Three strategies for in-house recruitment success

In the hectic world of marketing, hiring can often feel sluggish and uninspiring. Drawing on her experience in working with in-house agencies, WDC’s Harry Playford reveals three obvious but often overlooked strategies that can invigorate the process:

1. Look Beyond Task Lists: Paint the Bigger Picture
Align stakeholders on the creative functions’ remit, brand identity, and values before hiring. Clearly define these elements and how they should manifest in the team’s daily behaviour. This understanding should be deeply explored during candidate interviews. Often, in-house agencies overlook this due to their fast pace, leading to confusion after hires are made. Ideally, leadership should establish a clear ‘north star’ before team expansion. While this isn’t always possible, attracting candidates driven to shape growth and influence rather than just ticking boxes is crucial when establishing a new team.

2. Map Your Team
In-house teams often face significant growth challenges and shifting remits, making it essential to understand the full scope of current team capabilities. Defining a comprehensive team structure that includes existing talent is pivotal for identifying weaknesses and hotspots. This team ‘map’ doesn’t just outline roles and responsibilities—it reveals individuals who can complement the team and show emerging leadership qualities. Inviting candidates to contribute to new creative operations processes during their interviews can gauge their potential for cultural leadership. This approach assesses their fit within the team and their ability to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, enhancing performance, culture, and operations.

3. Encourage Cross-Functional Movement
Change creates uncertainty, and with new external hires often placed in leadership roles, incumbent team members can resist these shifts. This resistance can be particularly problematic for in-house creative teams, which continually grapple with growth challenges and evolving remits. It’s imperative to have team members who understand the business’s intricacies and can transition into more hybrid roles. These individuals provide invaluable institutional knowledge and continuity amidst change. As Simon Sinek aptly puts it, “Smooth seas don’t make skilful sailors. The real test comes when the waves get rough.” Promoting cross-functional movement within the framework, helps cultivate a resilient and adaptable team culture. Team members who step out of their comfort zones and tackle diverse challenges are better prepared for unexpected disruptions. This strategy mitigates resistance to change and leverages the experience of long-standing employees, guiding new initiatives and fostering a collaborative, innovative environment.

In summary, embedding organisational context, emphasising team dynamics, and ensuring existing team members can embrace new beginnings creates a cohesive, effective, and forward-thinking team poised for long-term success. This strategy ensures that every team member is not just a fit for today but a valuable asset for the future.

Harry Playford is a licensed NLP coach and Senior Consultant at creative operations consultancy WDC where she has worked with clients such as Sainsbury’s, Wellcome Trust and BT

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