You’ve booked an interview with a talent agency! Congratulations! Now it’s time to really do your homework.

Many new actors and models think once they have an interview with an agent, all they have to do is walk in, flash that million-dollar smile, and show the agency what a great personality they have and they’re sure to get signed.  But, that’s not all it takes.

Preparing for an interview with an agent is just the same as preparing for any other job interview.  You must do your research first and understand what questions are and aren’t appropriate to ask.  If you know nothing about the agency, why do you want to sign with it, to begin with?

Just as you would know what company you’re walking into and what a potential position entails for a standard job interview, you’ll need to know enough about the agency to understand why you want to work with it and enough about why it’s interested in you and what’s expected.

You’ll also need to understand what questions you should and shouldn’t ask.  If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll risk flashing your newbie status or offending the talent agency.  One of the biggest mistakes a talent can make in interviews with agents is not preparing properly.

So, what should you not ask?  Here are the top questions to avoid, according to Backstage:

“How many clients do you have?”  The interview is supposed to be about you and your interest in the agency.  And, just because an agency is small doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.  By the same token, a large commercial agency may handle thousands of clients unsuccessfully.  The relationship the agency has with casting directors determines its worth.  To keep the focus on the original purpose of the interview, ask instead, “Where do you see me fitting in?’

Also, don’t ask, “Why should I sign with you?”  This automatically solicits a sales pitch and will likely make the agent feel defensive.  Instead, compliment the agency on its reputation, then follow up with, “What do you believe makes your agency so successful?”

Don’t ask, “Who can you introduce me to?”  This just sounds pretentious, especially if you’re just getting your start.  Instead, do your research prior to the interview and ensure you have some knowledge about how the agency can help you with your career goals.  This way, you’ll get the information you need without coming across as overly pompous.

A successful interview with a reputable industry professional can be that big break you’ve been looking for.  Do your research and come to the table prepared to ask the right questions.

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