10 Minute Read...
Hiring for your agency can be scary, time consuming, and ultimately a big waste of time if you wind up with a deadbeat employee. Sometimes, it just feels like Google has all the talent. I mean how do they get that many intelligent people in one room anyways? Well everyone wants to work for them and they have an incredibly strenuous hiring process. So how do you mimic Google’s hiring process without scaring unsuspecting candidates off?
You narrow down the hiring process to 7 steps and you walk the candidates down the path. The truly skilled and dedicated candidates will move through the process with ease because they’ll be naturally suited for the job. The deadbeats will expose themselves early and often so you can nix them before you get in too deep.
It’s important to tailor every step of this process to suit your agency’s needs and personality. Let the true you shine through, it will be a breath of fresh air to stressed applicants looking for their next forever home…. I mean job! So follow the 7 steps below and you’ll be able to start building a team of trusted, competent, and driven employees.
Step 1: Backend Preparation
Before your agency can really be ready to hire someone there’s some backend preparation you must do on your part. This is essentially making sure you have all your ducks in a row and a clear plan for when candidates start applying.
Writing a comprehensive and honest job description is one way to help minimize employee turnover. We’ve all seen the job posting about ****ENTRY LEVEL MARKETING NEEDED***** when really they’re hiring someone to sell knives at the supermarket. Not exactly the dream career a young marketer had hoped for.
It’s also crucial to make the job description enticing. When we were hiring we mentioned that the work environment was a combination of Seinfeld and The Office. You wouldn’t believe how many people brought that up in interviews. Don’t be afraid to throw some personality into the job description, applicants will be drawn to it.
Assemble Hiring Team
If your agency has the available manpower it's best to make hiring a team effort. Getting people from different demographics, positions, and departments will bring a new perspective to the table. Pick people that will interact with the candidate every day, they’ll be the best judges to know if the candidate will really fit in. It’s best to keep this team relatively small, if it gets too large there will be too many opinions and you’ll never come to an agreement.
Step 2: Talent Scouting
Talent is out there, you just have to look in the right places. Think about where your perfect employee is looking for jobs and make sure your agency is there. Don’t be afraid to try new websites and look at new places, especially with the younger workforce moving in.
The internet will be your go-to place to find candidates, especially if you’re looking for younger employees. Indeed, Craigslist, Monster, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder are all great places to start. We’ve found the most success through Indeed but Glassdoor and LinkedIn are growing in popularity. When you head to the internet you never know what you’ll get and you’ll most likely end up with dozens of under-qualified applicants to sift through. That’s why it’s so important to follow all 7 steps of this hiring process, it will help weed out the bad options.
This is one option that agencies tend to overlook, but it has the potential to send you the absolute best candidates. Hiring fresh talent means they’re young, hungry, and malleable. You won’t have to waste time with someone trying to get them to forget their preconceived notions of how a business should operate. Instead, they’ll be a blank slate for you to work with. If you get in touch with the professors that teach relevant courses you can ask them if they have any students in their class that stand out. These are the honor roll, scholarship-type kids what will go above and beyond the call of duty to learn and succeed. Aka the people you want working for your agency!
(RELATED: Linkedin is a powerhouse for more than just hiring, it’s also a great way to find qualified leads for free.)
Step 3: Screening
Screening is an important step because it helps eliminate clearly unqualified candidates quickly. A growing agency needs creative and motivated people to help it grow, and there’s no time to waste! Following these two screening precautions will help you narrow down the candidate pool so you don’t waste time pursuing people who aren’t a good fit.
Social Media Background Check
Social media is growing if we like it or not. Checking candidates social media pages can give insight into who they really are. People who take their professional careers seriously should have accounts that reflect that. Of course, these candidates are still human so they won’t be perfect but it’s a great way to get a feel if someone will fit in with your company culture. Take everything you see here lightly though, people can lie on social media just like they can in an interview.
(RELATED: Agency culture is vital to your success. So make sure you hire people who share the same values as you.)
2-Minute Phone Call
I call this the “Do they have all their teeth?” phone call. This is not an hour long in-depth Q&A with the candidate, it's a short call to see if they have a pulse and can answer questions. The goal is to simply catch them off guard and ensure they can hold a conversation, nothing more. It’s best to ask one to three very simple questions. Candidates will not have prepared answers at this point so all the responses you get should be candid and genuine. We like to ask questions like “Why does this position interest you?” or “Why do you think you’re a good fit?” Relatively easy questions but questions that will shed some light.
Step 4: Preliminary Phone Interview
After screening candidates, you should have hopefully narrowed it down to 5-8 solid choices. This interview is the first serious step in the process. You’ll want to be more strategic from this point forward with the candidate, in the early stages of your agency a good employee can make or break you. Pick a time and date to chat with the candidate and set aside 30 minutes to an hour for them. During this time you’ll want to ask questions that make them think, catch them off guard, and help you get to know them better.
Step 5: Assessments
Assessments are a truly undervalued step in the hiring process. There’s no better way to figure out who a person is or how they act then by putting them through a test. Assessments can be done in the office on interview day, or they can be done prior to the interview. We prefer to have clients do these before coming into the interview. Their answers aren’t nearly as important as their response time and attitude. Do they respond to your emails right away? Is your agency a priority for them or are you just another job application?
The personality assessment will help make sure you have a well rounded agency. This is especially important if you’re hiring someone who is going to be working as part of a team. For your agency to really succeed it needs both the creative-dreamers and the detail-oriented organizers, putting potential candidates through a personality assessment can ensure you get a healthy mix. Take into account what position the candidate is applying for, certain personalities are natural leaders, others are better at following. This method has worked wonders for us and we attribute our fun office environment to it.
Putting the candidate through a skill set assessment will let you know how much, or how little, training they will require. Remember though, skills can be taught. Qualities like humor, work ethic, and attitude cannot be taught and will likely never change. So, if there are two prospects, one that prioritizes the skill set assessment and gets it back to you at the end of the day with a few mistake and one that turns in a perfect assessment four weeks later, then it’s clear who cares more. The first candidate would be a better choice!
Step 6: Face-to-Face
The classic part of the interview process that every candidate seems to dread the most. As an agency owner try to do everything in your power to make this experience as unordinary as possible. This likely isn’t your candidate’s first interview, so chances are they’ve practiced and rehearsed exactly what they’re going to say and how they’ll act. Try to break that mold so you can see the true person underneath because that’s who you’re really hiring.
Choose questions that align with the position they’re applying for and your agency’s goals. Steer clear of normal questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “What is your greatest weakness?” Because nobody’s greatest weakness is that they work too hard, care too much, or pay too much attention to detail. BS! When candidates think those questions are coming they’ll have some pre-canned answer to tell you what they think you want to hear. Instead, throw a curveball so they’re put on the spot and have to come up with an original answer. Scenario questions are great here, try asking something like, “What would you do if halfway through a major project you realized you made a mistake and had to go back to square one?” Nobody is prepared for that question!
We like to require candidates to prepare a sales presentation. This gives us an idea of how they perform under pressure, their preparation skills, and how serious they are about getting the position. They have around 10 minutes to sell themselves. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about how they’ll fit into your agency, and their answers will reveal if they did their homework or not.
Step 7: Offer
After the previous four steps you should have narrowed down the candidates and there should be a clear first and second choice. Call the top candidate and offer them a position as a 90-day intern/contract position to ensure they’re a good fit. After they accept (and only after you get a formal acceptance) should you call the other candidates back and tell them no.
As you can tell this 7 step hiring process is very in depth but that’s to ensure that you get the best talent available for your agency. Every step is in place to demonstrate your agency’s professionalism and weed out all the bad choices. It’s important to get this process in place in your agency as soon as possible because it will set the standard for all new employees. Once people have gone through the fairly rigorous process they’ll have a better understanding of who your agency is and they’ll know you mean business. Enjoy your new talent!