Case Study Site Owners and Leaders

Bad Hiring Experience: IMDb Actress Malinda Money & The Sundance Film Festival Fiasco – Part 1 [Case Study]

Malinda Money IMDb

Bad Hiring Experience Case Study Part 1

Every human resources person that has hired writers and contributors for a news website has a horror story to tell, whether that person was hired to do front-end work or back-end work for the organization.

The following will be a case study, a living, breathing human resource management example gone drastically wrong and how you can avoid such scenario and safe-guard yourself and your organization against such writers and contributors.

What is a Case Study?

Case Study Wordle

A case study is “a research method involving an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a subject of study (the case), as well as its related contextual conditions.”

Parameters of this Case Study

Description

FilmBook, an online news website that covers film and TV show industry news, was looking to expand its roster of writers and contributors to publish news articles, reviews, media, and attend industry events. In an effort to attract top employees, FilmBook instituted a job ad strategy designed to attract said applicants. Rollo Tomasi, Editor-in-chief of FilmBook and ProMovieBlogger, assesses the effectiveness of one of FilmBook’s latest hires and how that employee, Malinda Money, performed over a period of three months, including her attendance at a prominent film festival.

Learning objective:

1. Explore some of the elements of a performance management system in a narrow organizational context, specifically the identification, incentivisation, and rewarding of an employee. 2. Acquaint the reader with the challenges associated with maintaining a performance management system as new evidence is gathered about an employee’s performance and motivation. 3. To consider what could have been done before, during, and after an accurate employee performance appraisal to ensure productive outcomes for the employee and the organization.

Subjects Covered:

Human Resource Management; Incentives; Motivation; Valuation; Pivoting; Problem Solving; Podcasting; Editorializing; News Writing; Film Review Creation; Communication; Leadership; Employee Behaviors; Employee Values; Common Ethics Issues; Performance Appraisals

Setting:

Geographic: United States
Industry: News Media
Event Year Begin: 2013

The Bad Hiring Experience Case Study

Malinda Money is an actress, listed on IMDb, that answered one of our writers ads in 2013 for our film and TV show news website FilmBook.

Like many organizations, FilmBook placed ads for new writers and contributors on on-site and in other areas of the Internet.

Malinda Money answered one of those volunteer writer ads on December 12, 2013:

I saw your ad with need for a Film Industry Writer and Correspondent. I’m curious if you have filled the position or are still accepting applications? I would very much appreciate the opportunity to apply for the position. As an actress I have extensive knowledge of the Film Industry, I studied Film in college and have 4+ years of article writing and SEO experience. I would be more than happy to send a few examples of my work. Thank you for your consideration!

On December 19, 2013, after requesting them, Malinda sent FilmBook her resume and two writing samples. FilmBook’s staff read her resume and her writing samples. They liked how Malinda wrote and expressed her opinion.

FilmBook invited her to write news stories and film reviews for FilmBook on December 23, 2013. After further emails, Malinda accepted their volunteer writer and contributor position on January 4, 2014:

Yes, I am still very interested and keen to get started asap! I believe I am able to meet all your expectations. Thank you again for your consideration!

Between January 7, 2014 and January 22, 2014, Malinda Money wrote fourteen news stories for FilmBook. It was a strong and consistent start.

Even with that flurry of news coverage, Malinda Money was denied press accreditation to the Sundance Film Festival and South By South West Film Festival. Because of these denials (2014-2017), Malinda’s contributions to FilmBook dwindled: one film review in 2015 for an online screener that we secured for her from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and then FilmBook had almost no contact with Malinda Money for two years.

In this, Malinda Money bears no blame. FilmBook said that it would attempt to get her press accreditation for the Sundance Film Festival and the South By South West Film Festival. When they didn’t deliver, she stopped delivering.

The incentives portion of our performance management system, a system used “to promote and improve employee effectiveness…a continuous process where managers and employees work together to plan, monitor and review an employee’s work objectives or goals and his or her overall contribution to the organization,” broke down.

It wouldn’t be until late 2017 that FilmBook found out why Malinda Money had been continuously denied press accreditation.

It wouldn’t be until right before Malinda Money no longer worked for FilmBook, in early 2018, that they realized what other key components, besides incentivisation, had always been missing from their performance management system.

Recontact and News Writing Agreement

FilmBook got back into contact with Malinda Money on October 3, 2017, in an email entitled “Sundance, SXSW, and Writing for FilmBook 2017/2018”:

Malinda:

We wanted to inquiry if you would like to write for FilmBook, attend the upcoming Sundance Film Festival and SXSW? We would like to replace the person we regularly send to Sundance with you.

When you have a free moment, please let us know.

Thank you.

On October 5, 2017, Malinda responded and accepted FilmBook’s invitation:

Sure. I’d be interested in being in attendance and writing on behalf of FilmBook.

To get their re-initiated working relationship off to a positive start, FilmBook offered Malinda Money an advanced screening to The Greatest Showman on Oct. 9, 2017. Malinda Money politely declined because she was out of town.

On November 17-18, 2017, FilmBook emailed Malinda about: attending the 2018 San Diego Comic Con, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, writing a weekly column, and writing news articles for the organization.

On November 19, 2017, Malinda responded:

I am available to write for either [the weekly column] or news writer, but I think I would prefer to write for [the weekly column].

I am also available to attend the screening.

The screening Malinda is referring to was for The Disaster Artist. We wanted to show Malinda that screening opportunities like The Disaster Artist where what she could expect by writing for FilmBook again.

In reply to her email, FilmBook sent Malinda this response on November 21, 2017:

With regard to being a news writer and / or [a weekly] columnist, at the current point and time, FilmBook is in need of a news writer more than a columnist.

Please understand – you can do both but if you only have the time for one, news writer is what we need for you to take on.

Please let us know.

Thank you.

FilmBook received no response to this email.

FilmBook sent Malinda Money another email on November 28, 2017, inquiring about writing news articles for FilmBook. FilmBook mentioned an additional advanced film screening opportunity that had become available. FilmBook also informed Malinda that she had been denied press accreditation for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival but her press accreditation had been approved for the 2018 South By South West Film Festival.

Malinda Money responded to FilmBook on the same day (November 28, 2017):

I can attend the other screening as well as start on the other writing assignment.

Malinda Money agreed to write news articles for FilmBook on November 28, 2017.

On December 1, 2017, FilmBook sent Malinda Money her log-in info for FilmBook. She had been attaching her reviews to the emails that she sent FilmBook up until that point.

On December 3, 2017, in an email entitled “Log-in / Writing Information – Review and News Queries – FilmBook,” FilmBook asked Malinda:

Can you begin writing news articles for FilmBook this Monday, 2 per day, M-F?

This was the first time that FilmBook asked Malinda Money when she planned on starting writing news articles for FilmBook after she agreed to do so.

FilmBook received this response from Malinda on December 6, 2017:

I have completed registration for SXSW, as well as my review on Crooked House. I have also begun working on news stories; however I have been unable to log in to the back end of Film-Book. For whatever reason, I keep receiving an error (and then eventually blocked) every time I attempt to log in.

FilmBook immediately troubleshot, corrected the log-in issue, and emailed Malinda the next day (December 7, 2017) that she could now login without error.

After two days of not receiving a response, FilmBook emailed Malinda Money again on December 9, 2017:

Malinda:

As we said a few days, your log-in is all set now.

When will you begin your news coverage (set them to Pending Review for now)?

When will you upload and set to Pending Review Crooked House?

This was the second time that FilmBook asked Malinda Money when she planned on starting writing news articles for FilmBook. Even-though she previously didn’t have back-end access to FilmBook, Malinda could have attached her news story articles to her emails as she did with her film reviews. Malinda Money did not do so.

On Sunday, December 10, 2017, Malinda Money emailed FilmBook this response:

Sorry, it’s been kind of a crazy week. I actually won’t be able to start writing film news until next week.

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, FilmBook emailed Malinda another news story writing query.

This was the third time that FilmBook asked Malinda Money when she planned on starting writing news story articles for FilmBook.

FilmBook never received a response to that email.

On December 14, 2017, FilmBook emailed Malinda Money this query:

Malinda:

Can you provide us with the date which you have set aside to begin writing news articles for FilmBook?

When you have a free moment, please let us know.

Thank you.

This was the fourth time that FilmBook asked Malinda Money when she planned on starting writing news story articles for FilmBook.

FilmBook never received a response to that email.

The Remainder of this Case Study

This case study has been broken up into four parts. This is the first of those four parts. The remaining three will be published in the coming weeks.

Future segments of this case study:

Disclaimer: This case study is not meant to denigrate, defame, or to assassinate the character of any person or company. The words or statements that could be characterized as such (and not substantiated with facts and/or proof) have either been deleted or are behind stars (*****). This case study is for educational purposes and only represents facts.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A cinephile who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (http://film-book.com), he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions.

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