Below, I've broken down the process into finding, interviewing, and retaining promotional staff.
There are various aspects of each segment that also work towards an effective hire, take your time and be sure you go through each to ensure every hire is of the highest calibre for your promotional needs.
Finding the Right, Qualified Promotional Staff
It's always advised that you have a list of staff that you can always refer to, this certainly speeds up the process of finding talent. However, it's far more beneficial to have an A-Team who has all the right experience, knowledge and qualities to be the go-to staff for jobs.
The A-Team will generally have the right certificates, training or [insert_requirement] which means that they
Job Requirements + Behaviour Traits
Pretty straightforward but for the less experienced in the industry it makes sense to have a centralised database of promotional staffing candidates.
It's important to consider the number of events you plan to run, if it's a one-off promotion then you probably don't need to keep that information and it's just a case of ensuring you put the right details and information into the job description to avoid wasted time and interviews.
Something to consider at this point is to set a behaviour trait or 'requirement' that will ensure the staff is aligned with the expectations of your event or company.
So instead of saying that 4 years of experience may be required, you should add that 4 years of experience in a high-energy, [insert industry] focused company which included regular interaction with industry experts, prospects etc.
Use Online Platforms
When it comes to traditional job portals it can get a little expensive to find the suitable promotional staff, it pays to stay within the realms of the promotional staffing industry and world wide web.
Promotional staff tend to be on the lookout for gigs, mostly because promo gigs are scattered and with various agencies and brands so you generally have a really good chance of having a number of candidates apply and they are good for the role.
Find LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups and similar forums where promotional staff are likely to be - this enables you to pre-qualify potential candidates in the knowledge that they are likely holding some sort of promotional experience.
Something to consider: We are aiming to create the biggest pool of freelancer promotional staff and brand ambassadors in the UK to help centralise the entire posting, sourcing and managing side of promotional staffing.
Find Trade or Specialist Schools
This method is suited towards the entry-level candidates for promo work, however, this is where the brand ambassador vs product specialist debate can start.
If you seek out trade or specialist schools that align with your product or promotion you are far more likely to find a product specialist for your event.
These individuals, thanks to the trade/specialist school, will likely have an understanding of your product, industry and customer desires through their own experiences - this scores big for promo staffing success!
Interviewing and Screening Potential Promotional Staff
Skills & Experience
Team player, good listener, [insert_skill_here] - all very common and all very generic, especially for choosing promotional staff.
Don't get me wrong, it's great that the candidates have the skills but what you really need to know is the how, why, where and when. It's crucial to ask for examples to proves the skills that they mention, without these clear examples you just have someone that adds in any keyword to get themselves into the room (for the digital marketers reading this....sounds like SEO, right?).
Give me a real-world example when you last used [insert_skill]?
To Keep Candidates
Simple. It's all about the pay. Promotional staff are able to wear multiple hats, adapt to your needs and deliver on the expected goals. So if you find someone that consistently delivers you need to ensure that they are getting paid right.
It might even be tempting to negotiate but in reality, cutting off a few ££ here or there will leave a little more in your pocket but what about the productivity of your campaign and team? This will be affected, especially if people don't want to be part of the team or campaign - with the promotional staff it's all about activity and being proactive, pay your team right and they will be a loyal, hard-working, goal smashing team.
Rewards and Incentives
Chances are your agency will represent multiple brands, products and go on various campaigns of which your promotional team will be working with all day.
Why not reward your team with free products or tickets? Whilst promo staff are professional, they are around cool brands all the time and there's no better advocate or ambassador of products/brands/campaigns than your own promo team who will eventually know the in's and out's of whatever it is your representing.
If you happen to have good relations with the brand you are representing it's always an idea to discuss any potential target based goals for your team. This helps motivate the team more than just doing X hours and getting Y pay. It adds some competition into the mix and again your promotional staffing team are great advocates to have.
Educate, Nurture and Provide Responsibility
Promotional staff are either in it for the long-term enjoying the flexibility and variety or they are in it during their studies, either way, there will always be individuals that seek to learn more, grow and ultimately have more responsibility.
As an agency owner or team leader, you should really, really consider creating a development program for promo staff. Not only will they see that you are investing in their future but they will also advocate you and the opportunities to friends and family - a growing list of motivated promo staff is always going to be positive.
The promotional staffing world is one that has many, many individuals that come and go but when you have individuals that work, thrive and want to develop you need to be able to provide them with the resources to grow.
That being said there also needs to be a quality flow of new additions to the crew pool, therefore you need to be spending time on recruiting practices, sharing the right message to the right people to ensure there's no crossed wires or missed stars.
All of the above are just a few pointers that I feel will help with developing and growing your promotional staffing team. Drop a reply in the comments if there's anything you would add!