Today we are chatting with our resident staffing expert Patrick Meehan!
“ I am an account coordinator who manages field staff for OutCold’s experiential programs. The name of the game is finding the best talent possible to represent our clients and their brands. An event is only as good as the people out on the front lines working it, so it is essential to get the right staff in place. It takes a certain person to work as a brand ambassador or a field representative and every program is different, which is what makes it both challenging and exciting.” - Patrick
We know that our client’s events can only be as successful as the ambassadors sharing their message, and we pride ourselves in finding the best there is! Read on to hear what we look for (and what we avoid) when we hire event staffers.
What are the first steps you take before you do an outreach for staff?
We work with the client to identify their goals and ultimately what they want out of the program. Some clients may have specific direction on who they want for staff. Other times, it is up to us to determine what kind of staff member emulates the brands personality best.
What sticks out on a resume when searching for field staff?
One thing that we look for is someone who has field marketing experience across various different industries. A great field representative is able to relate to a variety of brands and can adapt to represent them authentically.
What characteristics does an OC Staff member need/possess?
The best staff all share the following characteristics: Flexible, down to earth, approachable, communicative and scrappy. You have to be able to think on your feet and problem solve. High maintenance staff members never work out.
How do you train/enhance new OC staff?
We are always pushing our staff members to take a look at the bigger picture and the goals of the event or program. We believe there is more to working an event than passing out samples and then going home and receiving a pay check. We push them to think of ways to improve the experience, since they are the ones on the ground floor working. We value their feedback and put our trust in them to help us improve the program. We teach our staff how to evaluate different types of interactions. We walk them through what kind of event photographs our clients want to see. We ask them to take notes on consumer quotes and what people are saying about the product or brand. We push our staff members to buy into the program and know the value they have in making each program successful.
What kind of questions do you ask potential staff?
I run the interview like an easy-going conversation because we need our staff members to be able to do the same while representing our clients’ brands. I try to get to know who they are and what they are all about. I ask them about how their day is going and what they have been up to. You really get to know someone by asking simple questions. After getting to know them we dive a little deeper into their experiences out in the field. If the interview feels forced or uncomfortable on either end, it’s probably not going to work out.
How do you retain great staff members you work with?
The moment you start treating staff as just a number is when you start to lose quality people. There has to be a human element to staffing and I believe OutCold does a phenomenal job of that. We listen to them and treat them as members of the team. We continuously have great people come back to us wanting to work on our programs time and time again. You have to do the little things right to make staff feel appreciated.
What is your favorite question to ask when interviewing potential staffers?
What is your favorite city to visit in the states as well as overseas?
I love hearing people talk about their experiences while traveling. Their real personalities tend to come out. People love talking about experiences that shape themselves or their family.
What makes OutCold different from a regular staffing agency?
We are a staffing agency who cares. We don’t just hire staff and send them on their way. We have run many experiential programs and have worked with many field marketing employees. We know what works and we know what does not. We coach our staff members all the way through a program. We’re always pushing them to think critically about ways to improve the program or event and we push them to buy into the goals of the program so they understand the bigger picture. I always like to ask the staff, “Okay, what are we really doing here?” We’re not just trying to hand out as many samples as possible. We are promoting a new product and educating consumers on what is new about this product and how the brand has improved it from the last. We teach them to communicate brand language and beliefs to help consumers really connect. We take staff training one step further than just putting staff in place. We understand experiential because it’s what we do and staffing is a huge part of the equation. You cannot do one without the other.