Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hiring Staff at a Start-Up Gen-Y Style

Now Hiring Gen-Y employeesFor the past 2 weeks I have been sifting through resumes and interviewing some candidates to come and work for our Social Music Marketing Firm in our “lil ‘ol” office in Downtown Orlando. It has been quite a great, scary and stressing period for me. Being in the position to bring people on in a commission only basis is hard for anyone to explain, especially when the client list isn’t particularly long and the money in the bank isn’t, well, in the bank. Here are some observations from the process:

The ad. I put out postings on Craigslist, Facebook and Myspace for Music Industry Sales Reps. Being in the recruiting field (actually a marketer for online postings) I knew how to attract attention to a position and instigate a call to action. Also being from this background, I knew just how disappointing the classified sections of Facebook and Myspace are.

Craigslist generated over 120 responses in just over 2 days before I pulled the ad. The responses varied from college students to potential interns to music industry entrepreneurs who needed to add to their income pool. They were very in tune to the niche I wanted to hear from, and most complied with my requirements and method of contact. Many even took the step to visit the Rollett Marketing site and sent an email from the contact form within. Very satisfying.

The interviews. Now I know this position was hyped as a music industry sales position in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, but wow! I was flat out terrified with some of the attire that came into our office building. Short skirts, low cut shirts, leather boots, mo-hawks, boxers out the pants (I am a hip-hop head but I didn’t know this was still happening), and more. What about not having a car and bringing your friends to the office? Not once, but 3 times this happened. How are you going to get downtown 3-5 days a week?

The Good. Out of the 10 interviews that I conducted I had 3 brilliant people that were exactly as I expected from our email conversations, resume and phone talk. I am happy to be bringing them aboard. Expect some posts from them as they get acquainted to the scene and start learning everything that is SEO, SMM and this everyday changing music industry.

The bad. The position is commissioned based for sales and many people that came in were looking for the free perks offered – free tickets, interviewing major and indie acts, etc and had no sense of an attempt to help build our company. Granted, no one wants to work for free, but everyone wants to work to be a part of something greater than themselves.

Yes we are a start-up. Yes we have no money and yes, we are looking to grow and take on full time staff and become Orlando, then Florida and then the country’s biggest music marketing company there is. If you want to be a part of something great, this is an amazing opportunity to be there from the start. It’s like finding that band in your local pub before they become the Gym Class Heroes on MTV.

Hiring has been a difficult task. Only time will tell if they stick around and actually produce at the potential levels we saw from them in our interviews.

Oh and hiring is only the first step. The “how to hire people and have them become sales superstars manual” (that I forgot to buy) didn’t include the fact that we now have to train them. So next week, look for that installment of G-Ro and his start-up chronicles.

Any advice, growing pains, success and horror stories are well appreciated. Gen-Y entrepreneurs, please feel free to join in this conversation. We are all here to help each other succeed, prosper and create a lifestyle that we can be happy with.

-Greg Rollett


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