Hiring is the most critical component of running an agency like UpBuild. I’m thankful every day that most of my hires were folks I’d worked with before in some capacity. For everyone else on the team, we’d known each other for at least the better part of a year before I brought them on. The pieces so far have fallen into place quite nicely and I consider myself pretty dang lucky.
This post isn’t a “how to hire at a marketing agency” post; it’s an opportunity for me to think through my recent decision to not talk to any candidates for our open positions.
No, I haven’t decided to refrain from any communication with candidates. That would be like putting on a blindfold and going on a nice drive. It really wouldn’t work out well.
What I have decided is to not speak to anyone prior to the final, final round of consideration. That means no face-to-face, phone, or video chats.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in running a digital agency (particularly a 100% distributed one) it’s that effective and efficient communication is what makes or breaks both client relationships and working arrangements.
Some people have great interview skills and can be super charismatic. Others are super introverted and might not stack up favorably in a higher pressure phone or Google Hangouts interview. Does that preclude people in the latter group from being effective technical marketers (think SEO, CRO, analytics)? Certainly not.
To be honest, I think I’m average at best when it comes to being an interviewee. The last thing I’d want (and this is a deliberate exaggeration) is to end up running a company full of folks who can talk a great game but don’t communicate well in writing and who don’t have the chops they need when they’re deep in the weeds for clients.
So my intention is to test not speaking with potential candidates and to see how that goes. My hope is that this,
- levels the playing field for introverts and extroverts,
- keeps the focus on skills, motivation, and cultural fit rather than appearances (our auditory experience),
- reveals the quality of their writing and attention to detail,
- provides an idea of how effectively and responsively they can carry out email and chat conversations,
- removes potential face-to-face charisma bonuses a candidate may enjoy, and
- simulates the actual work environment any new hire would be coming into.
Like everything at UpBuild, this is an experiment. Results will be evaluated and it could become part of our model or it could be scrapped completely. Time and outcomes will tell.
I’d be curious to know what other people think of this move, so let me know in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Pavan Trikutam.