What Does Our Agency Look Out for in New Hires?
Sarah: Hi everyone. Thanks for tuning in. I’m back with Callum today. Say hi.
Callum: Good morning.
Sarah: So for those of you who don’t know, besides SEO and tech requests, Callum is also in charge of bringing in new talents to our company, particularly for our Tech and our Content team. Callum was actually the person who recruited me when I applied for that Content Writer position in 2018. Good memories, right?
Sarah: Yeah. So today we’re gonna be talking a little bit about what we look out for in candidates who apply for roles at our agency, particularly for the technical side of the agency. So I think it’s pretty obvious that to qualify for a role, you need the skills and the portfolio. So let’s take a break from that because it’s pretty duh. Instead, let’s talk a little bit about the human aspect of things. So Callum, what kind of personality traits do you look out for in a new hire?
Callum: Good question, Sarah. So, there’s a few things that I look at when hiring someone. One of the first things, and because we do have a very international audience I would say, in Australia, we call it bulls***, over here in Singapore, we call it ‘smoke’. So the first thing that I look for, is this person trying to ‘smoke’ me? If they are, it’s a cross. So, an example would be when you’re trying to hire a tech person, you ask them to do an audit and they send you something that’s completely automated and you asked for something that’s manual, that’s smoke. Okay? The other thing I look for is someone who’s actually passionate about what they do. So that’s why I always ask copywriters and techs, do you have your own website that you actively work on? Because if you’re working on something out of hours, it means that you really enjoy what you’re doing. You are actually looking to succeed. Yeah.
Sarah: Oh, okay. Pretty interesting. So I think passion is definitely something that it’s important because I feel like if you are, you know, just working and working and working, it’s gonna be very hard for you to actually sustain especially in an agency where our work schedules are so hectic, but the good news is that I think all of us are pretty passionate about what we do.
Sarah: So I think that we all gel pretty well together. So I think, you know, before we actually get to the interview part of recruitment, there are a lot of ways applicants try to get your attention and sell themselves much like a sales person or ‘smoke’ as you say in Singapore context. So one of our viewers actually, they asked a question about how to build a good first impression and how to build a rapport. And I think that starts actually from the interview itself. So for you, when hiring someone for this agency, how do you separate the sales people who ‘smoke’ from a good hire and what kind of applicants make an impression on you?
Callum: Oh, okay. So the way that the process typically goes is, obviously you post a job ad, you get the resumes, so you skim through and look at their experience, things like that. If they pass the sniff test, all looks good. I will just call them up. So I just hit them up. Just have a very casual chat, not like a grilling or anything like that. Just sort of saying, you know, why they’re looking to move on from their current role, things that they do in their spare time and why they wanna actually join our agency, right? And then after that, once that is done, is when you actually get them into the office. Or right now it’s sort of virtual, but that’s when you can actually sort of put them under the pump a little bit and under the pump, I mean, you ask them very specific questions which actually filter them out. So let me give you a few examples. So say for a tech, alright this is an SEO tech, the best way, I feel, is to actually find someone who knows what they’re doing instead of just being able to, you know, ‘smoke’ me is when they come into the office, I will have a website that I know has got some specific technical SEO issues. And we’ll start chatting, we’ll start like asking him all of the different questions and things like that. And then I’ll say, can you do an audit for me right now on this site? That way, I’ve got every tool on my laptop and I pass him my laptop and I get him to project onto the TV or via zoom, whatever it is. And I’ll get them to do the audit on the spot for me. And yeah, it seems a little bit full on, but the thing is, is that people who know what they’re doing are keen to do that. And I’ve called out so many people who have just tried to ‘smoke’ me by doing that method. So I’ve had someone… Can’t say, obviously, but an applicant that came through and spoke a really good game, all this type of stuff. And then when I actually presented him with the audit, he just was like, “Oh, I don’t really know what to do.” So that to me is one of the fastest ways to actually, I guess, see if someone’s actually bulls***ing you or ‘smoking’ you. Yeah. One of the things Sarah, I think this relates to you as well, this is quite funny. When it comes to just going back to the trait sort of things, do you remember, it would have been the middle of last year and there was that young lady that walked up at the office, the content writer?
Sarah: Yeah, I remember.
Callum: Yeah, so just for the audience, We weren’t actually even hiring for a copywriter. And this lady just walked up at reception. I saw her and I said, I’m like, so do you have an appointment with someone? She’s like, “No, no. I’m just looking to apply as a content writer.” I’m like, Oh. And I’m like, checking my appointments for the day. And I couldn’t see anything. And I was like, alright, let’s go and have a chat. And I went and sat down with this girl and I was asking, have you had the experiences at writing before? And she’s like, “No.” And I’m like, can you show me any of your work? And she’s like, “No.” And I’m like, okay, well, you know, if we were looking for someone, it would need to be someone with experience. However, I admire people who have that, I don’t think, there’s any other way to put it than that have b*lls to actually just come up to the office and do that. That’s a very simple way to put it. Yeah. So I like that in someone. So I said to her, this is not right for you right now. Here are some resources. Come back to us within six to 12 months if you have actually done some writing work. So I found that really interesting.
Sarah: Yeah, it was. I remember that it was just last year around June, right?
Sarah: So, it was an interesting experience, but yeah. So thanks for sharing that, Callum. I think the point that we’re trying to prove here is that obviously aptitude is important, but I believe attitude can also make or break a recruiter’s impression on a new hire. So yeah, it’s pretty interesting. And we were also doing this video because you wanted to show our viewers what SEO agencies are looking out for when they actually hire somebody. So hopefully this was helpful to you if you are thinking of joining an agency or you’re thinking of joining the marketing industry altogether. And so, yeah. Thanks for joining me, Callum.
Callum: No worries, thank you.
Sarah: It was a really helpful video which also shed some light about what agencies look out for when they’re hiring. And yes, this brings us to the end of our video. Till next time, bye.
Callum: All right. See you guys.