Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What to Look for When Hiring Talent

Due to the recent "RIF" cutbacks at Clear Channel, Cumulus and other major groups, the number of pro's on the loose right now simply boggles the mind. Here at A&O, we're getting emails from many of them every single day. It's overwhelming and sad to know that there's a bigger crowd of people needing jobs right now which far outnumbers the ones available and projected in the coming year.

At the same time, when an opening occurs it also makes it very hard to separate the wheat from chaff. As a prospective employer, you tend to have in the back of your mind that there has to be a reason why "this" person was cut and someone else was kept.

It's tempting to only recruit people who currently have jobs, so as to avoid the issue of digging deeply into backgrounds to understand why the previous employer decided that this person was expendable. Yet, you'd be missing a lot of people who are ready to start right now and will understand how valuable a good job is, hopefully bringing extra passion to your workplace.

The most important thing to do is start by being clear about what talents, attitude, personal style, work ethic and strengths you want. A strong line-up of talent is something every station needs, but what do you look for when hiring a new jock?

The decision will always be based on a number of factors:
  • Which time slot are you looking to fill?
  • Will you hire someone from a competitor/different market?
  • Will they already have on-air experience or not?

While the final decision is always going to be a subjective, there are a few things worth considering.

You want a personality who will be able to connect with your audience confidently. So keep an eye out for a confident communicator who doesn’t come across as condescending or ‘cocky’.

The Ability To Focus
It’s a trait that every host/announcer will need to display if they are to perform to the very best ability on-air.

An Engaging Conversational Style
A great voice isn’t enough these days, you need someone who can engage your audience and keep them listening. Perhaps set them a quick test by asking them to tell you a story about a ballpoint pen, and to make it sound interesting.

Do they make you feel like they really understand your radio station and convince you that no one wants to work for you more than they do? That they have the organizational skills and work ethic to exceed your expectations.

The X Factor
No, this has nothing to do with Simon Cowell. :) But you need someone who has that extra spark, a dynamic persona, the X Factor!

If the person you have in mind has all of those abilities, chances are they’ll make a great broadcaster.

Snap them up!

Thanks to Paul Hollins at Great Britain's production and syndication company, who provided the inspiration and many of the tips for this article.

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