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The NFL Draft of Advertising

Mike Krass • April 26, 2012 • 3 minutes to read

Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and more will headline the bright lights of New York City tonight.

That's right: Tonight is the 2012 NFL Draft.

Literally thousands of hours have gone into evaluating these soon-to-be professional athletes; interviews, film study, phone calls to ex-coaches ... well, you get the point.

Which made us think ...

How do marketing agencies evaluate talent?

While we can only speak for the way that we evaluate talent, I'm confident that our process is the result of past agency tutelage and experience.

So without further ado, here is how MKG Marketing evaluates talent ...

Referrals & References

Anytime we need to bring on an extra pair of hands, the first thing I do is reach out to someone in that specific industry that I trust.

The first thing I ask that person is: Who's doing 'XYZ' really well right now?

Followed by:

  • Have you personally worked with this individual / agency before?
  • What have others said to you about this individual / agency?
  • Would you hire them again?

This exercise helps me get a great firsthand account of their expertise AS WELL AS connects me with other references that I can contact if I feel like we need additional background.

The Social Setting Gauntlet 

Anybody can put on a shirt and tie, sit straight backed in a conference room and robotically answer interview questions.

So, next time we need to hire somebody to look out of place, uncomfortable and generally unhappy to sit in a conference room for 40 hours a week, I'll start using this tactic.

Instead, we like to get people / groups into social settings where we can have a candid conversation about what we need and if they can provide it for us. We prefer this for the following reasons:

  • Candid Answers: Being in a social setting (lunch, happy hour drinks, etc) helps lower anxiety and, eventually, let their guard down. We get to see a more candid version of the person we would potentially be working with instead of a scripted, robotic answering machine.
  • How They Treat Others: Watch how interviewees treat the wait staff at a bar as well as the patrons surrounding your table. Do they hold doors open for others and constantly thank the waitress? Conversely, does he oogle at the waitress when she walks by and scold others for being noisy?
  • Distractions, distractions, distractions: Social settings, like many things in life, are filled with distractions. How does the interviewee handle these distractions?

This Isn't a One Night Stand

We are always looking for quality partnerships -- usually FAR in advance of actual need -- and I am always completely transparent with potential partners as soon as we sit down.

We want to sit down and learn about your business over the course of a few conversations. You're not going to bed with us on the first date, so please treat our relationship with respect and understand that we need to vet you / your team.

Ridejoy, a startup based here in San Francisco, actually interviewed their community manager for 36 hours (over a weekend, no less) before they decided to extend her an offer (read about it)

So, How Do You Evaluate Potential New Employees?

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