Opening the talent cookie jar

So much for the EU Cookie MonsterTo survive as an agency we must offer knowledge, creativity and delivery. To do so, we need great people at every stage. Change and innovation are our lifeblood. Standing still is not an option. Being smart about change is the key to our business.

We need both permanent and fluid resource to deliver creative and commercial success. More importantly, we need the best person and we need them now.

Earlier this month the team at Whynot! were pitching. With the workload doubled, there was a need for extra resource at shortnotice. We needed a creative solution. The knowledge was there, the delivery was there, but it was extremely important that we brought in additional talent to support the creative solution. Our frustration was sourcing specific people that could meet this brief, quickly and at reasonable cost.

Although we have used recruitment agencies in the past to source freelancers, it limits our immediate access to options – availability, skills, relevant credentials and a transparent financial conversation.

“People used to say that information is power but that’s no longer the case. It’s analysis of the data, use of the data, digging into it – that is the power.”

Sir Martin Sorrell

Time is precious in any agency and the ability to immediately tap into a dialogue with available talent doesn’t exist. So, we go to social. We open it up to the public. It’s not targeted; it’s a broadcast for help.

Ten recruiters jump on it. No knowledge of who we are, what we do or bringing any real value to the search.

A handful of freelancers see the opportunity and get in touch with questions. It’s not right for them, we both agree. Sure they can help, they have some relevant skills, but they are not the best solution to the problem we have.

So what are the options for a busy marketing agency looking for a creative freelancer?

One option is to use the power of recommendation. Recruitment shouldn’t stay in one account team, with HR or head of studio. It should be in the interest of the agency people to find and recommend the best people to grow the business. Get your employees to do the recommending and give the recruiter fee back to your staff. Use your people, people.

For a more formal approach, but still with high calibre recommendations, you could investigate YunoJuno, a members-only marketplace of the best freelancers and employers. We registered, submitted the brief and had shortlisted a pool of on-brief options within the hour. This is definitely one to watch. Furthermore, any budget negotiations were direct with the freelancer – thus no middleman taking invisible fees. Built by folk from within the industry trying to address the very problem we face in agency land from the ground up – removing the middleman and facilitating direct conversations between agencies and professional freelancers.

Nick Whitehurst, chief executive at Whynot!