Now hiring…for tomorrow

Are you hiring right? Or are you hiring for right now? Lg2's Chris Hirsch and Nellie Kim on staffing for the future.


By Chris Hirsch and Nellie Kim

As we begin the process of staffing our new agency and interviewing a wide variety of candidates, we’ve started to notice that our line of questioning usually falls into one of two categories: How is this candidate best suited for us right now? How is this candidate best suited for us in the future? The first answer is easy. It’s the second one that got us thinking, and for good reason – Are we hiring right? Or are we just hiring for right now?

As the current state of staffing in our industry generally goes, people are often hired in accordance with current trends. But less consideration is given to the cost of how these reactionary hires will ultimately affect company culture and client relationships. And as we’ve witnessed, this type of approach has, more often than not, resulted in a revolving door among agency folks and marketers alike. For this reason, we can’t just hire to appease the trending needs of today. We need to look for the qualities that will be relevant for the future as well.

So what are these qualities? Well, aside from the obviously universal traits that make an optimal long-term employee, we can only look to the past to avoid taking a similar myopic path to hiring. Because wasn’t it just yesterday when having the word “digital” in front of your title automatically made you one of the most sought-after candidates in your field? Or when we as marketers and agencies rushed to fill our departments with digitally-focused individuals without giving much thought to intangibles like personality and cultural fit? All who were paid at a premium relative to their experience? We see the same thing happening today in response to trends-du-jour like shopper marketing, native advertising, and the continued rise of the letter “X” in job titles.

With new and exciting trends emerging at an accelerated rate and their potential corresponding jobs, it will be a challenge for us not to be tempted to just hire-from-the-hip (we’re totally TM’ing that). But marketers don’t just need quick solutions for their brand. Now more than ever, they need a partner to work with them in order to optimize their brand for the long-term across a multitude of new platforms that seem to emerge daily. And short-term solutions don’t build long-term brands. Neither do short-term employees.

Of course talent is the price of entry. But what about their personality? Does it fit the culture? Will it contribute to the culture you’re trying to create? Do they have a genuine curiosity, not just for the world of advertising, but for the world around them? Do they understand that doing the best work of their life starts with actually having a life? Or that having passion and drive in this business is nothing if you’re not enjoying yourself along the way?

So as we continue to hire for today, we’ll also be simultaneously hiring for tomorrow. Marketing trends will come and go, but qualities like passion, drive and a healthy dose of genuine curiosity will insure a company’s culture doesn’t go along with it. So long as we’re asking the right questions.

Nellie Kim Chris HirschNellie Kim and Chris Hirsch are partners and CDs at Lg2.

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