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Laurie Kahn

The Interviewing Process Has Changed


When I was a radio sales manager, I continually was called and asked for an interview from someone wanting to be in radio sales. When I saw someone I liked, I kept their file and touched base with them once in a while so that when I had an opportunity I knew who I was calling in to put through the hiring paces. I usually had quite a few candidates from which to choose.

After our first meeting, I would ask them to do a presentation on why they wanted to be in radio for our next meeting. They needed to convince me that I should hire them; rarely did someone not follow through.  Back then, being in radio sales was a cool and hip as we didn’t have the competition to hire that we do today.

For many stations now, finding people eager to enter radio sales is much more difficult. 
There are several reasons:
•           The workforce is changing dramatically: With the boomers retiring, there are less qualified people coming into the workforce. This is expected to last well into the 2020’s.
•           Workers between the ages of 35 and 44 will shrink by 7%. One-third of employers say that public school students don’t have the basic cognitive skills to succeed and the share of workers with college degrees could fall to 25.5% (source:. “Perfect Labor Storm”, Business2Business, Ira S. Wolfe).
•           Due to a smaller pool of quality talent, there is more competition to hire. Many recent grads are receiving lucrative offers for sales in other industries and have no desire to take a job that pays primarily on commission.
•           People that want to be in media have many more choices to make with more advertising platforms.

Radio hiring managers need to consider how effective their hiring process is at bringing in and hiring qualified candidates. Here are some questions to discuss with all involved in the hiring process:
•           Are we getting in candidates or not? If so, from where and if not, what can we do to bring in more? Do the skills sets of the candidates match our job profile? If not, what needs to be adjusted?
•           Of the candidates we are getting in, how many continue through the hiring process? What % drop out when we give them a hiring assignment?
•           What % of the candidates that make it to the offer stage, turn down the offer?

If you are happy with your answers, then congratulations, you may not yet see the challenges that many of your peers have been experiencing for the past few years. Stay tuned!

To be more effective in hiring, stations need to be aware of what they are up against and understand how to overcome the challenges. Keeping in mind that a qualified candidate WILL be in more demand, stations need to be better prepared to ‘court’ the candidates that they feel are a strong match for their team.

Some tips to help increase your hiring ratio:
•           Train managers to hire more effectively
•           Set a timeline for moving candidates through the system more quickly and let them know the process from the beginning
•           Confirm that all hiring managers know all of the reasons why someone should join your team – include benefits, training, growth potential
•           Offer an established and monitored training program
•           Don’t scare the candidates away in the beginning by asking them to jump through hoops before they even know if they want to work for your company

– THEY need to be sold on your opportunity first!
•           Pick out ‘dream’ candidates and spend time getting to know them. Take them to lunch sporadically; let them know of new products or changes at your

station. Let them know that you are interested in them and how much you want them on your team. Good chances are that they will eventually join you.

Having a strategic hiring plan, much like you do for going after targeted business is essential.

Laurie Kahn is Founder and President of Media Staffing Network and can be reached at 480-306-8930 or via e-mail at Visit the Media Staffing Website