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10 Uncommon Ways Marketing Agencies Recruit Top Talent [w/Examples]

by | Jun 24, 2023

10 Uncommon Ways Marketing Agencies Recruit Top Talent [w/Examples]

by | Jun 24, 2023

In the fast-paced and competitive world of marketing, the success of an agency hinges upon the caliber of talent it attracts and retains. To thrive in an industry driven by innovation, creativity, and ever-evolving strategies, marketing agencies must assemble teams of exceptional individuals who possess the skills, expertise, and passion to push boundaries and deliver outstanding results. In this blog post, we delve into the critical importance of recruiting top talent for marketing agencies.

To recruit top talent, marketing agencies can employ several strategies and practices. Here are the top 10 actions agencies can take to attract and recruit exceptional talent:

10 Ways Agencies Can Recruit Top Talent (w/Examples of Each)


1. Publish An Employee Handbook AND a Culture Handbook — A culture handbook helps convey the specific components of your agency’s culture in a fun and inspiring manner, see agency culture handbook examples here. And employee handbook is more about setting expectations and structure. See examples of employee handbooks at Gorilla76 and 37Signals. This will give potential employees a real idea of the steps the agency has taken to structure the company and protect their culture.

2. Build a Strong Employer Brand: Create a compelling employer brand that showcases the agency’s values, culture, and opportunities for growth. Highlight success stories and positive experiences of current employees.

  • Create “Our Culture” Page: Agency XYZ creates a dedicated page on their website called “Our Culture” that showcases employee testimonials, behind-the-scenes videos, and blog posts about the agency’s values, team outings, and growth opportunities. They regularly update their social media channels with employee spotlights and success stories.
  • Create Culture Videos (Or even better, a video series): Agency MNO creates a series of engaging videos that showcase their agency’s culture, team dynamics, and collaborative work environment. They share these videos on their website, social media platforms, and at industry conferences to give potential candidates a glimpse into their unique company culture.
  • Work with Local Universities: Agency STU partners with local universities and colleges to host workshops and guest lectures on industry trends and best practices. They invite students to visit their office for a “Day in the Life” experience, providing them with an immersive understanding of the agency’s values and work environment.

3. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Provide attractive salary packages, performance-based bonuses, and comprehensive benefits packages that align with industry standards and reflect the value of top talent.

  • Market Research for Salary Bands and Compensation: Agency ABC conducts market research to ensure their salary packages and benefits are competitive. They also offer performance-based bonuses tied to individual and team achievements. Additionally, they provide benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, flexible work hours, and remote work options. Talk to Emily Meekins at WorkStrat about how to do this at your agency.
  • Flexible Benefits Packages: Agency RST offers a flexible benefits package that allows employees to customize their benefits based on their individual needs. Employees can choose from options such as additional vacation days, health and wellness stipends, or professional development allowances, giving them the flexibility to prioritize benefits that align with their personal preferences.

4. Develop an Engaging Company Culture: Foster a positive and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Emphasize teamwork, professional development, and work-life balance.

  • Promote That Your Agency Holds Consistent Team Building Activities: Agency DEF fosters an engaging company culture by organizing regular team-building activities, hackathons, and innovation workshops. They promote cross-department collaboration through open office spaces and encourage employees to share their ideas and suggestions through platforms like Slack or an internal suggestion box.
  • Start a “Party Planning Committee” or a “Culture Club”: Agency GHI establishes a “Culture Club” composed of representatives from different teams and departments. This club organizes regular events, such as team-building activities, happy hours, and volunteering opportunities, to foster cross-team collaboration and strengthen relationships among employees.
  • “Hackathon Day”: Agency JKL implements a “Hackathon Day” once a quarter where employees have the opportunity to work on innovative projects of their choosing. This day encourages creativity, collaboration, and out-of-the-box thinking, reinforcing the agency’s commitment to an engaging and dynamic work culture.

5. Provide Growth Opportunities: Demonstrate clear career paths and opportunities for professional growth within the agency. Offer training programs, mentorship, and ongoing learning initiatives to help employees enhance their skills.

  • Provide Professional Development Options: Agency PQR offers a clearly defined career progression path for employees. They provide opportunities for professional development through in-house training sessions, industry conferences, and online courses. They also assign mentors to junior team members and encourage employees to take on challenging projects to enhance their skills.
  • Mentorship Programs: Agency PQR implements a mentorship program where experienced team members are paired with junior employees. Mentors provide guidance, support, and career advice, helping junior members navigate their professional growth within the agency.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Agency DEF offers a tuition reimbursement program to encourage employees to pursue advanced degrees or professional certifications. This program covers a portion of the costs for relevant educational programs, enabling employees to enhance their skills while contributing to their career development.

6. Implement Effective Recruitment Channels: Utilize multiple recruitment channels such as job boards, social media platforms, professional networks, and industry events to reach a wide pool of potential candidates.

  • Use Multiple Job Board Channels: Agency LMN utilizes a multi-channel approach to reach potential candidates. They leverage popular job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and industry-specific platforms. They actively engage in social media recruitment campaigns, participate in relevant industry events, and maintain relationships with recruitment agencies and universities.
  • Host Consistent Webinars on Industry Topics : Agency UVW hosts webinars and online workshops that address key industry topics and challenges. They promote these events on social media platforms, industry forums, and email newsletters, attracting a diverse range of industry professionals who are interested in staying up-to-date with the latest trends.
  • Participate in Networking Events: Agency MNO actively engages in networking events and conferences specific to marketing and advertising. They sponsor or participate as speakers, panelists, or exhibitors, leveraging these platforms to connect with talented professionals and showcase their agency’s unique selling points.

7. Streamline the Hiring Process: Ensure a smooth and efficient hiring process that respects candidates’ time. Minimize delays and provide regular communication to keep candidates engaged and informed throughout the process.

  • Publish a Clear Hiring Process and Use Applicant Tracking System: Agency UVW ensures a smooth hiring process by setting clear timelines for each stage and providing prompt feedback to candidates. They use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage applications efficiently and provide regular updates to candidates, including clear instructions for each step of the process. Provide clear instructions and timelines for each stage of the hiring process, ensuring candidates are well-informed and engaged throughout their journey.
  • Use Screening Calls to Quickly Identify Top Candidates: Agency GHI conducts initial screening interviews via video calls to efficiently assess candidates’ qualifications and cultural fit before progressing to in-person interviews. This streamlined process allows them to efficiently identify top candidates and move them through the hiring process promptly.

8. Emphasize Diversity and Inclusion: Promote how your agency handles diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

  • Promote DEI Policies: Agency RST actively promotes diversity and inclusion by proactively sourcing candidates from diverse backgrounds. They partner with organizations that support underrepresented groups and attend career fairs specifically targeted towards diverse candidates. They have an inclusive hiring policy and foster an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
  • Partner with Industry Organizations: Agency STU partners with industry organizations that focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in the marketing field. They actively participate in their events, conferences, and career fairs, aiming to attract diverse talent and create a more inclusive workforce.

9. Encourage Employee Referrals: Offer referral bonuses or incentives to encourage current employees to refer talented individuals from their networks. Employee referrals often result in high-quality candidates.

  • Offer Cash Bonuses: Agency EFG incentivizes employee referrals by offering cash bonuses or additional vacation days for successful hires. They organize referral contests and recognize employees who refer exceptional candidates. They communicate the referral program through internal newsletters, team meetings, and digital signage within the office.
  • Promote Employee Recognition Events: Agency HIJ organizes quarterly employee recognition events where they celebrate outstanding achievements and provide referral incentives to employees who refer top talent. These events serve as a platform for employees to network and share their positive experiences with potential referrals.
  • Create Employee Referral Tracking Portal: Agency RST creates a dedicated employee referral program portal on their intranet, where employees can submit referrals, track their progress, and receive updates on the status of their referrals. They offer a tiered rewards system, providing greater incentives for successful hires referred by employees.

10. Showcase Exciting Projects and Clients: Highlight the agency’s notable clients, successful campaigns, and exciting projects to attract top talent who want to work on challenging and innovative initiatives.

  • Promote Case Studies of Exciting Client Projects: Agency HIJ creates case studies and success stories highlighting their most impressive projects and renowned clients. They share these stories on their website, social media platforms, and industry publications.They highlight the positive impact their work has had on clients’ businesses and share the collaborative partnerships they have developed, attracting talent who want to contribute to meaningful client relationships.
  • Pursue Speaking Engagement and Panel Discussions – Top agencies organize speaking engagements and panel discussions where employees can present their work and showcase the agency’s achievements.

11. Conduct Effective Interviews and Assessments: Develop a structured interview process that assesses both technical skills and cultural fit. Use behavioral-based questions and practical assessments to evaluate candidates’ abilities and potential.

  • Structured Interview Process: Agency STU uses a structured interview process that includes behavioral-based questions to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, adaptability, and teamwork abilities. They may also conduct practical assessments or request candidates to complete a sample project to evaluate their technical competence. They provide feedback to candidates after interviews to ensure a positive experience.
  • Conduct Panel Interviews: Agency LMN conducts panel interviews, where candidates have the opportunity to meet with multiple team members from different departments. This approach enables the agency to assess cultural fit and gauge how well candidates can collaborate with diverse teams, reflecting their emphasis on teamwork and collaboration.

By implementing these strategies, marketing agencies can enhance their recruitment efforts and increase their chances of attracting top talent who can contribute to the agency’s growth and success.

Five Common Mistakes Marketing Agencies Make When Recruit Top Talent

1. Lack of Clarity in Job Descriptions: Agencies sometimes fail to provide clear and detailed job descriptions, resulting in confusion for potential candidates. Vague or generic job descriptions can deter qualified candidates from applying.

2. Neglecting Employee Testimonials: Agencies often overlook the power of employee testimonials and experiences. Sharing authentic stories and testimonials from current employees can provide valuable insights into the agency’s culture and work environment.

3. Insufficient Employer Branding Efforts: Some agencies underestimate the importance of building a strong employer brand. Inadequate efforts to promote the agency’s unique selling points and differentiate from competitors can make it difficult to attract top talent.

4. Overlooking Internal Talent Development: Agencies may focus heavily on external recruitment while neglecting the potential talent within their own organization. By failing to nurture and develop internal talent, they miss out on opportunities for growth and retention.

5. Ignoring Candidate Experience: Poor candidate experience can lead to the loss of top talent. Agencies that fail to provide timely feedback, lack communication during the hiring process, or offer a cumbersome application process can create a negative impression and drive away qualified candidates.

Avoiding these mistakes can help marketing agencies improve their recruitment strategies and increase their chances of attracting top talent. By providing clarity, leveraging employee testimonials, investing in employer branding, nurturing internal talent, and prioritizing a positive candidate experience, agencies can enhance their recruitment efforts and attract the best candidates for their organization.

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