advertising agencies

Money Well Spent?

When I got into the media business (sales) ad agencies were known for hiring youth, paying meager wages, providing minimal training and offering limited advancement. Long hours were common and I’m pretty sure late night pizza delivery was common several times a week.

That was 45 years ago! Over the last couple of decades agencies have pivoted, reimagined, reinvented and hacked themselves promising to be the agency of the future.

But wait, there’s more. Back then it was common for an agency to have 10 employees grinding on just 1 Million dollars in billings. Over time technologies introduced some new efficiencies and, of course, salaries exploded with inflation and the ratio declined to one person working on $1 Million. Today, I’m told, a single agency employee works on several million dollars’ worth of billings.

So, have those millions of dollars clients spent supporting the agency of the future built a place of well-trained, highly experienced, highly compensated individuals with multiple choices for early and frequent advancement?

I’m guilty of generalizing because there are some great shops, foundries, farms, or whatever that are doing their clients proud. For the rest keep disrupting until you get it right!

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SAVE THE DAY

It’s very frustrating for a professional recruiter to be called in to “save the day” tasked to find a new hire in an extremely short period of time after an internal search failed to produce any acceptable candidates. Professionals are good at what they do is because they take the necessary time and effort to conduct a thorough search and that doesn’t happen overnight. The most desirable candidates are usually gainfully employed and are not looking for other opportunities.

To find top candidates we start every search with a “blank page” not simply relying our extensive data base. To fill the “blank page” we conduct a thorough needs analysis discussion with the hiring manager and anyone else involved in the hiring decision to fully understand the ideal candidate’s profile covering both soft and hard skills.

So the next time you hear or are tempted to say, “We’ve never had any luck using recruiters” or “We can do what you do so you’re not worth the money” consider this. It’s true, there are bad recruiters out there just like any other profession but the good ones know their value and earn appropriate and fair fees. Most of the elite members of the executive search profession have a solid business education defined by years of experience, continue to be trained in new search methodologies and are dedicated to professional excellence.

We’d like to think that PointClear Search is included in that group.

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

social-media

The December 4th issue of the New York Times carried an article by Patrick Gillooly in the Sunday Business section entitled “Why You Need Social Media” Mr. Gillooly puts forth the proposition that a well executed social media strategy is critical for career advancement. Full disclosure: he is Director of Digital Communications and Social Media for the career site Monster and he openly admits his bias.

Reading this article made me question my own preconceived notions. As a recruiter, I live and die by LinkedIn. I use Facebook for keeping up with an array of non-business friends and relatives across the country. So when I think this is a common practice in the business world, I am extrapolating from a sample of one. And don’t get me started on Twitter.

I think Mr. Gillooly makes a good point when he says that excluding yourself from social media means you may not be staying on top of the opinions and workings of people who can have a very dramatic impact on your life and career. By embracing social media, we can create career opportunities from simply expanding our networks, improving our knowledge and exposing ourselves to jobs we may not have otherwise considered.

So, please join me in taking the first step. Go to https://www.facebook.com/roger.tremblay.1690?fref=ts and take a moment to like my company page https://www.facebook.com/PointClearSearch/?pnref=lhc

I guess even us old dogs can learn new tricks.

Happy New Year,

Roger Tremblay

 

What to Wear for an Interview

interview-wear-2-0

Recently, I spoke to a class of college seniors about how they should approach getting their first “real” job. For some reason there’s not a college or university in our country that teaches this. So the level of attention and engagement is unusually high, especially among students paying for their own education. My presentation includes tips on resume writing, interview preparation and techniques, how to use LinkedIn/Social Media and anything else the students want to talk about.

In the most recent discussion the topic that seemed to get the most attention was, “What to Wear for an Interview”. My advice is always the same: wear big boy and big girl clothes. Just because you’re interviewing for a position at an ad agency where people come to work in jeans and tee shirts, that’s not how to dress for the interview. I explained dressing well doesn’t necessarily mean dressing like one is interviewing for a job on Wall Street.

Have some style. Andre Agassi said it best. “Image is Everything”.

So, I’m curious. For any of you agency types who might read this, I’d like to hear your opinion. Also, mention what YOU wore the last time you interviewed.

John T. Molloy’s book, Dress For Success, (1975) popularized the concept of “power dressing”. How does one dress for success in 2016?

Ad Agency Quandary

loyalty

I recently spoke with a senior media person who has over a decade of solid career growth with a major agency. While discussing her career she confided that she loved and respected her boss but, has no loyalty to the agency. I was shocked as it’s an agency everyone, once upon a time, wanted to work for and many did after toiling as un-paid interns.
What happened? She reflected on the job parts that were once fun – mentoring, teaching and helping others advance their careers. But, that’s before the agency “over-tightened” their financial belts due, perhaps, to razor-thin compensation agreements, overly aggressive demands from corporate HQ to “send more dollars home” or, simply management more concerned about making their yearly bonus at the expense of filling a couple of seats to relieve the pressure of those clocking in more than 8 hours a day.
It seems management forgot work-life balance is real. Family first is a fact. And, when loyalty leaves the building clients are sure to follow regardless of “great fee” arrangements.
Has the time arrived for management to go on an internal listening tour?

I Support Diversity in Hiring

Compass

It seems that almost everything that Ad Age publishes lately both online and in print has some editorial devoted to the diversity issue. There are certainly plenty of comments about how women still do not have the same kinds of opportunities that men have in the broad field of marketing communications especially at the senior level. And of course, there are no scarcity of comments on how our industry is not reflective of the general population in terms of employing African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans. My liberal friends tell me I should feel guilty because I make my living helping these “racist, misogynistic SOB’s” continue to acquire talent perpetuating these injustices.

In looking back at my own career in media sales, I know that I hired many more women than men for the very specific reason that they were the best salespeople available at the time I was hiring. I used to say I would hire a little green person from Mars if they could sell but no one like that ever came in for an interview. But, neither did any significant number of “minority” candidates. I was compensated on my ability to deliver results so I always tried to do the best I could with the talent available. I wasn’t going to be a social engineer with my career and the careers of others on the line.

Yes, in a perfect world we would have an industry whose work force more accurately reflects the population as a whole. But, if one lacks the skill set or experience to do what my client needs for a specific role, I can’t recommend that she/he hire you. Yes, I understand the Catch-22 of a biased education system and limited opportunities at the entry level. Is that fair? I don’t know. Life’s not fair.

I wonder how many other industries can claim they’re doing a better job of providing the “level playing field” than advertising.

Character Counts

Character 1.0

A couple of weeks back, an already-signed-offer-letter-candidate went radio silent for 10 days before finally fessing-up to taking a counter offer. It happens but research shows the majority of people taking counter offers stick around for less than 12 months (they have already told their boss once that they are very willing to explore other opportunities so the boss understands where their priorities are). Knowing this, a lot of companies have a policy against making counter offers.
Most candidates, who take counter offers, immediately alert and offer an explanation to the hiring manager if, for no other reason, because they understand the value of reputation. As we in the media business learned early on, be careful of the toes you step on as you climb to the top; they may well be connected to the butt you’ll have to kiss on the way down!
Just this week a referral candidate pitched hard the reasons why any ad agency, publisher or company would benefit from the candidate’s skills, experience and leadership. After sharing the job description with a great agency ready to fill a key position a day later I receive a note from the candidate stating contact with an ad agency “may” have already been made. Turns out TWO applications had been submitted online – one just THREE DAYS before our initial conversation! Are you kidding me?
Let’s set aside all the proverbial excuses either of these individuals could use and get real.
Character is defined as, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.
Everyone expect sociopaths have character. For those who don’t think character counts – you’re wrong. There’s consequences and you won’t like the outcome. It’s not too late to build character so step up now.

Congratulations Roger Tremblay, Mary Henry Humanitarian Award Recipient!

Dream Fund

Congratulations Roger Tremblay, Mary Henry Humanitarian Award Recipient!

Roger Tremblay is a Detroit, Michigan native who graduated from Michigan State University with a BA and MA in Advertising and is a recipient of the University’s Alumni Service Award. He has held sales and management positions with The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, Texas Monthly, Chicago Magazine, Houston Metropolitan and Media Networks. He is the co-founder, along with Joe Kelly, of Kelly/Tremblay & Co, which was one of the nation’s largest independent media sales firms. He was a Senior Partner at Allen Austin Global Executive search before starting PointClear Search with Dave Manchee.

Roger, in addition to many years of service to DREAM Fund, is a director of the Michigan State University of Alumni Association, both internationally and locally here in DFW. Roger also serves as a mentor for graduate students at MSU. He has given countless volunteer hours in both leadership and volunteer positions for AAF Dallas and initiated and created the first AIME Award in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Roger, most deserving of this recognition, will be presented with the award at the AWM Awards of Excellence Gala on April 7th.

What They Need to Hear

What Clients Need to Hear

One reoccurring conundrum in the recruiting world occurs when market facts contradict client’s beliefs.  It’s happening with growing frequency as the flow of information floods decision-making.  The downside is suspect information that may not be valid in real time.

PointClear Search Principal and Founder, Roger Tremblay, continually reminds us of a simple truth well illustrated above, “Tell the client what the need to hear not what they want to hear”.

It’s not always a comfortable conversation but, at the end of the day, it’s always the right conversation. And, it always builds trust and confidence.

How Do I Know I’m Working With The Right Recruiter?

Innovation

As a candidate I’ve worked with some very talented recruiters. I’ve also had conversations with recruiters who were clearly only working for themselves. From a candidate’s perspective here are five questions you should ask yourself.

1. Is the initial conversation with the recruiter focused on you, your career goals and needs or, is the recruiter hard selling the job he/she is trying to fill?
2. Does the job presented by the recruiter fit your personal and career goals? Does it fulfill your immediate and long-term needs?
3. Can the recruiter provide meaningful insights into his or her client company’s business model, culture, leadership, and competitive advantage (verses he/she lazily directing you to the client’s website suggesting you “check ‘em out and let me know what you think”)?
4. Has the recruiter set realistic expectations with you about the steps in the hiring process and timing?
5. Are you receiving regular communications regarding your status in the hiring process? And, timely replies to your inquiries?

If your answers are “yes” you’re working with someone with a genuine interest in furthering your career. Congratulations!