Before joining Nickelodeon as its new VP of recruiting and talent development in late January, Camille Eden had spent nearly a decade at Walt Disney Animation Studios as a talent acquisition and outreach manager. There, she built a reputation for promoting diverse and inclusive hiring practices while helping staff projects like Frozen and Frozen 2, Wreck-it Ralph, Moana and Big Hero 6.
She’s done stints at Sony Pictures Imageworks (recruitment), DreamWorks (production manager) and her new home Nickelodeon (production supervisor). Her experience caught the eye of Nick, which is up plenty of projects in the wake of the Viacom and CBS’ merger and its multi-year output deal with Netflix.
Finding fresh blood for new and existing projects, teams and exec ranks falls squarely on Eden’s shoulders, and she sat with Kidscreen to talk how she landed in this role and what the rest of the kids industry should know about talent recruitment and development.
Kidscreen: How did you end up as VP of Nickelodeon recruiting and talent development?
Camille Eden: I was overseeing recruitment and outreach and school initiatives for Disney, and that was going on almost nine years, and I got an email out of the blue and from one of the recruiters at Viacom. I wasn’t really looking at the time but I thought it would be great to come in and meet with the hiring managers.
KS: Why are you the right person for this job?
CE: I’ve been doing this for awhile, and I love what I do. Whenever I meet somebody, I’m always thinking of a role that they would be great for, a person [they should be] connected to to this, [mentally] or keep this person in our rolodex because I know something is going to come up down the road.
I’ve also been doing a lot of work with diversity and inclusion and bringing new talent forward, and that was pretty important to me to be able to do that kind of work and do it for a bigger scale. With the amount of projects coming through [at Nickelodeon], I [can help] build a recruiting team, and a recruiting culture that brings new voices to the forefront.
KS: What do you mean by “recruiting culture”?
CE: When people think of recruiting, they think of one person or a team of recruiters, but I think recruiting is part of everyone’s job at a company or studio.
KS: What were the first tasks you set out doing when you started in late January?
CE: I think it’s really important to learn about the studio, the people, the culture before implementing big changes. There’s still a lot of meetings to go, but the first thing is just trying to learn and understand.
KS: What lessons did you learn at Disney that you’re going to apply to your new role?
CE: Working in companies that have a lot of creative talent, it’s not just about saying that the artists are the only creative ones. You can be creative in HR or in overhead roles, and I think listening to people and hearing what their goals are [and it's thinking through], how do you connect people with the right person or the right resource to help them in their career goal? I think that’s something I’ve learned at Disney.
KS: What are the main talent areas you’re looking to fill right now at Nickelodeon?
CE: Production, management, story and art. And then there’s probably going to be some CG roles—those are the ones that are going to be key. [I'm looking to fill positions like] storyboard artists, character designers, background painters, roles in the visual development world.
KS: What is your biggest obstacle to finding new talent right now?
CE: Everybody is looking at the same time for the same talent. There’s a high demand for storyboard artists and story in general because there are a lot of places now now creating content. So that makes it a challenge.
KS: So how do you convince talent to come work for you rather than one of those other studios?
CE: I think the studio itself is really key because it’s an amazing place to work, there’s so many projects coming and already in the works. People want an environment that is welcoming, they want to contribute, and I think we need to show off the culture of Nickelodeon when we’re meeting people or using social media, will help entice people to come here.
KS: How do you find fresh new talent?
CE: There’s an outreach component, but there’s also an element of going out, going to schools, hosting things here for them to take a look around. There’s social media, there’s tools like LinkedIn which a lot of people in recruitment will use. There’s referrals, some of the best ways to get talent is from the people who are already here. It’s just about being creative about how you reach out, and thinking strategically about tailoring your search for what you’re looking for and how you tailor that search for that specific role.
It’s combining all of those different efforts for the job and then creating a new culture here to be ahead of the game and start to proactively look for talent versus being reactive.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.