Hiring For Agency Talent

If you are any type of agency, hiring isn’t always the easiest thing.
This can be said for a marketing agency, a public relations firm, a media agency, or an ad tech company.
Agencies or agency type companies where business is driven by customers and client customers sometimes struggle with hiring.
Also, agencies where clients are providing some type of creative and/or marketing service, or technology to customers and clients.


Many agencies try to hire people without agency experience and tend to have a low success rate.
Agency life tends to have a very certain type of flavor you could say that many people don’t like.
Agency life tends to be fast paced, high pressure, long hours and often more disorganized than working on the client side.
Sometimes people don’t like to work on a variety of clients and brands rather than being in house focusing on one brand.
Many of these seeming drawbacks are actually the things that attract many people to agencies.
If you’re an agency who’s hiring it’s usually a good idea to hire someone with previous agency experience.
There are other reasons to hire someone with agency experience, but the cultural fit and ability to be long term are of key importance.


You may think you know who all of your competitors are, but you want to keep an open mind here.
There may be up to hundreds of other types of businesses out there that would be good places for you to poach from.
Your best bet is going to be recruit somebody from a competing agency who is already working in the job and in the seat.
This is where you’re going to find the best talent.
The people you’re looking for aren’t necessarily the ones coming to your website or your LinkedIn page applying for jobs.
First you’re going to need to spend some time in one way or another to make sure you do the right kind of research.


You may also have competitors that you know don’t do good work and that would not be good to recruit from.
It is equally as important to know which companies not to poach people from as it is to know who to recruit from.
Once you have a good hit list for yourself then you’ll have some direction about what next steps to take.
You’ll want to make sure you have a productive and effective proactive headhunting strategy.
You may want a recruiting team in house who can dedicate resources to of high volume of qualified candidates.
You may need to hire a recruiting firm who can put in the work and get the opportunity out to the right amount of quality people.


Something to keep in mind is that titles across agencies can often vary greatly.
An Account Services title at one agency may be an Account Director or Account Supervisor or Client Services at another.
Another agency may have Project Manager titles who are not only involved in client relationships, but also with campaign management.
It’s important to understand that the title you are searching for could have a different title coming from a different agency.
Keep an open mind when looking at resumes and don’t write people off just because you think they have the wrong title.
This is an easy way to miss out on good talent because you may be too narrow minded with the positions and titles that you’re looking for.


Another important aspect is for roles that involve client interactions, pitching for presenting or certain technical requirements.
You want to find a way to have part of your interview process include some way to test people’s soft or hard skills.
It may be some kind of project, case study or presentation that you have them do on a specific topic.
This allows them to demonstrate their skills and for you to see their ability to perform the day-to-day of whatever their job may be.
This avoids having someone tell you they can do something only to find they were able to talk a good talk, but not walk the walk.
This happens way too often, especially with sales rolls.
As sales people are very good at selling their skills and over selling their accomplishments.
You need a way to actually test that or to prove that before you pull the trigger hiring them.
This is the same for anybody who will be managing campaigns, projects or putting together creative briefs.
If they are going to be doing any content writing, interacting with clients or giving presentations you want to test their skills.
A simple task is another way to weed out people who are serious and get a glimpse of how someone will be working in the seat.


Salary can be a tricky thing in the agency world as salaries do vary from agency to agency.
This includes total compensation structure like benefits, bonus, equity, etc.
Equity is not very common in the agency world, but some types of bonus usually are.
You likely want to include some kind of bonus structure in your compensation package so that you can stay competitive with other companies.
Benefits programs also go a long way.
Having a strong benefits program is mostly expected now a days.
It’s going to be difficult to attract candidates if your benefits package is not up to speed from an industry standard perspective.
A little bit of research into what other agencies are giving will go along way.
This information is often found on many companies career pages.
We recommend that you have your benefits on your career page as well.
This way candidates who are checking you out can see what your culture is like and what kind of benefits you offer.


It’s important to never come in lowballing a candidate, especially if they’re already working somewhere.
If you’re going to poach people from your competition you have to make it worthwhile.
Leaving a job is risky!
For people to actually make a move it typically has to be a good move for their career as well as a smart monetary decision.
You want to get salary expectations up front so you at least know you’re in the ballpark.


Hiring as an agency can be tricky and we recommend sticking to hiring only other people with agency experience.
Use some of the tips and tricks in this article to give yourself a competitive advantage to steal some good people from your competition.

Here are some more great tips for recruiting the right talent: https://bit.ly/2fIinLn