Written By Brian Buonassissi, Managing Partner of B-Boy Productions, Inc.
The single most important job I have on the management side of the business is making the right hires. There are other things that matter but the business is driven by the people in it and believe it or not, talent of the individual is not the first thing I look for. Here are 3 things I look for in our entertainers and why it should matter to our clients.
#1: Are they customer service minded?
This is the first thing I assess in a potential hire. Artists/Entertainers generally get a bad rap for being selfish and having a diva-like personality and there’s a fair amount of truth to that. However, the private event world is the epitome of the customer service business. We look for people who are willing to go the extra mile for our clients – whether that means getting to the venue earlier than required or staying at the event later if needed, adjusting to last minute changes or looking for the little things to add to the event that will make the day special. If they don’t cut it here, there’s no need to go to #2 or #3. How do we qualify this in an individual? I look for a few things.
*Have they been in the service industry sector before (i.e. bartender, server, hospitality, banker, lawn care, commission based sales, etc.)? Folks who have worked in those industries know that their income and job security depend on the relationships they make with their clients/customers. Those that succeed are usually outgoing, personable, and generally well-liked. This translates well to being a private event entertainer.
*Do they participate in any volunteer work and/or community service on a regular basis? This could include serving at their religious institution, animal rescue, nursing home, mentoring, tutoring, etc. This area is also critical. Giving of your time and talents says so much about an individual. It means they put others above themselves in a very visible way. It also shows me that they are good with time management because this is usually above and beyond their normal day to day schedule. Lastly, it shows me that they possess passion. That is hard to fake because if it’s not genuine, it won’t be sustainable.
*How do they handle pressure? It is a running joke amongst our staff that one of my “Brian-isms” I say often is, “Expect the unexpected,” when they are on a job. At an event, it can run the gamut – weather problems, venue issues, gear glitches, etc. – so it’s imperative that the entertainer (who is typically the face of the event) is somebody who is calm, collected and can navigate through these hurdles. I always ask in an interview process, “Has there been a time where things have not gone your way? How have you handled that? Is that a comfortable place for you?”
#2: How do they present themselves?
At first glance, this may sound rather vain and you may be thinking, “You mean, you select your hires based on their looks?” Whether we want to admit it or not, looks matter – especially in the private event world. Professional photographers are constantly snapping photos at private events, some clients may hire videographers and this potential entertainer could end up on a client’s video for years to come. So yes, looks matter. But that only tells part of the story. When I interview someone who is well put together, it means that they took some time with their appearance. I’m not expecting Armani suits or salon-esque hair styling (although that wouldn’t be a bad thing), but how they look does convey to me whether or not they care. Also, these people are usually in shape. Staying in shape takes intentional time carved out of their day to exercise at the gym and eat right. It gives me more confirmation of their ability to manage their time which, again, is crucial to being an entertainer for our company. I also look to their social networking posts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc.). How are they communicating on a daily basis? Are they generally a positive person or constantly irritable and complaining? A lot of written correspondence occurs between our clients and entertainers so it’s important that I can see what their natural, everyday writing ability is like. Lastly, I listen to their speech during an interview. How do they phrase their answers? Public speaking is at least 50% of our job as an entertainer and while this can and is taught to all of our entertainers, the learning curve can be minimal if they are able to articulate themselves verbally in a concise, professional manner.
#3: Would you pay a cover to watch them perform?
When it comes to live musicians, this is very easy to quantify. I’m looking for something unique and special about the entertainer. We have never settled in this arena for the “status quo” private event musician. Everybody on our roster is extremely talented and the type of act you’d pay to watch. When it comes to our DJs/MCs, it’s a little different because we train them from the ground up in most cases. It’s more about seeing the potential in someone much like a team talent scout would do in evaluating an athlete. As I’ve gotten older and done this more often, I tend to pick the right ones and rarely miss. When we send the DJ/MC out completely trained (which for us takes a full year to do), our clients will feel like their money was well spent and that’s important to us.
Through this post, I hope you’ve gotten a little glimpse into what goes into our hiring process. It isn’t about making the quick dollar for us. We have an extremely rigid vetting process when it comes to hires and those that we bring on, are generally with us a long time. You can be assured you’re in good hands with a B-Boy Productions, Inc. entertainer. We currently still have availability for 2013 so contact us today to book an entertainer for your event. For a complete list of our staff, go here.