“A little party never killed nobody.” – Fergie
What do you do when your industry has fallen a bit out of favor with young job-seekers, especially during an era of virtually full employment?
Simple. You throw a party.
Actually, they're being called “hiring parties,” and these get-togethers are the latest tactic from the retail community, designed to generate viable and numerous job applicants.
As Tom Ryan reports in Retail Wire, brands like Taco Bell have adopted the “party strategy” in an effort to reach their aggressive hiring goal:
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100,000 new employees in the next 2 years.
The fast food restaurant that brought us the slogan “Live Mas” is now staging social gatherings to drum up interest in working at their drive-thru eateries. As more and more focus has moved to online businesses, retailers like Taco Bell are going down the party trail in an effort to maintain and grow their brands.
QSR magazine's Danny Klein says Taco Bell's “hiring parties” include free food, on-site interviews, and if there's an actual hire, gift-card signing bonuses. And they appear to be working. Between online and on-site job applications, four recent events in Indiana attracted interest from nearly 400 would-be job candidates.
And Taco Bell is not alone. A drive-thru coffee chain, Dutch Bros., is going down the same route, as is cosmetics retailer Lush. The “party strategy” could become a trend among retailers, so why not try a similar approach in other businesses?
“Ain't no party like a Detroit party.” – Kid Rock
An industry that always seems to be struggling to hire good salespeople – or any salespeople – is radio. I once worked for a company that demanded each station hire a minimum of 10 salespeople per brand. In a cluster of a half dozen stations, that's a lot of sellers. I was making a market visit one day and couldn't help but notice the DOS was exhausted. When I asked if he was doing OK, he explained that he and his GSMs had been reduced to becoming job recruiters – hunting for prospects, interviewing them, qualifying them, reference checking, and of course, training. And despite his efforts, it was a losing process, as bad hires always outnumbered the good ones.
Maybe the party route wouldn't be a bad way for radio to go, a novel way to remind job candidates that radio stations are still fun places to work. And given that radios are disappearing in households, let's not take for granted that job hunters are even radio listeners. A station party gives applicants a chance to not just meet the management team in a casual atmosphere, but to also visit the studios and the other nooks and crannies that make radio stations fascinating places in which to work.
Just as innovation is necessary for the programming and digital departments inside radio stations, new thinking, strategies, tactics, and yes, even smart gimmickry is now mandatory to help improve radio companies' sales and marketing efforts. Not every radio station is struggling to make their ratings goals. But nearly all of them are angsting out over their sales performance.
Parties may not be the place where serious decisions are typically made. But they are often the conduit for networking, socializing, and learning a lot about people you've never met. For broadcast radio, they sure couldn't hurt.
And most stations can probably figure out a way to trade out the food.
“You gotta fight for your right to party.” – Beastie Boys
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Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.