Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Interviewing for Jobs, Label Deals, or Sponsorships: It All Applies!

Yesterday I read this great article for musicians on getting sponsors for their music, and it suggests developing certain points before seeking out a sponsor.  Many of those points are ones I spend time training my artists to develop during our interview coaching sessions because I know that, not only are they going to have to articulate those points in a media interview or a meeting with a potential label or publisher, but they will also have to when it comes time to secure sponsorships.  In addition, the advice the author Simon Tam shares in this article is also applicable to not just artists seeking sponsorships, but also job candidates seeking employment with a particular company.  Let's look at how these parallel:

The first point Tam addresses is being able to explain "Why you?"  This is another form of the question, "What makes you unique?"  Every artist has to determine his or her unique differentiators from thousands of other aspiring artists and then be able to articulate them, which is what I'll be teaching at this year's NSAI SongPosium in the "Who Is (Insert Your Name Here)?" session.  Similarly, every job seeker has to be able to explain what makes them different from all the other job applicants for that particular position (that's why employers love to ask in the job interview, "Why should we hire YOU?").  I am fortunate to get to work with both recording artists in helping them prepare for various meetings that will advance their career and with people preparing for job interviews in other industries.  The same principles apply!

The second point Tam addresses is "Why them?"  Not only do you have to know yourself well enough to answer "Why you?", but you also have to have done your research on the other party to know if they are the right fit for you.  This is not just true about selecting potential sponsors, but also when faced with a deal from a label or a job offer from a company.  My book Advance Your Image addresses the fact that you need to do your research on the label or the company and ask questions of your own in your meeting to gather the information you need in order to make the right decision (you'll find sample questions you should ask in the Appendix of the book).  Many young, green artists who have received attention from a label get very excited and "trigger happy" when they know a label is interested in them, but they should try to gather as much info as possible and seek legal counsel from an entertainment lawyer before ever signing anything to make sure they are making the right decision for their career in the long run.  Job seekers should also do the necessary research and ask the necessary questions in order to make informed decisions.

And finally, Tam addresses the importance of knowing how the sponsorship deal will benefit both parties.  That is, knowing what you can contribute and give back to the sponsor and also what they can provide you in addition to just money.  Artists should find out from a potential label all the ways they provide support for their new acts on their roster.  Job seekers should not only look at salary but also the kind of benefits they will receive and consider the monetary value of those benefits when making a decision on an offer. 

Whether you are a recording artist seeking a label deal or sponsorship, or you are a professional in any other industry seeking employment, Tam's tips are ones not to be ignored!

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