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Latest NBCUI News

    NBCUniversal does MIPCOM 2014

    October 23rd, 2014
    MIPCOM

    A snapshot of the hard work (and some play) that goes into putting together one of the classiest exhibition stands at the MIPCOM market in Cannes.

    Well, we survived, again – MIPCOM! For those of you who don’t know already, MIPCOM is the largest, most anticipated content marketplace taking place annually in France.

    Every October major players from the entertainment industry all over the world head to Cannes to buy, sell and explore the latest content. As the event continues to grow it is not just big traditional players in the TV world that make the trip; the presence of digital buyers like Amazon and Netflix continues to climb.
    Here are some facts and figures to give you an idea of the scale of the event:

    • 13,500 participants
    • 100+ countries
    • 2,100 exhibiting companies
    • 80+ key note sessions/ speeches

    And it feels like it! It’s hard to believe how many people descend on this surprisingly small French town in October each year (a lot of them also head to the slightly smaller MIP in April), and what really surprised me is the fact that no-one is actually there for the conference.  Doing business is way more important than attending the lectures – in fact, nobody I know actually went to see any of the keynote speakers (James Murdoch and Simon Cowell no less).  People came here to buy and sell TV content, and that’s what they did.

    The sheer volume of content on display was gobsmacking.  There were hundreds of stands from all over the world packed into the Palais des Festivals.  Some of the bigger companies had hired their own tents (read marquees) and others had huge balconies for entertaining their guests (including NBCU).  Some of the smallest companies had one or two representatives, whereas the bigger ones took a hundred or so delegates with them.  It was surprising to see just how much is being produced globally, and that there is genuinely is a market for all this diverse content.  The ideas for TV programmes never seem to dry up – just when you think you’ve heard the wackiest premise for a reality TV show ever, Celebrity Pole Dancing comes along and trumps it.

    So why were NBCUniveral Recruiters there?

    Good question. Looking at the above, I did feel slightly fraudulent visiting MIPCOM.  I wasn’t buying anything.  And I wasn’t really selling anything.  Although I guess you could say I was there to sell NBCUniversal to potential candidates.  Because whenever and wherever a large group of industry executives congregate, Recruiters will be sure to follow.  It’s only natural that internal recruitment teams like ours, and also recruitment agencies specialising in the entertainment industry, would flock to one of the biggest television conferences in the world.  Nowhere else do you find the entire industry – including key decision makers and content creators – trapped in one place for three days, and in the mood to talk.

    With over 2,000 exhibiting companies it is also a perfect opportunity to pick up on industry trends and suss out what is happening within our competitors. Running from meeting to meeting, we spoke to some exciting people, swapped industry information and generally pitched NBCUniversal International as a great place to build a career.

    So despite the madness, it appears that lots of work actually gets done.  It’s not a jolly (as many people in the office believe) and actually the long hours of meetings are harder work than a normal day in the office.  Having entertained candidates over breakfast and lunch in lovely bistros and invited them for coffee in some of the nicest hotels in the South of France, I’m just not sure why no-one believes me…

    So What’s In It For Me?

    September 24th, 2014
    fig2

    Maybe in 1980, the answer would have been, “well, you get paid”. Lovely. In 2014 however, salary alone is no longer enough to entice great people to work for your company. Perks and benefits have become just as important. But why is this and what extras do we actually value?

    Cardboard Efron? Perk!

    Cardboard Efron? Perk!

    Generation Y, or Millenials, don’t just expect a good starting salary. Even a generous holiday allowance and company pension aren’t enough. I’m not sure when it changed, but at some point during the noughties, graduates also began expecting compensation for travel, the ability to work from home, a company mobile phone, a funky Christmas party and more besides. Maybe as companies started trying to differentiate themselves in the war for talent, they realised the more benefits they offer, the more they stand out.

    During my first job for a small firm in 2004, the owner of the company decided to take us all shopping with a personal allowance to buy smart clothes for work. It still sticks in my memory of what constitutes a great perk. Surely perks like this must be a driver of employee engagement as well? Other perks I’ve been treated to are a limo ride, the latest mobile phones and the ability to buy more holiday allowance.

    Perks are funny things though. The ones that are worth the most money often seem to be the least interesting to us. What is the one thing that’s had people most excited this year at NBCU? Free ice-cream every Thursday throughout the summer. And boy, when those little tubs have run out, there is hell to pay if anyone missed out.

    Funnily enough, because most of us still adhere to the age old taboo of not discussing what we earn, the perks are the only bit we really talk to each other about. I for one have done my fair share of boasting when I’ve told everyone I know about NBCU’s summer hours policy (Friday afternoons off don’t you know). But the best bit about working here has to be the screenings of the latest films and television shows, and free DVDs. We even treated our employees to a showing of Lucy at the IMAX last month. And everyone looks forward to the opportunity to win tickets to Premières, most recently Boxtrolls.

    So I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know exactly when or why perks happened, but let’s be grateful that they did. For more information about the culture and perks at NBCUniversal International, check out our careers site.

    Diary of a Working Mum

    September 2nd, 2014
    workingmum

    Returning to work after my Mat Leave was a scary prospect but I am surprised to say that it has been exhilarating so far!

    It’s been a month since I swapped my baby bag for my Louis V Neverfull (which is now always full: BlackBerry, wipes, business cards, baby biscuit crumbs, dummies) and, while it is hard to say goodbye to my daughter in the mornings, it’s equally as thrilling to have a largely uninterrupted coffee, and talk to grown-ups on a regular basis.

    NBCU have been great – I’m now working flexible hours, and doing a day from home which both make the inevitable juggling act much easier. So far, the balance is working and the team have been very supportive, to the point that my lovely colleagues have allowed me to bore them with the obligatory iPhone photo collection!

    I hope that this flexibility and willingness to support working mothers is true across the board, and the statistics certainly seem to be positive: a study by the Office for National Statistics found that the number of women with dependent children in work, has leapt my almost a fifth since the mid-1990’s.

    So, one month in, and I’m already creating a recruitment toolkit and masterminding training for some hiring managers. I’ve also met some really interesting candidates, getting back into interviewing at a run. Company drinks at The Ivy were a great re-introduction to the company’s social scene. I entered a staff competition to win a trip to Universal Orlando, trying out or brand new internal social network, and am going to a staff screening of The Purge. So far the only big downside has been avoiding the free Thursday ice-cream (mission to lose baby weight severely tested by the salted caramel!)

    My tips for coming going back into work:

    • Talk to your employer: My manager was helpful and open when I approached her, and together we worked on a solution that worked for me, and my job. I also spent time talking to HR, who were transparent about how the business could help, and what support I was entitled to.
    • Plan a work schedule: I work a day from home, which means there are certain things I can’t do. Rather than weighing me down, this has forced me to become more efficient. I make sure that my meetings are scheduled on certain days of the week, phone calls on others, which means that when I work from home I use that time for things that need breathing space and quiet.
    • Be efficient and organised: Spend the last few minutes at work prepping for the next morning, as once I get home I won’t have time to sort it out. When I arrive back at my desk the next day, it all looks sane and coherent.
    • Reality check: Plans can flex and change. Periodically look at your arrangements and how they’re working for you, your family and your job. If there are issues, you can raise them,

    I can genuinely say that, although I had a great time on maternity leave, I’m immensely happy to be back at work and hope to be a great role model for the Mini-Me as she grows (or at least nab a few Barbie DVDs to bring home from work!)

    Working Mum, signing off x

    The Future Leaders Programme at NBCUniversal

    September 1st, 2014
    flpblog

    About a year ago, Joe Cooke, a current Future Leaders Programme participant, successfully passed the interview process and assessment centre to begin his FLP adventure in January 2014. Here he tells us more about his experience so far.

    “What really stood out was the exposure to senior leaders from the beginning of the programme. You are in a privileged position with unparalleled access to senior staff. Every executive contacted is happy to take the time to speak with you – these include SVPs and Presidents of the business. In this major career step, having open access to senior management and their experiences is invaluable.”

    One of the most challenging projects Joe has worked on was at the end of his first month, where he reviewed the strategy and global trends for the formats business. “There was an immense amount of information to cover as well as trying to get to grips with data systems. The key was to see through all the noise and grapple with the core, underlying issues”.

    As a big fan of the latest TV productions, Joe believes that “the best thing about NBCUniversal is the access to content – both Film and Television. We have a 64 seat 3D Cinema on site with a screen club allowing all employees to watch Universal content the week it airs. And also receive free DVDs of all new physical releases.” His next project will be to review NBCUniversal’s presence on YouTube and how the business can enhance and develop this area. Joe’s journey at NBCUniversal will continue with rotations in different departments and will hopefully culminate in him being taken into a Manager role at the end of the programme next year.

    Does the Future Leaders Programme sound like something you, or someone you know, might be interested in exploring? If so, please visit http://nbcuflp.com because applications for FLP 2015 are now open.

    Are You Using LinkedIn To Its Full Potential?

    August 14th, 2014
    li

    Although Facebook still dominates the social media world, for professionals it is LinkedIn that should be getting more of our attention. LinkedIn is an important networking tool and a way to help secure your next job – it’s a fact for us, because here at NBCUniversal International, the Talent Acquisition team uses LinkedIn as a key tool to find talent in the market.

    Earlier this year LinkedIn announced it had hit 300 million users worldwide. LinkedIn has changed the recruitment landscape for us, and there’s nothing better than finding someone online, and then seeing them succeeding in our business.

    So, are you using LinkedIn to its full potential? To help you understand what we look for, here are a few Top Tips for building and maximising your profile.

    • A photo is great – This adds credibility to your profile and increases the chance that someone will click through to view your page. Apparently, people are seven times more likely to take a look if they can see who you are up front.
    • Answer 3 key questions concisely – Make sure it is clear who you are, what you do and who you do it for. Keep information brief and factual.
    • Show off your work – Whether text, images or videos, it is worth adding samples of your work to your LinkedIn page to make your profile more interactive and engaging. It also gives people a chance to see what you are about upfront.
    • Ask for written recommendations – Don’t be afraid to ask former colleagues to endorse your skills and experience. Recommendations help set you apart from others, give a snapshot of who you are and again give your profile a bit of a credibility boost.
    • Join groups and follow industry experts – This is a great way to increase your LinkedIn network and keep up to date on certain companies and industries. It will also help keep you in the loop about interesting jobs that are coming up in your sector.
    • Make contact information visible – Only direct connections have automatic access to your contact details on LinkedIn. Having an email address visible on your profile will allow others to get in touch directly.
    • Personalise connection messages – Take time to personalise your connection messages as it is a great way to differentiate yourself. Whether it is highlighting a shared connection or shared group on LinkedIn or whether you have met in person before, pointing out the link increases the chance of a prompt and personalised response.
    • Keep active – Finally, make use of all the tools available to keep your profile up to date. The more you participate the more likely you are to attract interest and raise your profile.

    Meeting us for an interview?

    July 30th, 2014
    csg

    Meeting us for an interview at Central Saint Giles? Here are our top tips!

    Working in recruitment, your blogger reads a lot of tips, best practice and handy hints to do well at interview. All of which are very useful, but fairly general, and I know that interviewing with different companies can be a very different experience.

    Thus, please find below a tailored guide for how to survive an interview at NBCUniversal International, if you’re visiting at Central Saint Giles. Hint: it’s not the people who are scary, it’s the lifts!

    • We are the big orange and green building that looks like lego. Yes, it is a pretty cool office.
    • Our postcode is WC2H 8NU. But not on google maps, for some reason. To get straight to the front door, please use WC2H 8AG. We don’t know why…
    • If you are visiting us between 8.30am and 10am, or at lunchtime, please arrive a good ten minutes early. It’s like Grand Central Station here! Lots of media bods bustling around.
    • Ah yes, the lifts. Don’t go into the lifts. First, find the buttons outside the lifts. Press the floor you want to go to (probably 3), and the interface will direct you to the lift you need, most likely A through J. Easy, right?
    • Please don’t be afraid to ask for a tea (we have loads), coffee or other beverage.
    • Dress code? It depends. Generally we’d advise smart/casual (no tie needed), but do just double check with your contact to make sure.
    • Smile! Yes, it’s an interview but it’s not designed to be scary. People at NBCUI are lovely, and we want you to feel free to be yourself.

    From here, I can’t help you. But your HR contact will be able to – don’t be afraid to ask questions about who you will be meeting, what that specific person is looking for, what questions are likely to be asked, and more. They will tell you anything they can – we’re here to help.

    This is pretty specific advice, I know. But if you’re interviewing in any office, anywhere, it is definitely worth knowing the nearest station, what the building looks like, etc, rather than arriving in vaguely the right area with nothing but a hastily scribbled postcode to work from.

    Potter Mania Hits NBCUniversal

    July 18th, 2014
    hp2

    It’s been an exciting few weeks for Harry Potter fans, with JK Rowling’s release of a short story giving the first sneak peek into the wizarding world of the future since the end of the final book. For us here at NBCUniversal we are adding to the Harry Potter mania with the official opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to the public.

    Your blogger poses beautifully beside Potter himself!

    Your blogger poses beautifully beside Potter himself!

    As a Harry Potter fan for the past 17 years (yes, that’s when the first book came out!) I have been captivated with the launch of this theme park and new ride, with lots of internal publicity making my day to day less muggle and more magical. In our offices we’ve had golden galleons dropped on our desks (delicious chocolate) and our digital display screens, not too dissimilar to the moving portraits in Hogwarts, have been dominated with Harry Potter at our Orlando theme park. Whole walls in our kitchen areas have been covered with the image of Harry, Ron and Hermione advertising The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

    Wherever you are in our business, whatever your role, you are exposed to NBCUniversal content and unified by what we do. And what we do is amazingly diverse; theme parks are just one aspect of our offering. In addition to the resorts in Hollywood and LA we have two theme parks in Asia (Japan and Singapore) and Osaka is so popular that when it opened in 2001 it hosted 11 million guests in its first year.

    For the Harry Potter fans (who sadly never received their letter of acceptance to Hogwarts) here is a sample of what you can experience in our theme park:

    • The opportunity to board the Hogwarts Express at platform 9¾
    • Visiting Hogsmeade to sample the butterbeer in the Leaky Caldron
    • Stroll down Diagon Alley and select your wand (well, it will select you) at Ollivanders
    • Choose your animal sidekick at the Magical Menagerie
    • Have a chuckle at the Weasley’s joke shop
    • See if you can catch the golden snitch at Quality Quiditch
    • Take a 3D ride through Gringotts in The Escape from Gringotts!

    If you’re excited by our unique offering and want to join this charming (get it?!) organisation check out our latest opportunities at here or follow us on Twitter @NBCUGlobaljobs. From my experience, it’s an adventure you’ll want to take!

    Travels of a Talent Acquisition Manager – Part Two

    July 15th, 2014
    city

    Recently, your blogger shared with you some insight into relocating to (almost) the other side of the world and updated you on a little of what’s happening in this region.

    Since that report, I’ve had the opportunity to travel over to Beijing with NBUniversal, so thought I’d share some of my thoughts and findings from this, my very first visit to China.

    China is home to over 1.3 billion people. That’s almost 20% of the world’s population! And Beijing is the governmental and administrative hub of this vast country, which covers almost 10 million square kilometres.

    “There are nine million bicycles in Beijing”… as the song goes. Someone however forgot to mention the 3.5 million cars, and the 11 million people. Beijing is busy… It’s a frantic, buzzing, ever changing city, with a fascinating blend of old and new architecture.

    It’s exciting times in this region for NBCUniversal. Not only have our Theatrical team hired an MD to head up our growth plans in China (http://bit.ly/1qbUNFh) but Comcast also recently announced the acquisition of Freewheel, once again highlighting the firm’s desire to be on the cutting edge of developing media tech and multiscreen digital content delivery. Freewheel have a team of around 100 people in Beijing, and it was great to welcome them into the family on my visit there. For more information on this great new addition, take a look at the link below:

    freewheel-logo

    From a Talent Acqusition perspective, our growth means challenges. Whilst in Beijing I met with a large number of recruitment experts, all of whom highlighted the fact that the single largest barrier to growth faced by companies in China is the demand for local talent.

    There is fierce competition for top talent between multinationals looking to consolidate and/or grow in the region, and more and more up and coming Chinese firms who are experiencing rapid growth, many of which are looking to IPO in the near future.

    NBCUniversal is no different. In order to achieve our goals in this region we’re going to need bright, ambitious, local talent, individuals that benefit from knowing China, speaking the language, understanding the culture and customs, whilst at the same time being passionate about working for a global business that, for China certainly, could almost be described as being in “start-up” mode!

    But with our CNBC and NBC News Beijing bureaux, Freewheel, our new Theatrical offices and an ever growing presence in Shanghai, NBCUniversal is slowly but surely putting all the pieces in place.

    For now, this blogger is looking forward to returning to Beijing, and being part of the team that helps NBCUniversal make a real impact in this region.

    What we’re really looking for in our candidates…

    July 7th, 2014
    nbc

    Last week we were asked by Recruiter magazine to provide a quote on what we look for in our candidates at NBCUniversal.  It got us talking in the Talent Acquisition team about what skills are really important in our business and whether we’re hiring now for the future capability that we’ll need.  Are we being proactive enough in seeking out the skills we’re looking for in 5 years’ time, or are we simply putting bums on seats?  According to our top execs, there’s one specific skill that constitutes the vital ingredient of successful employees so I thought I’d share with you what it is and why it’s so important to NBCU.

    I’ve been asked by our business leaders to focus our recruitment efforts on hiring people who demonstrate entrepreneurialism.  Now what comes into your mind when you read the word ‘entrepreneurialism’?  Does it make you think of people who have left the corporate world to start up their own businesses or perhaps those people who spend their spare time making an investment or two on the side?  Or maybe it conjures up a mad professor-type who always come up with new products or gadgets, and for that matter, anyone who applies for Dragons’ Den?

    For us here at NBCU it could be any of those things, but we sum it up as having an innovative mindset or being able to spot business opportunities.  And why is that so important?  Well our industry is in a period of incredible change and we don’t just want to keep up with the competition, we need to make sure we’re ahead of the game to meet our long-term business goals.  We’re seeing other businesses merging and expanding.  Whole industries are converging.  Gone are the traditional ways of consuming entertainment and even the content providers are in a state of flux.  Who would’ve predicted that Netflix would be making some of the best quality programmes produced in recent years?

    With this backdrop in mind, it’s so important that everyone who works here is thinking about where the business can go next.  It’s not enough to stand still and bask in the glory of a successful show (although, of course, some basking is allowed when we nail a great series of Downton Abbey).

    Some people might say that they don’t work in roles that lend themselves to spotting opportunities for growing the business.  But we believe everyone can identify ways to improve things, whether it’s about growing the business, making things more efficient or increasing productivity.  Which means that everyone has a role to play.  So if you consider yourself to have some of that entrepreneurialism we’re looking for, make sure you’re checking out our latest jobs regularly at www.nbcuni-internationalcareers.com and following our latest updates on Twitter @NBCUglobaljobs.

    Moving On Up (Or Across)

    June 24th, 2014
    moving

    Interviewing candidates is a two-way street, and just as we are spending our time establishing whether a candidate is right for the business, we know that candidates are assessing whether joining NBCUniversal International is the right move for them. And there’s a whole bunch of criteria that will be used to determine whether they want to be part of the largest media company in the world: What’s the work/life balance like? How much do we pay? Is the hiring manager inspiring? And what is the opportunity for career advancement?

    We like the last question a lot, because as the largest media business in the world we are able to offer such a wealth of possibilities to people who want to develop and progress. That said, we’re not a business that likes to rest on its laurels, and we know that we can’t just rely on the fact that we are a massive, successful media company that hires great people to ensure that people are given the opportunities they yearn for to advance their careers.

    Are you a one trick pony?

    Are you a one trick pony?

    In fact, the Talent Acquisition team does a huge amount of work to promote cross-divisional internal hiring and promotions, encouraging the business to base decisions on potential, not purely experience. As a result we’ve had people move from home entertainment into TV production, from channel sales into corporate strategy, from marketing into tech innovation and from finance into sales.

    So why do we focus so heavily on promoting cross-divisional, cross-functional hiring? It helps us to keep hold of the best, most ambitious people in our business. It allows us to hire people who already know the inner workings of our company, with an established network, who know how to get stuff done and who fit well with the culture. It allows the people in our business to build a broader perspective on what makes NBCUniversal tick, providing a bench of future leaders with a real breadth of transferable skills.

    It’s not just about filling open jobs with internal candidates. It’s about people creating secondments into different departments or different countries. It’s about the Future Leaders Programme, a 2 year, 4 x 6 month rotation scheme. It’s about our Learning & Organizational Development team creating opportunities for people from different business units to work on keystone projects outside their day jobs. It’s about the people who work here doing their jobs, then asking what else they can do to move their careers and the business forward.

    If career advancement for you is linear and means working in an up or out culture, where a promotion means getting paid more to do more of what you’re already doing, then these career sites may help: careers.accenture.com or jobs.linklaters.com.

    If on the other hand, you feel like there could be more than one trick up your sleeve, you might just have come to the right place. Right, that’s enough blogging about talent acquisition, I’m off to start my new job in TV distribution.