The Quality Corner: Casting the Net for DJ Recruits

Two millennia ago, Jesus Christ told his early followers, “I will make you fishers of men.” He was confident he could teach his disciples to “recruit” successfully and today, two thousand years later, about a third of the world’s population counts themselves as Christian.  That’s approximately two billion people. I’d say the disciples did a decent job!

As entertainment company business owners, our goal’s are a lot easier to attain.  After all, as many leads as we get, I doubt I could recruit two billion DJs to work with my company (although I’d have fun trying.)

Most of us would be happy finding one or two quality people from any recruitment push.  When I start to “cast out the net,” which I do twice a year, I set my goals at finding five good music mixers, one or two of which could be potential emcees.  I’ll be discussing the advantages of using a two person package and how it is a win-win for any multi-op in a future article but for now, suffice to say that we recruit with an entry level position in mind that we call “music mixer.” Our criteria is not that demanding for this position and the training is much easier than the intensive work that goes into emcee training, so we have much more success bringing in newbies.

Which brings us to that oft asked question: Where do you look? Or As I put it, Where do you cast your net?

To return to that “dream list” we drew up last month, we are looking for young people.  And nowadays young people (and middle aged people and even old people) use the internet for everything.  So I’ve placed an ad on Craiglist.

Craigslist is hit and miss in different areas of this country.  In Northern California (where it, and everything internet related, began) Craiglist is ubiquitous.  In some other parts of this country it hasn’t permeated the mainstream as much.  So, as they say, your mileage may vary.  Here in New Jersey,  I’ve had great success with the site.  In fact it’s often like trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose. My email box blows up in the days after I place an ad.  But that’s OK, I’d rather have more numbers to deal with than fewer.

Our ad says we want “outgoing personalities” yet we get emails from the walking dead.  We list “Energy and Enthusiasm a must!” yet we get emails from people with no pulse.  We also claim that a “driver’s license is needed” yet we get emails from 14-year olds.  Suffice to say that whatever “filters” you put in your ads will be ignored by the masses.  So it falls to you to chat with these people and weed out who you want to invite in and who you don’t.  I can normally spend about forty-five seconds on the phone with someone before I know if they have even the barest of potential.

So why bother? you ask.  Because hidden among all that rabble are some sparkling gems.  When I look over my roster, I can pick out the MCs that I found by placing ads and bringing total strangers into my office then offering them a job.  In fact one of my key people, Dominic Sestito, who is not only a top MC (performing at over 80 events a year for Elite) but also one of two sales people who work for me in my office.  He books hundreds of events a year and Dominic came from a simple four line classified ad that I placed over a dozen years ago (long before Craig had a list.)  I probably answered forty calls that day and blew twenty of them off in the first minute.  But I heard something in Dominic’s voice, a spark of enthusiasm that screamed “potential,” and I invited him in.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

If you’ve never done a recruitment push of any sort, start small. Decide how many people you’d like to bring in, how many people you’d eventually like to hire, then place an ad.  No need to cast that net too wide.  But go for it and you’ll be surprised how it can motivate you.  Finding a new recruit with potential to be an emcee always invigorates me and motivates me to get that person trained and started as soon as possible.  I think it’ll have the same effect on you.

What kind of net have you been casting?

Mike Walter – “The Quality Corner”

Mike Walter HeadshotMike Walter is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of DJ staff training and multi-system business development.  He is also a writer for Disc Jockey News and Producer of the International DJ Expo’s “DJ of the Year” competition.  Mike is the owner of NJ’s Elite Entertainment, selected by The Knot and Modern Bride magazine as one of the country’s top entertainment companies.  Mike’s highly praised DVD set is available at TrainingYourNextGreatDJ.com.  To contact him about his on-site training services or for general inquiries, write to mchl88@aol.com.

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