The Best Trainees Have Class

December 5, 2007 by Mike Walter

I have spent the better part of two months now listing some great careers that you should consider recruiting from. Teachers, sales people, waiters and waitresses all have the potential to make awesome entertainers and great additions to your staff.Today I would like to talk about the area where I love to find good, fresh young talent the most: Schools.

I think students, specifically High School Senior to College Sophomores make the ideal recruit, assuming of course that they fit your mold with the right personality and physical traits.

First, the age for me is ideal. If I can get a person on staff in their late teens who is already attending (or planning to go to) a local College, I can teach them how to DJ and show them this great part time career and I know I’ll have them for a good 4-6 years. They’ll stay with me throughout College and even as their “day-job” gets going and they won’t look to move on until they start a family and/or their fulltime career starts taking off (which could be a few years still). This scenario has played out for me often enough to know it is no coincidence. The timing works.

The next thing that is ideal is their schedule. College students have great flexibility with their classes and can often plan to have Friday afternoons off simply by choosing the right course schedule. Plus, unless they take summer courses (which many won’t) you’ve got them fulltime in the Summer Months when you may need someone on a Tuesday afternoon to go cover that Corporate picnic.

Also, it’s my experience that students learn better. I know that sounds silly but let me explain. When we are students we are in the “learning phase” of our lives. Now, the successful people that I know never leave that phase and are constantly learning but many people, once they leave school, they forget how to learn. They get out of the routine of taking notes, doing homework and rehearsing and practicing. And those are things that I need my trainees to do be doing. Students are already doing those things. I’ve even had trainees who show up for DJ training classes and are using their college notebooks. One section is for Psych 101, the next is for Lit and the next is for DJ Training. There’s a person that is in the “learning phase” of life and I know they are going to be successful in my training because they are fulltime students. I’m just one more course that they are taking and trying to graduate from.

Finally, it’s been my experience that young people are less jaded and more open to new opportunities than people in their 30s or even late 20s. This isn’t universal of course. I’ve met plenty of open minded 35 year olds and I’ve met my share of pessimistic teenagers as well. But overall, I think if you show a young person a fun career like DJing, and show them that they can make some cool part time money working weekends while they focus mid-week on their schooling and their career, they will be appreciative and with that will come a measure of loyalty. The first time they are approached by a competitor who says, “you should come work for me” they are going to shake their head and turn away while someone a little more skeptical might say, “oh really, let’s talk.”
I’ll talk next week about ways to attack the Schools and find potential talent from the ranks of your local High Schools and Colleges. Meantime, if you are thinking of adding to your current roster of DJs, I urge you to consider the College age person as the best possible recruit. It’s worked for me and I know it will for you.

Till next week.

Mike Walter’s emceeing career began in his hometown of Queens, New York in 1984. With an eye towards radio, Mike attended Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1988 where he was chosen from his class of 25 as “Most Likely to Succeed.” After school, Mike helped to develop a staff of DJs from 12 to over 50 by training new recruits and handling an increasingly complex schedule. In early 1993, Mike felt an increasing desire to venture out on his own and by March of that year he became a partner in a much smaller Mobile DJ company, Elite Entertainment. He quickly had an impact on the Elite staff, imposing his high standards of emceeing and DJing. Mike bought out his partner in 1998 and Elite Entertainment has continued its growth (21 emcees in 2006) and sets the standard for excellence in New Jersey. Mike has always believed in training talent from within and his message has helped show hundreds of DJs from across the country that it is possible to grow their companies without sacrificing quality.

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