The Quality Corner: Recruitment and Training – An Ongoing Operation

Note: This is the first post in a new monthly column entitled “The Quality Corner” by Mike Walter.

So Stacy Zemon tells me she’s doing this blog thing.  Asks me if I want to be a contributing writer.  I say sure.  I’ve known Stacy for years and respect the many contributions she’s made to our industry.  I can have my own bi-line.  I go with the name “The Quality Corner,” which is very similar to the name of my article for The Disc Jockey News.  And I like that.  If I get known for anything in this industry, if I am stereotyped and pigeonholed, let it be as the guy who kept banging the drum for the Multi-Op.  You can grow your company AND maintain a high level of service and quality.

I know you can because I’ve done it and so many others have also.

My first suggestion to anyone who is interested in growing their Multi System company is simply this: You need to treat Recruitment and Training as an ongoing operation.  Just like sales and marketing, the R&T division of your company needs to be tended to almost daily.  You don’t plant a bunch of seeds in a garden and then return three months later to a full bloom.  New DJs take work to get up to speed and since no one on staff embodies the level of talent and professionalism as the owner (or so we all believe) that work should fall to you.

If you’ve ever seen me do my seminar on Recruitment and Training you may have heard me say “If Only I Could Clone Myself!”  I’m a firm believer that we all can.  In fact, much like the “Six Million Dollar Man” I not only think you can clone yourself, but I think you can make a better you (“…we will make him better, stronger, faster…”).  You can start with yourself as the template and then find someone who better exemplifies the traits that make you successful.  Someone younger, better looking and a better dancer for example.

So let’s start there. With the template.

Take a figurative (or literal) look in the mirror and jot down the traits that you believe have made you successful in this business.  This isn’t an exercise to pump up your ego but rather an attempt to draw a picture of your next dream recruit.  Start with yourself as the canvas.  What makes you a great DJ?  If you regularly receive evaluations from your past clients, read through them.  After all, what we consider to be our own best traits isn’t as important as what the paying customer sees as our most valuable assets.  What do your clients tell you?  Do they say it was your beat mixing?  Your voice?  Your attention to detail?  Write it all down and create your list of what you want in your next dream recruit.   From these answers you can create a list of the qualities and talents you want in your entertainers

Now, just like any good goal setting exercise, take that piece of paper and mount it over your desk.  Put it somewhere that you’ll see it every day and be reminded of what you are looking for.  Before you head out to an event, read it over.  You just might bump into the ideal candidate on the dance floor or maybe it will be the bartender serving drinks in Tom Cruise “Cocktail” style.  Perhaps it will be the waiter overflowing with personality and Savior faire.  Will you recognize him or her when you see them?   And will you approach them with a job offer?

Finding out what you need in an ideal DJ is only the first step to successfully recruiting but it’s an essential one.  As Prince says, “Paint a perfect picture” before you even begin the search.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to take action.  We’ll discuss the ways I take action, and my best recommendations for you, in my next article.

Got some feedback for me?  Got some questions or topics you’d like to see me discuss in this forum?  Let me know below.

Mike 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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