Babita Baruah
May 30, 2016

Babita's blog: Hiring the perfect talent

The ad industry needs to redefine the way it thinks about talent, contends the author

Babita's blog: Hiring the perfect talent
Dylan’s words, “The Times- They are A-Changin” still hold true today.
“Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone...
For the times they are a-changin.”
It starts with the team member calling it quits.
Email and calls to HR. Scan through of CVs. Definitely with an agency background.
Interviews set up. Hire approved after the first two, at best three candidate interviews.
Email and calls with HR on closing the hire.  Make a strong case for fast tracking the process given the work load.Talent on board.
Pretty much what transpires for most talent hires in the industry. It is need based. FTE based.The conversation after the interview, between the agency and the candidate, and between the internal agency disciplines, is primarily on the CTC.
I am sharing some thoughts on a few ways in which we can refocus on talent hires, and attract the right people.  There would be many more and I hope this piece sparks off some good inputs and experience sharing on this front.
Market the agency, unit, and team. Make potential candidates pin the agency up as their first choice, well before we give them the call. The agency is a brand as much as all the brands we work on, and things are no different here. The same marketing principles apply. Showcasing best practices, team experiences, client feedback and so on will create the right perspective for candidates to evaluate us positively.
Fit with marketing. Understand and evaluate the changes in the world of marketing. That’s what we create communication and brand agendas for. The talent hire has to be in sync with the kind of demands that new marketing dynamics call for. Looking for experience in advertising alone may not be enough for a team mix.
Talent engagement is an ongoing process. Meeting prospective people, understanding where the interest and experience lies, creating a talent bank helps us approach the right people when the opportunity arises.
Nurture team evangelists. Once a team, always a team. Most of our new talent has shared with us the assurance they got from former team members, who may have moved on for various reasons.
Create a workplace which is beyond work. Inspiration sessions, workshops, mentoring, shadowing and other such initiatives have a contagious effect on attracting great talent.
Honesty and transparency have to be the building blocks of all hires. The nature of the business, the challenges, why the person who was in that position moved, possible pitfalls are as much part of the conversation as the positive aspects.
Not paint all talent with the same brush. This one may not be easy in larger set ups who work towards balancing out. But rewards have to be designed to recognise star talent. Disproportionately. This not only creates healthy competition, but ensures that no one piggy backs on the rest with below average performance.
Look outside the arena. Meet talent from other fields, experiment with setting up a heady mix of experience and unboxed thinking.
Finally, talk about talent hire best practices in industry forums. Create inspiring case studies of a workplace that becomes a second home, a place where dreams are encouraged and fuelled. Meet students in institutes and have infectious agenda on what we have to offer as career growth.
People are our strongest asset. Directly linked with productivity and growth. We have to redefine the way we think about talent.  If we are not doing that already.
For the times are truly changing.
The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint. 
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