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7 Tips for Making Agency Hires

Recruitment can be one of the biggest headaches facing most agencies. Having high calibre people fronting your client relationships, or producing the work they pass your way is essential for an agency to grow, but with talent shortages existing in many core agency disciplines it can be a real challenge finding the right people.

We have seen Account Managers this year with upwards of ten offers of interviews within 48 hours of commencing their job searches, and others with job offers within 72 hours so it is clear the competition for such people is fierce. Therefore, to successfully attract the best agency talent, agencies need to ensure they are both competitive and well thought out in their approach to recruitment – here’s how:

1)      Job specification

With lots of opportunities to choose from, good candidates want to know exactly what your role entails to compare against other opportunities of a similar level. A detailed job specification which includes the clients the incumbent may work on, the type of campaigns involved with those clients and a list of their duties is a good place to start. Instead of just thinking we need an Account Manager paying X, think of this as the first opportunity to get potential applicants excited about your role and agency.

2)      Be realistic about what the right person looks like

Think long and hard about what you are looking for from this hire. What progression opportunities can you genuinely offer someone? Does the work require someone delivery-focussed or more strategic? How much time and resource can you afford to train and develop someone? Without considering these questions carefully it is very easy to make the mistake of hiring people who may become quickly frustrated by the lack of opportunities open to them, bored by the work involved or unable to step up to the role, potentially meaning you have to recruit the role again within a short space of time. Be realistic about what the right person looks like and you will be far more likely to secure the right long term hire.

3)      Plan areas of flexibility in advance

When a role is urgent, sometimes agency owners will need to be flexible in some areas of their requirement such as hiring a Senior Account Executive they can train, instead of an Account Manager. When planned, this can be very effective particularly when someone possesses the right personality and values for your agency. Mistakes can be made however when it is more of a knee-jerk reaction due to a lack of possible alternative candidates. Plan in advance where you can be flexible in terms of the type of experience or level of person you will consider and stick to it to increase your chances of making this hire the right one.

4)      Be prepared to move quickly – plan your process

With good Account Managers being snapped up within days, the need to move quickly when good talent becomes available is essential. Plan your assessment process in advance to enable you to react quickly – this will also ensure consistency in how you assess people, improving the likelihood of making the right hire. Consider also who they’ll meet. People buy people, so meeting the people they’ll sit with every day in addition to members of a management team can be a great way to gain buy-in from potential candidates.

5)      Consider part-time / job share schemes

Not everyone is looking for full-time work. There are some great, experienced people who for various reasons are looking for reduced hours or job share schemes. Consider whether your role could accommodate this to open up potentially untapped talent for your vacancy.

6)      Give time to your recruiter

Taking the time to talk through the role with your recruiter might seem like another hour in the day you’ll need to make up, but in the long term it can be invaluable. You meet your clients in order to fully immerse yourself in their business so that the work you do for them truly delivers. A good recruiter works the same way. Understanding your agency and your role in a high level of detail ensures a recruiter can find people that are right for the long term, not just the short term, and allows them to present your opportunity effectively to candidates who are potentially looking at several others.

7)      Benefits – be competitive

Increasingly good candidates are as interested in wider benefit packages as they are salaries. Regularly reviewing your benefits can be a very cost-effective way to make your agency attractive to prospective hires whilst also helping with staff retention. Flexible working patterns, the ability to buy/sell holidays and healthcare schemes can be particularly attractive at a relatively low cost. Additionally pension schemes will be mandatory for all agencies within the next few years – can you establish one now ahead of many of your competitors?

I hope you found this blog useful. For any questions on the above or if Forward Role can assist you with any current or forthcoming recruitment campaigns, contact me on 0161 914 8557 or email me at ian@forwardrolerecruitment.com