The following post is the work of my friends Tim Rosa and Donna D’Ignazio, both long time working participants of the Renaissance Festival industry. We were discussing tips and tricks to hiring good help at festivals, and they shared with me their favorite hiring tool. I’ve included their Preamble … which kind of makes this a preamble to a preamble, but they don’t have an author box for the bottom of this post. I felt I needed to explain it a bit.
The following credo was written by (us) on a long trip from one show to another. Donna and I have been doing fairs, conventions, and Festivals for many years and these are some of the things we have learned.
We have each new prospective employee read it aloud.
If they don’t understand it, we can’t use them.
If they argue a point, we won’t use them.
We feel that this is a clear and concise set of guidelines to a fun job … but fun isn’t always easy!
Once read, we have them sign the document so that there are no misunderstandings, and no disappointments on either end.
To us these seem rudimentary.
We expect it from others and others should be able to expect it from us.
Disclaimer: These are the beliefs of Tim Rosa and Donna D’Ignazio. They are not necessarily those of Fellowship Foundry, Renaissance Pewter, or their affiliates.
Rules of Acquisition
1) Pretend to be cheerful until you believe it yourself.
2) Each and every patron deserves the VERY best that each of us can do for them. Smile and say hello to EVERYONE.
3) SELL THINGS!
a) Believe in the product.
b) Take ownership of the product.
c) Take ownership of the booth.
d) Never ONCE think you are in charge.
4) The four basic types of customers:
a) The small talk
These are the people who you talk to about the weather, are they enjoying themselves, that’s a beautiful baby, etc.
b) Those you absolutely leave alone
Let them come to you. (Don’t even try to make eye contact).
c) The hard sell
You know what they want more than they do. Hand it to them or put it around their neck and ask ‘cash or charge?’
d) The ones you f*ck with
These are the people who are intelligent, fun and funny and have probably been drinking. They will be insulted if you talk down to them. The trick to this is being aware. Be aware of the patron and your surroundings. ALWAYS!
Cursorily, study each patron. Look at their clothes, observe their behavior, their demeanor, but mostly, look at their eyes.
Decide which of the four types best fits them.
This is not an exact science.
The point of this is to make the patron feel comfortable and therefore willing and glad to make a purchase.
5) Fun — If the patron is having fun they don’t even realize they are shopping.
6) Appropriate Costuming
a) Women – May be risqué, but must be tasteful.
b) Men – Shirts must be worn. No cross-dressing.
c) Everyone – Hats, garlands, some form of headgear is mandatory.
d) Must adhere to all faire costume rules.
7) Work ethic
From the start of your work day until the end of your work day, you represent yourself, your co-workers, the booth and the faire. Your actions reflect upon all of these! Conduct yourself appropriately!
If you are camping on site, these rules apply ALWAYS!
You are not expected to be an expert at this from the start. You will have many opportunities to learn and grow. Please do not be discouraged. When you succeed, we all succeed. Many of these skills come from experience and you can learn from others’ mistakes and/or triumphs. Again, be aware. Have fun and help others to have fun.
There will be NO conflicts on the floor! PERIOD! Not between patrons, spouses, boy/girl friends, co-workers, and especially bosses!
If you have a difference of opinion, take it out back.
10) Push ‘em down and take their lunch money!!!!!!!
Your work day starts at:_________________________________
Your work day ends at:__________________________________
Your pay rate is:____________________________________________
Your employment starts:__________________________________
Breaks will be given every day during slow periods. You are responsible for your pass. Replacement passes are $100. There may be bonuses paid on performance and attitude.
Social Security #__________________________
I, __________________________________, have read and understand these terms and expectations, and will, to the best of my ability, perform these and greater things.
(Rhonni again here) Do you have favorite tools for getting the right employees for your team? Let us know about your favorites!