How can one find a great creative promo producer? Just the other day, DON SMITH of the Idopromoz site (and Promo Manager at KOVR) posted about the many, many openings for writers and producers. They’re getting to be scarce – very scarce – and the competition to hire them is strong. Even in an economy that tilts the balance toward employers, producers are in the drivers seat due to supply and demand. Here are some steps to make finding that perfect person a reality.
1 BE SPECIFIC ABOUT EXPECTATIONS
Think about what you want and then, think about what you need. Everybody wants a young Spielberg, but be reasonable. You might have to walk down your original specifics, especially if the producer slot opening will have a station-wide impact. Be specific and upfront. The candidates read job descriptions closely. An accurate picture of what you need will attract people who can do the job you describe.
“Target your most pressing need,” advises WNCN Creative Services Director STEVE PATRICK. “Right off the bat, narrow your search to the candidates who can fill that need. Then hire the one with the best attitude. Attitude trumps all.”
Ask fellow promo people if they know of anyone available. Your buddy in Fresno might have heard about someone that would be ideal for your opening on the east coast. Email and then phone (yes, the phone). It would be great if the right candidate just showed up on your doorstep in response to ads, but take a more proactive stance. Producers are hard to find and a little work will pay off in the end.
3 SOCIAL NETWORK
LinkedIn is perhaps the best social network site for finding a pro. If you aren’t on LinkedIn yet, you’re missing out.
JEFF FUNK, Creative Director, Innovation and Imagination at WGNO and NOLA38 states, “In this stage of the game, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, it’s a red flag to me. Like life, everything evolves. The marriage of social media and traditional media is the perfect example. LinkedIn is not only the largest electronic rolodex online, but also a valuable source of opportunity and creativity. Active participation in sites like LinkedIn and Slideshare not only highlights one’s ability to network on different levels regardless of industry, but it showcases one’s ability to actively push their own personal brands forward. There’s something to be said for engagers!”
4 PRODUCERS NETWORK
Producers know other producers. Ask your team if they can help. See NETWORK above.
5 LOOK INWARD
“Grow your own,” advises 602 Communications’ GREG DERKOWSKI, himself a former CSD who has found himself in need of creative talent. “When you have someone on staff who you know — their work ethic, attitude, ambition, attendance, curiosity to learn more and contribute more — and that person shows a sincere interest in getting in the promotion game and has a good foundation to build on, that may be the way to go. Plenty of stations are doing this. And it’s a great reward for employees and it speaks well of your company when you promote from within.”
Corporate matching funds might be available to train your nearly-perfect pick. Or offer to pick up the tab for outside classes.
6 OFFER A CONTRACT
“If you find someone good, and train them to be just the way you want, then don’t let them go anywhere. Sign them to a personal services contract so that all that time, training and mentoring doesn’t go across the street and work against you.”
7 SOMEONE ALREADY IN TRAINING
Media savvy students are everywhere. Check out the colleges, universities, art schools, and performing arts academies in the area. What can begin as an enthusiastic intern can turn into an amazing find.
8 THE HR CONNECTION
HR people are as busy as promo people, so don’t expect them to focus on your opening alone. Every ownership group has their own procedures, so work with HR to help move the process along. Suggest to them a simple software program generating an email thanking candidates for contacting you (which should be mandatory). Your IT guy can make it happen for you.
9 MAKE THE HIRING PROCESS PERSONAL
By and large, communication is not happening in the communication business when it comes to the hiring process. Producers, communicators at heart, feel rejected if their emails, submissions or phone calls aren’t acknowledged. Take a moment and, let’s reiterate, at the least, send a return email thanking them for sending their info. It doesn’t take much time and makes a world of difference to the candidates.
10 LOCK DOWN YOUR CHOICE FAST
Several CSD’s are still smarting from going through the hiring process and losing their choice at the last minute – the choice took another job. Don’t let things drag out. Clear the hurdles and make sure your paperwork is all done before you even run an ad.