Hey there! Yours truly just sent a blog post to a Chief Talent Officer that was helpful to them. But jammed with content that seemed a little off-topic. Yet still relevant to any ad agency recruiter looking to make a change or two in how they identify and recruit top agency talent, regardless of discipline.
So here are those quick ideas that work for small agencies and bigger ones, along with a sample or two that could help your agency’s recruiting.
Optimize what’s worked in the past (and tweak or abandon what hasn’t)
One of the first things we do when working with a new agency is understand the full cycle of past recruiting efforts. From where did we source our options? What platforms work for us? Who’s involved at the agency? What’s the process look like? What do our descriptions look like? How do we evaluate candidates? What’s the story we tell? How do we onboard staff? What impact does location have?
With one agency, we took a look at the agency’s top performers’ careers to write a sharper, more effective recruiting plan. Identifying some common traits between the A players and potential candidates both increased the number of good options and ensured a tighter cultural fit moving forward.
Leverage your agency’s positioning in candidate conversations
One agency with whom I work has a particularly smart way of talking about their expertise. It not only attracts and helps win new business, but also interests job candidates. Because new business growth suggests more and bigger career opportunities for them. So this positioning comes up in candidate conversations. Candidates have a good understanding of the agency’s expertise and what it can do for their career – an easier path to promotion; exposure to more categories; and the chance to work on name brands.
Use simple tech to collect interview feedback and facilitate hiring decisions
For years, I’ve used Google Forms to quickly gather team feedback on candidate interviews. Without much work, Google can summarize input, giving you quantitative and qualitative data on any given candidate that can be shared with hiring managers.
Customize candidate interactions
There’s a lot of “save as” in HR and recruiting. Offer letters, for instance, are generally templates. (And for good reason.) But candidate interaction – particularly initial outreach – should be customized. Know your target. Why are you contacting this particular professional? And what do you know about them that can impact your pitch content and context to them? How does your agency’s marketing influence your initial outreach? Adding a touch of your agency location’s benefits can also help demonstrate your agency’s interest in work/life balance.
Codify how your agency describes its culture and values
What are the key words people use to describe what it’s like to work at your shop? Making sure hiring managers and interview teams have a shared language about the agency in and of itself communicates team alignment and purpose.
Live the agency’s culture and values in recruiting and people-related agency policies
Live your brand! One of the things I noticed when working with one agency was that their Employee Handbook was a pleasure to read. Usually these documents are boring and full of legalese and corporate-speak. I found pretty big bits of humanity in the handbook, which turns into a great proof point this is an agency that cares. There are just a few places you might be able to weave in your agency’s culture:
- job descriptions
- agency’s Linkedin page (and other platforms)
- new staffer / existing staffer social media shout-outs
- agency CANDIDATE credentials (think new business credentials)
- relationship valentines
- internal agency communication
- agency supplier partner communication & management
- on-boarding & exit interviews
- HR-related press pitches
- and more
Give recruiting the attention it deserves
(Particularly if you’re at a small shop.) Granted, this is a little self serving. Wrote the man with a mortgage. But make recruiting someone’s job that isn’t already too billable or busy doing too many other things. How can you recruit talent if you don’t spend any time doing it?
The best candidates don’t respond to a Linkedin posting. Over the years, I’ve found it’s a combination of on-brand, one-to-one and one-to-many ideas that surface the best candidates. If only you knew an agency recruiter that you could bolt on to your shop. Wait a minute…!
Anywho, hope these little tweaks give you some things to think about.