As a pro staff director I field emails, messages and texts all day about people wanting to be on the HOOK 1 Crew or Team. I also get plenty of inquiries about how to get on a pro staff.When considering anyone for a position I do a few things. Hopefully knowing this upfront will help you in your future forays into the pro staff realm.
#1 Research. I Do It.
When a new name is recommended or the person directly comes to me, the first thing I do is research. I scour social media looking for you, what groups you are in, and get a feel for what your communication with the public is like. If every other post is political, you are probably not the person I am looking for. Most of us kayak fish to relax and escape the rat race by getting into nature and ripping some lips. Seeing posts about fishing, family moments, and pics taken outside really helps your cause. Well rounded individuals that are slow to anger and communicate with diplomacy and tact are in high demand and short supply.
Pro Tip: Facebook is a great tool when used properly to market yourself. It also ends a lot of chances for folks. Be careful.
#2 The Interview. Don't Blow It.
I like to talk to my candidates on the phone. It lets me get to know you better, gather an idea of how you communicate, and determine what makes you tick. I am going to ask you what and why. Why do you want to be on a pro staff? Why my particular company? What is the end game/goal? What are you able to bring to the table? What, why,who, how and so on. I am also going to ask about people you know that might vouch for you. References. If you name your mom or that one guy at the Krispy Kreme, it's not looking good for you. Plan for the interview. Know what you have to offer. If you can't sell me on you, a subject you know more about than anyone else, how are you going to sell the company you want to represent.
What I am really looking for is passion about the sport, passion to share the sport, and ultimately for you to be seen as the go to guy in your many circles as an expert. Does this mean you have all the answers? No. It does mean that you find the answer and relay it or you connect the guy to someone who has more expertise in that particular instance.
Pro Tip: If you ask what you get from me in the first two minutes, before you've even told me what you can offer the company, you probably just failed.
#3 Conflicts of Interest. Ask.
This is the most often missed one when people approach me. Do you have a conflict of interest. If you want to be on the team, that's great. If you can't wear the gear, show off the stickers and participate in the activities we want you to, it's not looking good for you. Do some prework. Ask very specific questions and give scenarios to your current sponsors/companies. If I put a HOOK 1 sticker on my kayak, will that be a problem? Asking these questions ahead of time will save you some awkward moments when I ask you. Go ahead and do the leg work. Act as if you have the gig already and approach your other companies. Technically you should already be doing this. When you join up with a company, ask questions about who they would prefer you not work with and limitations they may have about branding for other companies. Some will have an issue. Some will not.
Pro Tip: This is not a situation where forgiveness is better than permission. Ask first because word gets around among the community about who can follow guidelines and who won't. There are certain people who will not get an interview.
We'll talk more later about keeping the gig once you get it but for now, some prep work and self control can land you in a lot of the places you want to be.