Best resources for recruiting smart people?
April 27, 2010 7:27 AM   Subscribe

What are the best forums for recruiting a specific type of prospective employee*?

I co-own a wedding DJ company and have found the best people on our team are the ones we've trained from the ground up, with little to no prior experience. We have an outstanding orientation program for just this purpose, and we offer what we believe is a fantastic opportunity. However, we've had a tough time "advertising" ourselves to the kind of people we're seeking.

The DJ job itself works for a wide variety of situations -- we've currently got some career 9-to-5'ers (as the DJ thing is done evenings and weekends), some grad/medical school students, and some creative types who write, compose or do art during the day and DJ on the side. Some of our people are single, others are married with kids. The only real commonality among our team members is that they're all extremely smart, articulate, good communicators, good problem solvers, and like music and people. They've also proven themselves reliable (and sign a two-year contract with us). In return, they generally earn $25-50K annually for about 5-10 hours of work a week.

Does anyone have any good ideas on how we could try to recruit more people who might be a good fit? Careerbuilder and similar sites seem a little pointless, since most smart, stable people would probably be looking for FT jobs in their chosen field and wouldn't think to search for anything pertaining to DJing. My experience with Craigslist is that it's kind of a waste of time -- dozens, if not hundreds, of inquiries from people who aren't even close to being right for the position. I've thought about college bulletin boards but I'd really want to stick to graduate level students (more because of the age factor; we're selling very high-end wedding DJs to people in their late 20s and up, and young college kids don't work for this purpose). Our best source so far has been recruiting friends/coworkers of our current team members, but that well has run dry. (If it makes a difference, we're in the Washington, DC area.)

Thanks for any suggestions!

* FWIW, our performers aren't technically employees, they're independent subcontractors, but I just put "employee" in the question for simplicity's sake.
posted by justonegirl to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is going to seem odd, but when I think of people I know who fits your description of the proper personality, what comes to mind is all the people who were AutoCAD operators at a civil engineering company I used to work for. And one of them was, in fact, a wedding DJ on the side.

I know it seems strange, but I can think of about 6 people there who could do the job well. (And I'm saying this as someone who's worked with and/or dated a lot of full time, professional DJ's.) So maybe you could figure out how to tap into those people in your area somehow.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:36 AM on April 27, 2010

Many academic departments have a graduate listserv that regularly forwards relevant part-time job offers, event announcements, etc., to all the grad students in the department. I'm not sure if the admins in completely unrelated fields would be up for forwarding your DJing job posting to their astrophysics students or whatever, but you could certainly try music or performing arts departments at local universities.
posted by Bardolph at 7:43 AM on April 27, 2010

I would definitely contact the Career Center for your local colleges. They can target grad students for you.
posted by amethysts at 7:55 AM on April 27, 2010

Hey, I'm extremely smart, articulate, a good communicator, a good problem solver, I like music and people, and I'm in the DC area. Where do I sign up? :)

More seriously, given that you are looking for people that probably haven't considered being a wedding DJ, I think personal contact is going to be your best bet. Get out to where you'll find smart, articulate people congregating in DC and start networking. The DC Technology Tuesday happy hour each month comes to mind, as does any of the various networking events put on by local Chambers of Commerce. I know the Dulles Chamber has a breakfast event this coming Friday morning.
posted by COD at 8:34 AM on April 27, 2010

Perhaps a bit longer term strategy, but have you considered teaching a class (or classes) based on your orientation program? Depending on the length of the sessions, you would be able to gauge the raw talent levels of the students, steepness of their learning curves, and personalities. For the best students in the class, you could approach them and offer to take them on as employees.

W/regards to finding your applications (aka. marketing) you could go through some of the same mechanisms previous posters listed (graduate schools, colleges and others). Additionally, you could try and get your class listed in the various park and rec class guides for DC and the surrounding counties.

W/regards to messaging ... i'm not sure what message would attract the right audience. For example my guess is that different audiences would be receptive to a "Learn to DJ," or "Become a wedding DJ." But this is where your employees would be of great use, find the messages that resonate with your employees and you'll find the like minded folk. BTW, don't be surprised if your messages spit across life-stage and income level.

W/regards to pricing.... The cost will probably drive the type of applicant you end up with. At a low price, my guess is that you'll load up on chuffers who are gadding about for a laugh, at higher price points you'll improve the seriousness of the students (but then again the students would also start to insist more from your instructors).
posted by cheez-it at 9:06 AM on April 27, 2010

"...more because of the age factor... young college kids don't work for this purpose."

Not to jump down your throat or assume the particulars of employment law in your jurisdiction, but please do take care not to discriminate on the basis of age when hiring.

But I did come into this thread to recommend directly seeking grad students via career centres or particular grad departments (who can act as gateways to relevant listservs where appropriate).
posted by onshi at 9:51 AM on April 27, 2010

Offer a "finder's bonus" to your current employees and let them spread the word.
posted by susanvance at 1:09 PM on April 27, 2010

« Older Punk rock teenage parental angst, but I'm an adult...   |   how do I insert multiple photos into a blog post? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.