Automate Your Audition Scheduling

Not long ago, I began offering Venture Platform users a reservation function via our e-commerce platform that also serves as an ideal tool for arts orgs to use for automating much of the audition scheduling process (including notifications, confirmations, and even changes). Even though it’s designed as an e-commerce function, it can be used in a non-transactional way or even gathering payment info but not processing a charge, which is handy for a group to shed itself of old-school deposit check practices.

Adaptistration People 155Converting to an online system that allows audition candidates to automatically reserve everything from a specific day/time to one of several available slots within a prescribed range not to mention handling after-the-fact changes is something I’ve pitched to orchestras for more than a decade but it never ceases to amaze at how much resistance there is to the idea.

Nonetheless, other performing arts sectors, such as opera and theater organizations, embraced the idea a number of years ago and why orchestras would rather spend 12 hours doing something that would otherwise consume one is a mystery.

Although each orchestra’s process may have unique elements, most follow this multi-month procedure:

  • Applicants send required material for review.
  • Operations department correlates and prepares material for review by audition committee.
  • Audition committee selects applicants to invite.
  • Operations department contacts selected applicants with audition details and steps to confirm; they may or may not assign an audition day at this stage.
  • Applicants electing to attend remit an actual paper check to serve as a deposit and will be returned if they show up at the audition. This is where most experienced audition candidates submit requests for specific day/times.
  • Operations department processes and secures paper check deposits and begin assigning candidates to available slots per the audition schedule; special requests may or may not be honored.
  • Candidates are notified of assigned day/time.
  • Wackiness ensues within the operations department in the wake of a steady stream of scheduling change requests.

Even once they’ve been notified, it isn’t unusual for candidates to wait several weeks before receiving a firm confirmation on which day/time they’ve been assigned. The entire ordeal might be considered charming, not unlike telegrams and pneumatic tubes, if it weren’t so profoundly frustrating and wasteful.

Notwithstanding traditional reticence, I’m curious to know what readers think; does this seem like an efficient process that benefits both the institution and the audition candidate? Can you think of any reasons why you wouldn’t support moving as many of these steps toward an automated online process? Take a moment to leave a comment, start a Facebook conversation, or send a tweet to @Adaptistration.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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