advertising

DIGITAL TRADITIONAL FORK IN THE ROAD

Seems like every other day I receive a referral for a solid seller who successfully transitioned from traditional media to digital. They self-educated themselves, earned digital certifications and, when asked, conveyed relevant insights from decades of sales and people experience with colleagues. They practiced consultative selling before the phrase was coined, bring well-tune listening skills to the table and succinctly communicate internally building solutions that answer client needs.
They consistently win contests, receive awards and earn the respect of former managers. Exceeding goals, conducting themselves professionally and earning respect by giving respect is their mantra.
When we speak they are anxious to contribute, to be part of successful team, to again pay income taxes and to contribute to a culture that values fun alongside of working hard (and smart) while recognizing the organization’s success is a function of maintaining work – life equilibrium. They’ll assume a leadership role and it isn’t necessary to include a management title.
Of late I’ve been wondering if these fine folks shouldn’t return to their traditional roots armed with the skills to sell cross-platform and the knowledge of where traditional media fits within the broader media landscape. Or, should they continue pushing forward for a place in the digital ecosystem?
Help me out. And help those at the digital/traditional fork-in-the-road.
What are your thoughts?

Don’t Do This On Your Next Interview

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CareerBuilder.com recently polled human resources pros and hiring managers to compile their annual list of interview quirks and missteps committed by candidates in the past year. Here are this year’s “winners” in which a candidate:

Called his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before continuing the interview.

Brought childhood toys to the interview.

Said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team.

Bragged about being in the local newspaper for alleged theft.

Ate a pizza he brought with him.

Ate crumbs off the table.

Asked where the nearest bar was located.

Invited the interviewer to dinner afterwards.

Stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she should hire him.

Asked the interviewer why her aura didn’t like her.

Hard to believe, huh? Well, everyone who interviews a lot of people has similar stories. Some even more ridiculous than these.

PEOPLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Last week I received feedback on a candidate who was clearly qualified for the position but proceeded to spend the majority of the time talking about what the next opportunity in the company might be. Needless to say, the hiring manager who had an immediate need was not impressed. Chalk up another one for millennial entitlement and self-absorption.

We can and do prepare candidates for interviews. It’s in our interest to do so after we determine a candidate has the experience and skill set for a position and we judge them to be a good cultural fit.

However, sometimes there’s just no accounting for stupidity.

Better than When We Found It

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As a boy scout I was taught to always leave a camp site “better than we found it” which, in simple terms, meant scouring the ground for anything that wasn’t part of nature. When camping and in many instances, in life, returning to the natural state is highly desirable. I believe the concept is applicable to each generation and its responsibility to following generations. So, over the next few months I’ll do my best to tackle a pertinent subject from the current national conversation stating with fake news.
The too frequent fake news stories are more than troubling. We can agree it’s a problem, right? And, it’s a big problem when a misguided, gun-toting “fixer” arrives at a pizza joint to free young hostages and an even bigger problem when fake news is influencing free speech and the election process.
Since my career history and my current profession broadly encompasses marketing communications I’m going to address the meteoric rise in paid content (native) and, depending on how it’s presented, where it fits in the fake news universe.
Paid content, or if you prefer, native advertising is not new. Google “Advertorial”. Back in the day advertorials were clearly identified as advertisements. Today’s paid content? Not so much and therein lies the problem. Consider, The New York Times’ content group T Brand Studio, which employs 110 people and Magazine publisher Time Inc. now employs 125 people at its content group, the Foundry.
No advertiser and no reputable media wants to be found guilty of fake news. In the past editor’s managed a thin demarcation line separating edit from advertising. Today the line seems to encourage paid content osmosis.
I’m suggesting the media clean-up its “camp site” rebuilding the wall between editorial (news) and advertising clearly identifying what’s not news. As real news regains clearer visibility the media will recapture its authority and trust while fake news (propaganda) fades back into the shadows where it belongs.
In the end the media, the reader/viewer and our democracy will greatly benefit.

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

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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

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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?

What Makes Us Different?

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Good Executive Search firms follow process. Great Executive Search firms tweak processes. PointClear Search finds way to reinvent processes, not just because we are expected to…but because we can’t help ourselves.

Brands Need Good Leadership

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Brands. There’s a lot of talk about brands, branding and the importance brands evolving.
Take Taylor Swift. Hugely successful ingénue country singer who successfully pivoted her brand to main stream vocal Phenom. Like Ms. Swift generations have names and identities and are brands that evolve.
For example, Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were among the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time.
Let’s look at today’s punching bag generation – Millennials. I know some, some are my children and in the course of my work – recruiting, I’ve interviewed my share. Most don’t deserve to be defined with the negatively charged commentary commonly described by the press.
In my opinion the Millennial generation is at a brand cross-road. One direction leaves them on the current controversial path. The other path amplifies all that’s good about a generation that trusts, believes in giving back and cares deeply for family. What’s missing, I submit, is leadership of substance to stabilize the generation’s brand and take it to its rightful place.
So, Millennials what are you waiting for?

Honesty

Honesty

In one of his acts George Carlin had a telling line about honesty, “Everyone appreciates your honesty until your honest with them. Then you’re an a**hole.”

This dovetails nicely with an old recruiter joke. The hiring manager is conducting an interview with a candidate and everything is going smoothly until the interviewer asks an uninspired but common question, “So what do you consider your greatest weakness?” The candidate answers tersely, “Honesty”. Taken aback, the interviewer says, “I don’t consider honesty to be a weakness”. The candidate replies, “I don’t give a damn what you think”.

Honesty is an interesting facet of the recruiting process. Obviously, candidates, through their resumes or interviews, are often less than transparent. On occasion, every hiring manager will admit to the same lack of transparency. And recruiters may be even worse offenders. At PointClear Search, we try to be guided by the principle of telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And that goes for both clients and candidates.

We try to fix bad resumes and we coach candidates prior to interviews. If the candidate completely blows the interview, we gently tell them why so they won’t make the same mistake again. When it comes down to a small group of finalists in a bake-off, somebody has to lose and often the real reason someone loses is because the hiring manager simply liked someone better. I’ve seen some very ugly and emotional reactions when I’ve delivered bad news and I’ll admit to sugar-coating the truth when I know a candidate is very emotionally invested.

In the used car business, there’s an old saying “How can you tell when the salesman is lying? His lips are moving!” Politician’s also fall under the same banner. We try real hard not to be that cynical but some days it’s very hard.

I Support Diversity in Hiring

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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.