Artists in your community as employees in your company? No way.
Chris Ashworth thinks you should find a way to hire artists. He's right, but you're probably not ready for that in your talent pool, candidate sourcing or shortling recruiting system. It requires not thinking like an employer. It requires thinking like AN OWNER. And a small business owner at that.
Chris released a new version of his Mac product. He hired one guy and needed another. The target he had in mind was a power user named "Luckydave" already serving as an evangelist for his product:
"In March 2010, Luckydave had already been a QLab user for years. He is a working video designer in New York. A really goodone. But more than just a user, Luckydave had been a champion. And by “champion” I mean he sold our product harder than we did. Luckydave wrote posts to the QLab mailing lists that rivaled ours in their detail and helpfulness. Luckydave acted like it was his personal mission to convert the world’s theaters to QLab. Luckydave was known to announce that he’d “drunk the QLab koolaid”. Luckydave knew details about how video codecs work “in the field” in ways that we simply did not know. Because we were not in the field. Luckydave was, in short, awesome. And I, it will not surprise you one bit to know, wanted him on our team."
Luckydave was about to get an offer from Chris. But Chris knew that Luckydave was an artist (the product supports theaters) who valued workplace flexibility over all else. So the offer had to be special, so here's what Chris did:
"I offered Luckydave a job based on the needs of his life as an artist.
First, I told him we wanted him on the team. Then, I told him we would create the job based on what would work for both of us. We talked it out, and we constructed a position specifically for him, with these properties:
- He can sign up to “work support” in units as small as a single day, or as large as a full month.
- He only needs to tell me one day in advance if he’s working the next day.
- He can work the hours that fit his schedule for that day.
- When he is not working for Figure 53, he can do whatever the hell he wants. Including go make art. For a week. Or a month. Or whatever the gig requires.
We created this framework together, and then I asked LD what it would take to make this structure worth his time. He replied, “When I have been the least worried about money, I have been making X dollars a month.”
I could afford X dollars a month. I said yes. I wrote down the above terms, put them at the end of the legal-speak from the lawyers, we signed it, and it was done. This all happened at the end of March 2010."
Go read this post from Chris. It includes a section I didn't cite where Luckydave receives a real world offer from another company for a LOT more money after he starts working for Chris. Luckydave turns it down because he values the flexibility Chris provides him.
I know, I know. Hiring artists will never work for ANY POSITION at your company. You have needs. You need a consistent, 9-5 arrangement from your FTEs. Of course, one big issue is that you call them FTEs, which artists consider very corporate like and basically reject on site.
It would never work at your company.
Now think about the talent pool you're not tapping into in your area. What segment of your community has communication skills out the wazoo to wow your customers and make them think your culture is something special? What segment, you don't currently recruit, has more creativity in one candidate than your entire class of 2009?
The artists. If only you could provide some flexibility. If you've got practicing artists in your community, they'd like to keep chasing the dream, but they'd prefer not to live out of their car while they're doing that. If you could provide income and a flexible hours arrangement, they'd happily bring all the creativity, communication skills and cultural uniqueness they can muster to support your cause. All you have to do is support their cause. By employing them with flexibility.
Go read this article about Chris and Luckydave. Then set up a fact finding trip to your local theater organizations, symphonies, etc. Go meet the artists - they won't bite.