Here at Highbrid Media we’ve been experiencing tremendous growth over the last couple years. It’s been an exciting and challenging time. One of the biggest challenges especially as one of the principles of the company is hiring new team members. Not to be cliche but we do consider this a family style/non-traditional environment, and bringing new people in there’s always a chance to disrupt the atmosphere we’ve cultivated over the last 15 years . In terms of talent we’re currently in the middle of one of the biggest scale ups in company history interviewing several candidates per day for several different positions. This exercise has led me to develop a few thoughts I’d like to share with you Things to perhaps keep in mind when hiring your own staff whether it be for an agency like mine or you’re coming from another industry I believe these are universal applications not just for a Multicultural Marketing Agency. This latest experience have made me think about company culture, questioning true diversity, how to handle follow up requests, keeping candidates informed and the fake it till you make it types.
We’ve come to the conclusion here at Highbrid that no matter the credentials or how polished or lack thereof a candidate is, the number one consideration for us is; will this individual fit into our company culture? If the answer is no then we won’t even consider hiring that individual. I’m not saying that company culture will be as a huge a factor for everyone but it is something to be considered. In our case as a boutique firm our culture is about being problem solvers for our clients and this is extremely important to us. If a candidate doesn’t line up with those values even if they’re incredibly skilled it’s going to be a relationship that will not work and the longer it festers the more chance you have a damaging that company culture that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. In most industries new hires go through some type of on boarding process which can be laborious and expensive for the company. You’ll stifle that growth if you lose candidates after on-boarding without vetting for a culture fit.
We’re an MWBE (Minority or Women owned Business Enterprise) certified firm in addition to being a multicultural marketing agency so you would think diversity would be a slam dunk for us, but it’s not and it isn’t for most businesses and industries. When hiring you want to strive for what I call True Diversity, passed the surface level. Folks who bring and array of thoughts and opinions and experiences to the table. Human nature dictates that we gravitate towards what’s familiar and comfortable. But studies show the more true diversity a company has the better and more profitable it is. In interviewing and recruiting process I personally am always keeping in mind and trying to check myself for any biases I may have in my head and work on eliminating those and being open minded to candidates who may not look or sound like me, and also check myself if I’m gravitating towards a candidate because they may have similarities with me or other staff members. No ones perfect but if you strive for true diversity you’ll have a productive healthy team that will help achieve the stated goals of the company.
Follow up requests have become a staple of our interviewing process. Especially when it pertains to some of our more technical positions that require skills like writing content or analyzing metrics. We’re not going to take your word for it that you’ve done this before and we’re also not going to take your word that you’ve done it well we’re going to ask you to show us versions of similar type of work you’ve done before. A lot of people interview well and can be impressive for 30 minutes to an hour you may sit and talk with them, the follow up requests is a great way to vet a candidate outside of the interview on a cpl/few different fronts. You can see actual work, if they can produce pieces of that work fast sometimes even on the spot using tools like dropbox or google drive tells you there technologically inclined. You can also judge what their responsiveness is going to be if/when they’re working for you, if asked to send in a writing sample during the interview and you don’t receive one for a few days and when you do receive it there’s an excuse attached i.e.; “Sorry for the delay but ……..” these are red flags that can key you into what it would be like to have this person as part of the team.
We’ve always had a policy from interns to candidates for open paid positions, no matter how good or bad the interview was and no matter if we’re extending an offer we’re going to reach out in a timely fashion and let that candidate know. Before beginning this business we were once those folks on the other side of the table and always hated when you’d interview for a position and not hear any type of feedback. There’s no trick here or selfish reason for doing this we just believe it to be a good practice, common courtesy. What if that person is really depending on getting this position for their survival, what if they’re turning down other offers waiting to hear back from us? Most companies don’t do this type of follow up with candidates they’re not hiring, but as a multicultural marketing agency we’ve been in pitch meetings that we thought went well but never heard from the prospect again. We would have appreciated some level of feedback from those prospects, for us it’s just the right thing to do.
One of the things we’re always looking out for when interviewing are those candidates who are trying to fake it till they make it. A number of our positions are very technical and require specific expertise. In addition to that even for seasoned veterans like myself the industry jargon shorthand and acronyms can be dizzying at at times. If you don’t know the jargon or don’t have the specific technical skills that we’re asking for don’t fake like you know be honest. If you fit the company culture and have an overall good skill set we can train you on the technical nuances for the needs of the position, but if you pretend to know these things for the sake of the interview the positions are too specialized to think you’re going to wing it and we not notice. Typically we won’t say anything to the person but once they leave the entire discussion revolves around the fact that instead of admitting you didn’t know what SEO or PPC, KPI, or CTA meant you tried to pretend you did and made a fool of yourself.
What are your thoughts on hiring? Whether at multicultural marketing agency or another type of firm or business. Please share in the comments section below, we love feedback from our readers.