Finding the Right People for Digital Agencies

ThinkstockPhotos-475855502 (1)When it comes to finding the person for the job, it’s a seller’s market. It’s especially challenging for digital agencies. There is no shortage of people who will come forward to say they can do the things you need. Plenty of candidates will present you with impressive resumes. They will also be equipped with the right terminology.

At first glance, they will appear to have the the right technical skills. They will claim to be familiar with analytics, hip to content creation, and savvy at social media. But after a while, you’ll discover that it is actually quite difficult to find the right talent. Your candidates may not be the experts they claimed to be.

Reasons for Poor Candidates

There are many reasons why candidates may not work out:

  • They may be new to the job market. They assume that they are quick studies for all things digital. After all, they have just graduated from college and have done well in school.
  • They may think they are better than they are. After all, they have worked on computers since they were young. They are familiar with most devices and skillful at using the latest apps. Besides, they’ve set up robust social media profiles.
  • They may be trying to be something they hope to be. Once behind their computer screens, many people may not be as savvy as they appeared to be in the interview.

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The Talent Gap

Hiring the wrong people can put digital agencies in a difficult situation. Depending on the nature of the agency, their clients may be expecting a great deal. They may expect help promoting their websites, integrate their business phone system with their IT structure, create stellar content and market social media campaigns.

An ill-equipped digital agency team can fumble with mobile marketing, mess up content marketing. And struggle with social media marketing and email marketing campaigns. Worse still, it can be hamstrung by marketing automation. And when it comes to SEO or digital advertising, they can’t keep up. Clients may complain about poorly executed tactics because the digital agency’s team has produced results difficult to measure as a return on investment.

Two Solutions

Here are two steps you can take to close the talent gap:

  1. Start Over

You may have to start the hiring process all over again if your candidates don’t have the right work ethic or an irrational sense of entitlement. And you may have to start again if they misrepresented their basic skills to get the job. But this time, you will be more informed about the entire process.

There are two approaches to hiring smarter:

The Traditional Approach

The traditional focuses on quality during recruitment. It may include things like:

  1. Hiring based on a set of criteria
  2. Using a systematic recruitment process.
  3. Writing a comprehensive, detailed job description.
  4. Issuing a statement about the years of experience required to fill the position.
  5. Making a distinction between B2C skills and B2B skills.
  6. Distinguishing between organic and paid marketing approaches.
  7. Having more than one interviewer.
  8. Asking the right person to handle the technical questions. Perhaps, an IT person rather than an HR person.
  9. Including a battery of predetermined questions.
  10. Adding open-ended questions to discover things that not revealed in the questionnaire.

The Social Approach

Lisa Falzone, the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, describes how she used the social approach: “A good recruiting strategy is like a good marketing strategy. A major part of it is getting your company name out there and creating visibility for yourself. I encourage my HR team — myself included — to grow their social networks as much as possible, and to post and share updates on our company.”

Revel’s top executives play an active role in the hiring process. During the interviews they describe their culture to see if candidates make a good fit.

  1. Regroup

Recognize that it may not be your candidates’ fault. You have to remember that many forms of digital marketing are new. Your candidate may just be a little behind the evolutionary curve. The skills they mastered are now obsolete.

Often training will be enough to bring people up to speed.

Here are five suggestions:

  1. Focus on rigorous analysis of the skills gap.
  2. Perform methodical training methods rather than just lectures.
  3. Maintain periodic training to keep pace with technological growth.
  4. Conduct reviews at least twice a year to see how things are going.

MORE: Branding with social media

Sara Stringer

Sara Stringer
Sara is a former medical and surgical assistant who now does freelance business consulting.

Sara Stringer

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