Hosting An Open House for DJs

About a month ago I offered some ways to find potential talent, or as I like to call it, “casting the net.” Once you’ve made that phone ring, the next step is just as essential. It’s important to weed out the people who came across well on the phone but don’t really have the potential to make it with your company. It’s also essential to target the people who do have potential and then whet their appetite so they want to come aboard and start giving up their weekends to work for you. It’s up to you to “sell” them on the fact that this is a cool way to make great money.

And when I say “sell” that’s what I mean. Because you have to clear a very high psychological hurdle with young people once they realize that you want them to work EVERY SINGLE SATURDAY. What, I can’t lay on the beach all day? What, I can’t party with my friends? What, I can’t go see my favorite band?

Let’s face it, you’re doing your job well when you’ve recruited outgoing, fun loving people. Well, outgoing, fun loving people like to go out and have fun. So it’s incumbent upon you to show them early on that a Mobile DJ career can be fun too. And instead of going out and spending all their money, when they DJ, they actually make money.

So how do we do this? Well, first off, I suggest you forgo the traditional interview process. Have an “Open House” where you can meet five, ten, even fifteen people at once. This will save you time, plus it’ll allow you to “sell” this job a lot more.

For our Open Houses, we start off with our sound system playing cool new music and our lighting system doing some colorful sweeps and effects. It makes quite an impression on these young people to see and hear what they normally only see and hear in a nightclub.

As they enter the room they are given an application. Side one is your basic employment application asking for name, address phone number and email. We also have space for references and to tell us if they have any DJing and/or performance experience. On the backside of the application, I have fifteen questions that are aimed at finding out how much the candidate knows and listens to music. Questions like, “If I turned your car on right now, what radio station is tuned in?” and “what was the last CD you bought?” are combined with more objective questions like, “Name the four members of The Beatles.”

When the room fills up, I start out the presentation by showing our demo video. The video is a four minute piece filled with happy dancing DJs and happy dancing clients. It was made to sell our DJ service to our clients but I find it also sells the job to the candidates. They see us dancing around and enjoying our job and that’s the impression I want them to have.

After the video, I have about a ten minute presentation, where I explain the job itself, the pay and the opportunities that exist within my company. I also give them tips on how to succeed and move up the ladder at Elite Entertainment. While I am speaking, a power point presentation highlights the points I am making. Once I am done, I open up for Q&A.

After I have detailed the job to the candidates, I invite them onto the stage for a “preliminary” training. I teach them how to open the trays on a typical dual CD player, plus how to cue and do a simple segue. My goal during this phase of the night is two-fold. First, I want to impress them with the gear. It’s like going for a test drive. For many people, just getting to touch a mixing board is pretty impressive. I also want to find out their learning ability or what I like to call “learnability” (yes I created that word, don’t try to find it in Websters.) There are some people who you show something to once and they pick it up. And on the opposite end of that, some people need things explained a hundred different ways before they catch on. If a person is going to get to MC status with me, I’ll be teaching them a lot along the way so their learnability is extremely important.

The Open House can be a great way to meet numerous candidates at once and impress them all with the “coolness” of DJing. If you’ve tried it as well, share some tips that have made your Open House successful.

Mike Walter HeadshotMike Walter – “The Quality Corner”

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 Mike@EliteEntertainment.com.

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