U2 Can Hire Great Recruits

January 10, 2008 by Mike Walter

Before you read this article, dig out your copy of U2’s “Rattle and Hum” CD. You’ve still got that from back in the day, right? Pop it in and cue up track 3. Hit play when I tell ya . . .

There are few things in this business that I love more than the weeks after we start an active recruitment push. The phones are ringing, I’m getting to meet tons of new people and my imagination is running wild with possibilities. I read a quote once that said, “I know there is an ocean because I’ve seen the river.” What that quote meant to me was how exciting it is to witness “potential.” How great it is to meet a new person and imagine what they can become in this industry. That’s one of the things that really psyches me up as a Multi-Op owner.

I’ve come to accept the fact that not all potential is realized. Not everyone who could be great as a Mobile DJ becomes great as a Mobile DJ. But instead of making me pessimistic, that fact just gets me more pumped up about the process. It’s kind of like the first few weeks of American Idol. You see all this talent (both good and bad) and you know that only a handful of them will make it to the last few weeks of the show. And not knowing which ones will make it and which one won’t keeps you tuning it. Well I have the same realization when we start meeting new people. Not every one will get started with the company. And of those that do, some will fall by the wayside (either on their own or me letting them go.) But as the months go by, good solid talent will emerge from the group. It always has and it always will. And when it does, I’ll be right there and ready to begin emcee training and getting them out to their own events.

(You can hit play now. It’s okay to clap along, I think it’s one of the best beats that came out of the 80s.)

I talked weeks ago about the “traits” that I look for in a new recruit. One of the things I didn’t discuss is the desire to do this (Or as Bono says: “desiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiire.”) That trait is as important as any of the ones I listed. I have worked with young people from time to time who had tons of talent but who really didn’t want to be a Mobile DJ. Some had their hearts set on club DJing. Others on being actors or TV personalities or singers. And despite all the talent they had, they made lousy DJs. Conversely, I have met many recruits through the years who really wanted this, but they lacked the natural traits that it takes to be successful in our industry and they too made horrible candidates.

Unfortunately, desire is not an easy thing to discern. At least not right off the bat. Someone’s look or voice or sense of rhythm, those things are easy to detect. But desire can be faked for a while. I’ve had recruits “come on strong” when they first get started only to flame out after a short while. They didn’t have the desire. But they seemed like they did early on. So part of my process here is to make my recruits wait a bit. They don’t become superstars over night (even the most talented ones) because if they aren’t willing to take some time at this, then they don’t really have the desiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiire.

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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