Did you know we have a jobbing actress working among us at Search? In this exclusive interview, Search consultancy Megan Barnard speaks to marketing manager Rhona Deb about juggling a career in recruitment with life on prime time TV.
It was just another busy week manning the HR desk in the Brighton office when the call came. “It was my agent.” Megan recalls. “She told me that the production company who’d recently auditioned me had been in touch to say that I’d been successful - I’d got the part!”
Megan plays a major character in an upcoming episode of BBC’s The Coroner starring Matt Bardock and Claire Goose, which is now entering its second season after the first series proved to be a big hit. In episode nine, due for broadcast in November, Megan plays main protagonist Adele Lesley for almost the entire duration of the episode.
Megan was thrilled to land the role. “I’ve been doing acting work whenever I can since leaving drama school back in 2009. I try to fit it around my full time job at Search and use my annual leave to squeeze in casting calls, rehearsals and filming. It can be a bit of a juggling act at times but I always find a way to make it work.”
“Being in The Coroner was a fantastic experience. It was a really gritty part because my character ends up being attacked and I had to spend a lot of time in make up between takes so I could look battered and bloodied for my final scenes. It was completely exhausting - I was working from 6am until 7pm on location in Devon for a full week while I filmed my scenes – but it was totally worth it!”
Whilst the lights and cameras of a film set make for a very different environment to the Search Brighton office, the roles of recruiter and actor are not as far apart as you would think, with Megan routinely drawing on her skills and experience as an actress when facing candidates and clients. “The two jobs have a number of similarities,” she says.
“When I go to auditions I have to walk into a room and convince people who I have never met that I am right for them. In many ways it’s just like a client visit where you only have one chance to make a good impression and demonstrate that you are good at what you do. In the acting world, you also have to be very confident and think on your feet when playing roles, just like being a consultant meeting with candidates and clients. There is a lot of selling yourself involved in being a recruitment consultant which I like to think helps me when I’m looking for acting work.”
What next for Megan? “I’ll have to wait and see what acting opportunities my agent can find for me in the coming months. In the meantime, it’s business as usual at Search. The HR division is busy and the team and I are placing a steady stream of candidates with a range of clients across the Brighton area.”
Episode 9 of series 2 of The Coroner, featuring Megan Barnard, airs at the end of November on BBC1.