactly alike. From there, the interview turned into a conversation and was way more fluid. Who doesn’t love talking about dogs?

When should the candidate talk about salary?

Honestly, I feel like there’s never a good time to talk about the salary. It’s always a hard and awkward question to answer and ask on both sides. Personally, I don’t mind if a candidate asks the question at the end of the interview or before I do, we’re all aware that it’s a job and money is an important part of it. The only thing I wouldn't recommend is coming in at the beginning of the interview or before we talk about the project/position with that question. Also, it’s always a good idea to have done some research on the average salary for a similar position when talking about it in an interview. The more you’re prepared, the more you’ll sound confident and the more your argument will be thorough.

Do you still need a cover letter? Or a pdf resume?

I do feel like a resume is a must, most importantly when you’re straight out of school. It can help show your personality and creativity. Personally, I don’t expect to learn everything from you with just a PDF of your resume, but it’s always a nice first impression. It can also be a nice way to introduce your reel and social media profile (Linkedin or personnel website). As for the cover letter, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not needed. It can be a good way to show a company that you like the reasons you like it, but I do think everything can be said and show during a face-to-face interview. I do feel like cover letters are due to disappear, work is nowadays moving exponentially fast and in total honesty, both parties don’t have time to write a cover letter for each application. You can send 100 applications before finding a suitable job, writing all those letters might sound like a time waster. You can also write your interests and passions on your social media profile, saving both the recruiter and the candidate time.

What was the weirdest thing you’ve seen in an interview?

Funny (or not) as it may sound, my answer to the last question did happen to me. One of the interviewee came in with a great reel. During the interview, I saw the face of the supervisor change while we were watching the reel together (with the candidate). I could see that the supervisor was eager to end the interview afterwards. After the candidate left, I sat down with the supervisor and he told me that most of the shots on the reel had been done by none other than him! I’m pretty sure you can imagine the impact of this for the candidate’s reputation… Once again, the world is super small!!

Under which circumstances are you looking for a foreing candidate?

A lot! Depending on the project, we love having foreign candidates come and join our teams. Of course, they’re a lot of legal concerns on that matter (tax credit, closed borders, etc…) and also it can be very expensive and time consuming on both sides, but most companies have solid immigration departments to help. Still, I would suggest planning in advance if you wish to work abroad; sometimes, obtaining a visa can take months.

What would be the best advice for a freshly graduated candidate?

Be curious about everything, talk to everybody and keep learning. Add people on Linkedin that may have a similar cursus to yours and ask them questions on how they got where they are. Most people will be happy to guide and help you in your career and it can even lead to a reference for a new job. Also, the worst that can happen is they say no. Also, going to recruiting events (even online webinars) and attending school events is a must. That’s where most recruiters see the potential of freshly graduates and get in contact with them. Also, don’t be scared to look up the recruiter and/or the supervisor (on Linkedin) when applying for a role. The more you know about the company and its employees, the more prepared you will be.

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Marieve Pilon
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