the advertising agency business

How Does Your Organization Fit This Dichotomy?

old-vs-new-thinking

This visual may be slightly exaggerated but it’s worth considering if your concerned about attracting high-quality human capital to your organization in the future.

In our recruiting space – marketing communications – we’ve learned that it’s not too difficult to figure out whether someone has the skill set and experience to do a particular job. The tricky part is figuring out whether there’s a good “fit”. And fit has to go both ways. Typically you look at a candidate and evaluate whether or not they will be good for your team but, it’s just as important to determine if your team is good for the candidate. If there’s not a two-way fit you run the risk of hiring a very short term employee.

The reality of today’s talent marketplace is a lesson from Economics 101: there is more demand for good people than there is supply. Competition for the best people is intense and if you don’t play the recruiting game well, you and your organization will be left behind.

So how do you think your organization fits into this dichotomy?

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?

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.

Managing a Most Precious Commodity – TIME

Clock 1

Last week Roger’s blog examined how some companies’ inattention to moving the hiring process along with serious deliberation opens the door for quicker moving, decisive hiring managers to snap up superior talent. And, in today’s tight market every open head means lost revenue.

This week let’s examine the process as a doctor would a patient to determine what’s contributing to the long hiring cycle. Let’s consider the real cause too many layers of interviews and the extended cycle the symptom.

Consider one major time suck – the interview panel – that sometimes awkward series of back-to-back interviews populated by junior and highly experienced individuals. We know assembling the panel requires days if not weeks to organize. And then there’s the question of the members influence on the final outcome. Should panel members be afforded equal “votes”? Has the company adequately trained each of the interviewers? Are they checking off the boxes in the correct order – intelligence, cultural fit and skills?

There’s a special excitement for candidates after meeting with well-trained panels. Unfortunately momentum somehow falls into a black hole when management fails to act on panel feedback further causing the process to drag on.

If over-interviewing is crippling your quest to hire great talent are you prepared to avoid the time trap in 2016?

2016 Resolutions

 

I resolve to do a better job for my clients by:

  • Learning as much as possible about my client’s company and culture.
  • Forwarding as many exceptional candidates as the market provides.
  • Telling my clients what they need to hear as opposed to what I think they want to hear.

I resolve to do a better job for my candidates by:

  • Learning as much about my candidate’s character and integrity as their experience and skill set.
  • Keeping them in the loop on the hiring process with regular communications.
  • Providing them with realistic expectations and thorough preparation for interviews.

And, I resolve to continue to ALWAYS tell the absolute truth to both parties.

Get Professional. Start Your Career.

Character vs Tech Knowledge

Lately I’ve received a number of referrals looking to break into anything digital. After reviewing a bunch of resumes and checking out social media profiles here’s my response to a young, honors graduate from a top tier Boston area private university, currently working in finance and planning to relocate to NYC.

Dear Candidate,

Here’s some advice (listed below in no particular order of importance).
LinkedIn
• Grow your contacts
• Replace your photo with a professional head-shot
• Add your resume’s narrative to each job emphasizing results, milestones, innovations, etc.
• Ask employers and associates for recommendations – important!
• Include any fraternal, athletic or college associations noting leadership positions
• Add professional groups that reflect your career objectives
• Add individuals to follow – again reflecting career interests or leadership qualities that you expect to emulate
Your Resume
• Add any volunteer experience – current or past (should also be included on LinkedIn)
• Education – your resume and LinkedIn don’t match. Edit to match
Your Career – I’m going to assume you’re interested in all things digital, right? OK, so I suggest considering the following:
• Start with leader companies – places that offer internal training, mentoring and rapid career advancement – the start-ups will always be around and for every story about hitting it big with a start-up there’s scores of untold failures.
• Think about where you’d like to be 2-3 jobs from now. Find some folks who have those jobs – reach out, tell them you’re green and would like to buy them coffee just to learn what they know and how they got to where they are now. Sometimes magic happens.
• Consider Internships if you’re not fixed on a specific job type. Try to get those that pay (important for NYC living) and offer a duration of 6 months (takes 90 days to find the water closet).
• Join NYC groups and associations that reflect your career interests. Network. People will recommend those they like for jobs in their company (sometimes they earn a bonus for recommending new hires)
• Get involved – volunteer – another great networking environment plus it makes you feel good and keeps Karma happy
• If digital is your passion check with the Interactive Advertising Bureau for information on earning certifications that align with your interests and the marketplace. Sign-up, study, and get certified.
Social Media – make certain all social media reflects the professional you – you can certainly be fun loving, active, etc. but ditch the stuff you might not want to explain to your Grandmother or clergy.

I’m confident anyone reading this might have a suggestion or two so keep the advice flowing. Might just add a few Karma credits!

This May Sound Like Roger’s Old Guy Rant But I’m Gonna Spit It Out Anyway.

Higher Character

At PCS we do a lot of recruiting for digital media sales people and sales managers. Almost always the hiring manager will give little or no consideration to someone who started out selling traditional media and then made the conversion to digital media. Now, I’ll admit my bias because I was once one of those people but, I believe this is basically a really bad decision. Here’s why.
Back in the day when ads were sold on cave walls, the companies my partners and I worked for spent a fair amount of time and money on training us to be professional sales people. We knew our product and we became really proficient at the art of selling. And, it was an ongoing educational process.
Today we see digital media sales people who know the technology they are selling but have never been trained in the basics of sales techniques and strategies. Their companies either don’t believe in sales training or don’t have the money for it in their startup budgets. Those who work for a site that everybody wants make a lot of money and present themselves as professional sellers. Are they really good, or is it just that they work for a company that’s momentarily hot?  And, unbeknownst to the so-called sellers are crews of geeks feverishly working to replace them with programmatic buying.
It’s been said a good sales person can sell anything. I don’t believe that especially after an ill-fated stint as a car salesman. But, I do believe that a really good, well trained traditional media sales person will easily make the transition to a digital sales pro. The matching of the advertisers needs to the media delivery remains the same basic concept.And, the proof can be found by simply viewing the profiles of the vast majority of today’s digital leaders.
Oh, and there’s one additional hiring flaw that must go away now. It’s that hiring manager “must have” qualification demanding someone with “contacts” that are going to turn into immediate sales. I’m not sure that was a realistic expectation in the “good ole boy” days of selling and it sure isn’t true now.
I’ve always believed that hard work and enthusiasm covers up a multitude of sins and I still believe it’s true in today’s marketplace. Maybe those who’ve successfully navigated a couple of decades of traditional media sales before moving into digital sales can teach us all something. But first, you must give your next sales stars a chance.