BBC spends £200,000 on actors – for job interviews


By Kirsty Topping

THE BBC is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer’s money to hire actors to help with job interviews, it has been revealed.

The publicly-funded broadcaster has been blasted for splashing out 200,000 on actors to play difficult customers to see how interviewees perform under stress.

Critics said it was

“beyond belief’ that the money was spent despite the corporation cutting hundreds of jobs following a six-year freeze of the licence fee.

Emma Boon of the Taxpayer’s Alliance said:

“I can’t see why BBC staff can’t assume these roles.

“You would think staff at the BBC would be talented enough to assume a role for the purposes of an interview without having to hire a professional actor to do it.

“It’s beyond belief that this is something they still fork out cash on every year.

“It’s ridiculous given the fact it’s trying to find ways to save money. “

The BBC has paid out for actors in interviews for 129 jobs, at a total cost of 193,391 over 5 years.

So far this year the bill has his 7000 despite announcements to cut online services, resulting in the loss of 200 websites and 360 jobs over the next two years.

Actors are increasingly being used to interview candidates in other private and public companies, including the NHS, government bodies and police forces.

Andrew Blair, creative director of Role Play UK has provided actors for BBC interviews and said they helped test a candidate’s competency.

He said:

“The actors job is to give people a chance to show how they deal with different scenarios.

“Often you are asked to play someone challenging.

“If the interview is for a chief executive you might be asked to play a director of the board who doesn’t agree with the direction the company wants to head in.

“How you react to them will depend on what they say and what competencies the company is looking for.’If the applicant explains something well and uses good questioning skills then you can rewards them by allowing your character to be more cooperative.

“The actor won’t break character until the interview is over. “

He added that his company provides between 100 and 200 actors evey week to companies which use them for interviews.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was careful to ensure its recruitment activities gave value for money.

She said:

“Where it is appropriate and provides best value, we occasionally use actors to ensure our staff recruitment is most effective, and this approach is common practice.

“Actors and typically used for assessing managerial/consultant competencies. “