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How to Hire the Best People at Your Agency

An agency is only as good as the people behind it. You can have the top clients, the best brand, and the coolest office, but without a team of stellar creative and technical folk, you're not going to last.

So how do you find these awesome team members? And how do you recognise good talent when you see it? In this article we show you some of the tips and tricks we've learned when it comes to recruiting great talent.

Tip 1: Hire People Smarter Than Yourself

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Being "smarter" doesn't necessarily mean a person is older or more highly educated, but it means he/she looks at the world in a way you can't quite comprehend. Hire smart people because they are creatively invigorating, they challenge you and the way you've always done things, they invigorate the clients, and they build the company into something better.

Tip 2: Look for Passion over Experience

For an agency to survive, it needs to have a team that is passionate about making it a success. Even if a job opening meets someone's skill set, it doesn't mean they are the right person for the job or for the agency.

You want to go for the person who is willing to put in the time and effort needed to make the agency shine. Someone who is passionate about your company and their future in it will be a much better investment than someone taking the job because it's a pay check.

When considering candidates, don't just look at their professional resumes or portfolios! Make sure to consider their  passion projects, hobbies and interests. What do they do outside of work? Do they seem like a well-rounded person? Creatives often need lots of outside influences and the more diverse the people, the more your agency is likely to thrive. 

Further reading: Hire for passion not experience.

Tip 3: Show the Benefits

We all know agency staff – especially young staff straight finishing up their education – are overworked and underpaid, but you're aren't in a position to change that just yet. If you're a start-up or small, independent agency, you also run the risk of having the best candidates rush off to work for the big names. What you can do is offer a series of benefits that makes working for you the most desirable option.

Think about non-financial benefits you might be able to offer – more holiday days each year, a flexible work schedule (such as allowing employees to work 12 hour days, 4 days a week and take Friday off) catered lunches, or telecommuting. 

As a smaller agency you have the power to be flexible, whereas the big guys don't, so use this to your advantage.

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Maybe you have an awesome internal culture and are really proud to offer this as a benefit to new employees – but is it evident enough in your recruitment ads? Do you use social media to promote that culture and what your staff get upto? 

Here are Xero we always include a "what's in it for you" section, which highlights some of the work perks that new hires have access to!

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Tip 4: Ask Your Network

If you have a position to fill, ask around people in your business network to see if any of them know someone who'd be qualified. A personal recommendation from someone you trust will help you filter out all the dross. Often your business contacts know fantastic people who aren't actively "in" the job market, but might be interested in what you have to offer.

Tip 5: Take On Interns

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Taking in interns from nearby universities has a multitude of benefits. Not only will you be able to play a part in shaping the next generations of creative professionals, but you'll also receive a yearly influx of young, enthusiastic and creative talent. Often, it's these interns who come up with the most unique, most of-the-moment ideas.

And you'll also have a yearly pool of potential candidates for full-time positions. What better way to see if you want to hire someone than by working with them for a couple of months? Interns know there is a possibility of a job at the end of their tenure, so they pull out all the stops to show you what they're capable of.

If your agency doesn't already take on interns, then you should start right now!

Finding good talent for your agency team can be a real challenge, but if you keep your eyes and ears to the ground and focus on offering a unique and benefit-loaded work environment, then you'll attract the right people eventually. Good luck?

Tip 6: It's not just about LinkedIn

Make sure you look for new recruits in the areas they're most likely to be! For example, if you're looking for design graduates, head to instagram or behance, if you're looking for more experienced team members, Linkedin will probably be a better solution. 

Don't miss out on these 25 Interview Questions You Should Be Asking New Hires

What tips and techniques have helped you land the right talent for your agency?