An inside look at an employment agency specializing in themed entertainment with Jeff Ganter, President of Eleventh Hour
interview by Martin Palicki
Tell us about Eleventh Hour and where the company name came from.
The name is both literal and figurative. I grew the agency out of an immediate need, when my previous employer closed without warning. Not wanting to leave our loyal clients without options overnight, Eleventh Hour was formed. The name refers to the immediacy of our origin, and also the fact that many of our clients do call us at the ‘eleventh hour’ needing help, which we are happy to provide. Over a decade later, we are grateful to have been able to help fill freelance and direct hire roles for some of our clients since day one.
ABOVE: The highly themed and incredibly detailed Eleventh Hour booth at the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo. Courtesy Eleventh Hour.
What makes you and your team experts at matching people to jobs?
Here at Eleventh Hour we collectively have 25+ years of experience in staffing and recruiting, and a genuine passion for and deep involvement in the entertainment industry. We take the time to build relationships with both clients and candidates, assessing not only the skills and qualifications of talent, but the social and cultural fit as well.
We know that personality, sense of humor and working style are crucial to a harmonious project, especially in creative environments, as you can’t train or teach those as you would with a specific software or program. As a result, we have built a very strong, diverse database from around the world. Moreover, with our trusted network and experienced team, we are adept at searching out those very specific, talented people that one won’t always find by simply posting a job online.
You’re connecting creative people with creative jobs. What’s your view of the current market?
We are connecting creative folks every hour of every day. It is Eleventh Hour’s belief that no matter how the market looks objectively, our job is to make sure the best clients and the best talent are matched up. The first quarter of 2017 has been lucrative for both employers and job seekers, and we have seen a relatively large hiring upswing in the beginning of the year. Typically, companies will use their first quarter to assess their budgets and spending then react second quarter, but the forward momentum we are seeing in hiring is showing no signs of slowing.
Do you help place individuals and small companies into the project-based teams so common in themed entertainment work? It feels like everyone has to be their own brand nowadays and maintain that brand identity from contract to contract.
This is a great question and yes, starting on a temporary project and growing that into something further is very common. With any candidate, it is important to be aware of what you bring to the table, what you have to offer a team, and be able to show what your impact is within a project. This is especially important in freelance and project based teams, as those other team members you are working with are your colleagues, and it is a small world and smaller industry! If you have been clear about your abilities and demonstrated that, those people will remember you and they will call you with other roles on the next project.
For example, something that Eleventh Hour specializes in is custom building freelance creative teams based on specific client needs, whether it be on site or remotely. For the past eight years, we have created an off-site model with a global theme park client where we hand pick creative talent for the client, and Eleventh Hour houses the freelance teams while reducing client overhead. Because we are always looking for talent to complement those teams, the people who package themselves distinctly, are great at communicating their strengths and weaknesses and have strong industry context are always our first calls.
What types of jobs are in highest demand?
Right now we are very busy searching for art directors, show set designers, production designers, architectural designers, project managers and producers with themed entertainment experience. Our workload is very client driven, however and changes often.
Regionally, where are you finding the most need for talent?
We place talent globally. As there are so many parks and attractions being developed in Asia, naturally we have many clients with needs there. The domestic (USA) market is also thriving.
If someone is interested in using your services, what should they do?
Reach out to us! You can find more info and our contact info at www.11thr.com and www.hotfreshtalent.com whether you’re looking for a job or looking to hire talent. We meet and interview every candidate we represent, so be prepared to tell us all about yourself. Of course we are involved in many industry events and organizations like IAAPA and TEA, so always feel free to come and say hello, we’re sure to be there! • • •