The average band has the need to source at least one new player every year. If you haven’t been networking all along, this process might sneak up on you, and chances are you’ll revert to the simplest, cheapest route for recruiting new talent – good old Craig’s List. Back in the day, MusicMates.com and BandMix.com were the quick, default methods but CL definitely has a bigger selection and typically faster results. Just remember – you get what you paid for.
If done properly, CL can be a very effective way to recruit. But for a variety of reasons, most musicians don’t seem to grasp the fundamentals. These are: prequalifying, requalifying, auditioning and following up. These concepts are so commonly misunderstood that it’s worth revisiting them annually. So here we go…
Prequalifying the masses
This is the single biggest time-saving step you can take when posting a CL Ad. When you prequalify, you are doing all parties involved a big favor. You are expressing your needs, your goals, and your abilities, and you are getting it all out there right away so other players can quickly determine if this is the right situation for them.
You want them to figure that out easily. Think of how much time is wasted with back and forth emails, texts and phone calls due to vague and uninformative ads. Or how silly it is to have the “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine” mentality. So here are the basic, minimum items you will want to include in your initial ad:
Many bands are tempted to skip posting recording/video links. But that is the most honest way to convey your abilities and where you are at as a band, and demonstrate your cahonas. Get it out there. Some other things you might want to mention in an initial ad:
Requalifying (or cutting through the BS)
Once you start receiving inquiries from your ad, you are going to want to vet the prospects in a timely and thorough manner. If you do nothing else, please do the CL community a favor and REPLY to all inquiries. It’s simply polite and it’s also another way prospective musicians will prequalify you; if you are too flaky to acknowledge an email, text or phone call you are probably not going to be the most reliable bandmate.
Requalifying means getting a better sense if prospects are appropriate for your band…before bothering with any auditions. Before you call them, make sure you have a pen and notepad handy, and a few questions prepared – you will learn a lot in that first phone call, guaranteed.
Here are some strong red flags:
Assuming you’ve found a few good candidates, auditioning and following up are the next two steps. We’ll look more closely at those in March…