April 17, 2014
by Miles Jennings Founder/CEO Recruiter.com
“I was talking to a friend of mine at a party that will soon be looking for a job. He pretty much knows where he wants to work already, as it’s a small industry and market. He also already has an “inside connection” at the company – a relative of his works there and can help him out with introductions to key team members.
However, the company where he wants to work is a big place, with lots of different teams and hiring managers. He asked me an interesting question – should he use an external agency recruiter to help him get a job with the company, even though he already has a good networking connection?
My answer was yes – use a recruiter as well – if you’re trying to get into a big company, you need to do everything you can. As long as you tell the recruiter what you’re doing and that you may already be represented for some jobs at the company, there isn’t any problem with trust or communication. The issue is that with hundreds of open jobs and tons of complex projects, any one particular networking connection, job application, or introduction isn’t enough. One department inside a large company won’t know what another department is doing or who they are interviewing. So you have to hedge your bets and go deep (as long as you tell everyone involved what you’re doing.)
We talked more about when you should use an agency recruiter and how you know when it’s valuable. The answer is pretty clear: when you already have a connection to a particular company, you are looking for added value in a recruiter. You are looking for a recruiter that can do more for you than submit your resume into a database, talk to you about the open jobs on the company’s website, or even introduce you to one person at the company. You are looking for indications that a recruiter has real influence over and knowledge about a particular company. This influence and knowledge is the mark of a great recruiter. So what will this great recruiter sound like?
Here are 5 signs that you’ve found a great recruiter that can really add value to your job search, even if you already know the company or know about the jobs online.
Past success: You want to work with a recruiter that has successfully placed candidates at that company in the past. Look for the recruiter to reference their past placements. Ideally, these past placements have become valuable networking contacts for the recruiter. The right recruiter to work with is the one with a solid history of success at the companies that best fit your skills in your local area.
Company knowledge: What does the recruiter know that you don’t know? Recruiters should have a detailed knowledge of the company that goes well beyond what can be found on the web. They should be able to tell you about the company culture and examples of previous hires at the company, or problems with certain managers, etc… Look for fluid discussion about the inner workings of the organization.
Project information: Good recruiters know jobs, great recruiters know projects and initiatives (the why versus just the how.) You don’t want to just know that there is a new Accountant job opening at ABC company, you want to know why that Accountant job is open and how it fits with the company’s efforts and business initiatives. A great recruiter will offer you multiple touch-points inside a company and tell you information that can’t be gleaned from the job description. By working with a great recruiter, you’ll walk into the interview with a leg-up on every other applicant.
Technical understanding: Job description are often, if not usually, filled with stock language. Positions often list every system that the company has, for example. A recruiter worth working with will tell you what the position really entails – what the hiring manager really is hurting for. Oftentimes, positions will be replacements – what was good about that last employee? What was bad? A great recruiter will have a comprehensive understanding of all the job requirements, but more importantly have a nuanced understanding of the key talent differentiators. They’ll know what the company reallywants and if they have a really great relationship, they’ll even be able to tell the company what theyshould want.
Personal connections: Your recruiter doesn’t have to be personal friends with everyone that hires from them, but there is no substitute for solid, in-person networking skills. Your recruiter should have actually visited the companies at which they hope to represent you. A great recruiter will talk to you about the soft-skills of the job and how you might fit in with the various teams and managers for whom you might work. Examine the depth of the recruiter’s relationships and not just the number of their employment connections.
A great recruiter can make all the difference to your job search. They can offer you valuable information, detail the nuances of jobs, and help you navigate through the entire hiring process. If you’re a jobseeker like my friend, it’s important to know when you’ve found a recruiter that can really help. When you do find those great recruiters, be sure to stay in touch with them, even after you’ve found the job you want – those connections can be invaluable to your career.”
January 13, 2014
7 Myths to Avoid for Growth in 2014
1. “New Business is a Numbers Game” – Bah, humbug. Less is more. Pick 15 Primary Prospects and 15 backups. Out of the 15 primaries, pick 5 as your highest priorities. Treat them as if they are already clients. Bring them ideas. Recruit them. Stop spamming the world with your newsletter. Nobody cares about your blog. Let’s get over that nonsense and get back to intelligent, personalized agency outreach.
2. “Clients Want Category Specialists” – Nah. Clients want great creative built upon unexpected insights and great service. They assume you will understand their business and their category. This specialization theory that runs rampant today is not a point of differentiation… it’s a point of sameness. “We’re experts in your category” — could you be more pompous, maybe? Category specialization may get you into a pitch, but it will NEVER win you an account.
3. “Size Matters” – oh, yeah? Tell that to Barton F. Graf 9000 or Baldwin& or Made in Boulder. Creativity matters. Clients want 6 key people on their account, not 200.
4. “Social Media Creates Inbound Marketing” – Sure, it does. Tweeting out your agency propaganda brings in tire-kickers by the barrel. 999 out of 1,000 “inbound” leads are crap, admit it. And let’s get over this in 2014.
5. “Clients Seek Collaboration” – That’s what they say. But, they really want leadership that listens. Anyone can collaborate; but, few can lead. And even fewer can lead through breakthrough creative. Collaboration is table stakes. Stop selling collaboration and start leading.
6. “Agencies Are Marketing Partners” – Stop drinking your own Kool-Aid. Agencies are vendors. You earn marketing partnership after you help that client achieve business results. Stop selling your agency as a “partner.” Think about how you would feel if a candidate on a job interview claimed they would be a partner at your agency. Partnership is earned, not claimed.
7. “Price Matters” – No, it doesn’t. It never did, and it never will. If they have to ask what it costs, they can’t afford it. If they want a volume discount, send them to Costco. Do your homework up front and stop recruiting cheapskate prospects. Professional Marketing Services are costly. Great creative is expensive. Sell quality.
August 15, 2013
A Dad’s View
First off, the whole idea for a Reality Show series involving a real ad agency review — or pitch, was mine. In 2006, I collaborated on this idea with a Canadian production company responsible for the Project Runway concept. I then approached a few agency principals needing exposure/new business and they mostly responded with bemusement. I presented it to some Brand Managers, they loved it. My idea was quite different from the shallow concept that currently exists on-air. My idea was to get a major brand with a real review in the offing to depict the entire review process over the course of an entire 10-episode season. In other words, one big review, 5 big agencies vying for one big brand.
The biggest problem I have with the format of AMC’s The Pitch is that it’s faked, like The Ponderosa on Bonanza. The reviews aren’t real, no promise of the winning agency getting business. It also feels a bit like cooking a chicken in the microwave. It’s too fast. No review lasts one week. It just feels like each episode is rushed — the ideas are undercooked. Also reminds me of speed chess in Washington Square Park. These are not the best ideas for the brand, just the fastest for the show.
Okay, now that I got that off my chest, let me say that I’ll be watching tonight’s season premiere with great interest. Why? My son, the copywriter, is competing for an Atlanta agency close to my heart, BreenSmith (more on why in a bit). At the risk of sounding like Paul Lynde from Bye, Bye Birdie (“We’re going to be on Ed Sullivan!”), I’m not just proud of my kid, but I live the career I never had in a creative department vicariously through him. Kind of like the spastic Dad whose kid is a great athlete.
I’ve worked 24 years in the ad agency business so my kid wouldn’t have to. And…now look. I mean, I sacrificed and invested heavily in a Marist high school education; sent him off to a Jesuit college (that lasted 3 days, thank you Hurricane Katrina). I did all this so he could have a chance at a better life than me. So he could be exempt from the horrors of this advertising world. “I never wanted this for him. I work my whole life – I don’t apologize – to take care of my family, and I refused to be a fool, dancing on the string held by all those bigshots. I don’t apologize – that’s my life – but I thought that when it was Mikey’s time, that he would be the one to hold the string. Senator Palma; Governor Palma.”
Did he maintain the Hope Scholarship at UGA to get stupid? Where did the trail lead? The Creative Circus, that’s where… a freaking circus. Am I nervous about how he performs on TV? Absolutely not, this is ad puffery. You know what made me nervous? The first time he lined up as an undersized defensive end across the line from a 300-lb offensive tackle on a football field. Now, that’s nerve-wracking. Watching him sit around a conference table with a bunch of ad geeks thinking up stuff? Not so much.
So speaking of ad geeks, tonight’s agency BreenSmith, is special to me because I moved both guys to Atlanta in the late-90′s to separate agencies (Smith, from BBDO/NY to the erstwhile WestWayne; and Breen From Crispin & Porter to Blue Sky Agency). That they wound up together and eventually hired my son is testament to the small world. Small indeed, yet I wouldn’t want to paint it.
Enjoy the show — may the fastest idea win.