As May nears and you begin ramp to up your hiring process for new graduates in order to fill account planning, strategic planning, or research associate roles, it is imperative that you look for the following characteristics in prospective candidates:
1. An understanding of the field beyond the classroom:
Today’s business majors are taught to perform the Porter’s Five Forces Analysis with a blindfold on while simultaneously told how to compare the Red versus Blue Ocean strategies for a new product launch. However, they rarely have experience conducting research or presenting their thoughts to clients. Naturally, serious graduates will have expanded their educational knowledge base by practicing relevant skills to their career outside of the classroom.
2. Visionary thought leadership:
Digital marketers understand that in today’s world, content marketing is king. As my blog tag line states, “Your life is your brand, manage it”. One way to showcase one’s personal brand and unique thoughts on a certain topic is to actively publish original thought-sparking content on professional networking sites or blogs. It is necessary for these individuals to have demonstrated their digital authority within their domain.
3. A proven work ethic:
There are countless ways a candidate can pad their resume without stepping foot outside of their college dorm room from faking club memberships and other extracirriculars to having family members vouch for their “work” at the family business. These candidates naturally sort themselves out of the stack. If not apparent after a brief review of their social media channels or resume, these individuals often fail at making lasting first impressions during interviews (or –gulp-, the first day in the office). In comparison to these slackers, the perfect candidate does exist in the form of a graduate who has used their free time to explore their field with internships and extracurricular activities that affirm their commitment to their career and community.
When faced with a challenge hindering the completion of a project, the most qualified candidates will revert to their scrappy roots to aid in uncovering a solution that is both efficient and conscious of the budget. These candidates are the MacGyver of the office cubical. Give them a business problem stemming from human nature and watch them turn a stool in a coffee shop (and an unlimited refill cup) into insight heaven.
5. A passion for uncovering insights and building brands:
Regardless of a specific job function or role, a vast majority of research and advertising jobs are centered upon uncovering actionable insights and transforming those into strategies that support successful brand management. The best candidates will breathe brands, and dream of building them. Candidates who embody the research process while simultaneously possessing a keen understanding for human behavior will not be afraid of devoting countless hours to see a project from brief to launch.
If you have made it this far into the article, it is safe to assume that you are interested in hiring an account planner, strategic planner, or research analyst for your firm or agency within the next few months. Let me assure you that there are highly qualified millennial candidates out there. Often hidden behind the social stigmas that surround their generation, Millennials patiently wait in the wings for their curtain call. It is time to incorporate these individuals into your ranks and watch them flourish. Interested in hiring a candidate who possesses the traits listed above? My LinkedIn profile can be found here (I am an advertiser after all! ).
Garrett Meccariello is an aspiring brand strategist based out of NYC. In his free time he can be found building the next great brand, exploring the city, and eating a lot of cured meat and cheese.