Hello, fellow advertising agency recruiter. I was just working on something that reminded me of boomerang candidates and how much I like them. When I take a look at someone’s resume and see they’ve been hired by one agency more than once, it suggests a potential good hire.
Why? They’re capable/proven, they might have a relationship-based personality, and you have a better sense for culture fit. Below are a few hundred words on professionals who are boomerangs at other agencies.
We’ll also take a look at creating a new boomerang, and discuss pros & cons of hiring someone who used to work at your agency.
First, let’s tackle a a candidate that another agency has hired twice.
They’re good at what they do and being a boomerang proves it
Being hired by the same agency more than once hired suggests a candidate that’s definitely worth further exploration. Because someone thought well enough of them to hire them again. So to this advertising agency recruiter, this proves not only a given skill set, but it suggests the candidate may work and play well with others, too.
This is important, because being a good human is also part of the hiring equation. Our business can be stressful and exhausting. It requires teams to spend lots of time with each other. Hire someone you think can make eating crab rangoon take-out at 7p a more enjoyable experience. Odds are good a boomerang won’t hog the sweet & sour sauce.
A returning staffer suggests a relationship-based personality
While I like boomerang candidates, I LOVE candidates who have relationship-based personalities. In many ways, a relationship-based professional is the opposite of Type A. Relationship-based personalities focus on connection. And they must feel comfortable and have trust established before they talk business. Bonds, teams and interpersonal connections are important to candidates with relationship-based personalities.
Suffice to say, if you’re recruiting for an agency that has some of these relationship-based qualities, a boomerang might be a good cultural fit for your shop. Which can help keep that professional around, thereby increasing agency staff retention, lowering your future recruiting costs and earning better fitting referrals.
These candidates better reflect their repeat agency’s culture
Some agencies have cultural pedigrees and reputations. They’re known for things. If you know what an agency is known for, and you see a candidate’s worked there a couple of times, you begin to get a sense for what spice that candidate can bring to your agency’s gumbo.
Maybe everyone likes what you’re serving up. Or maybe you need a little more cayenne pepper. Like the gumbo at that other agency.
But what about YOUR agency? Should you hire someone who’s previously worked at your shop?
Sure. Boomerangs can be known entities, easier to train, lower turnover, and yes, can provide competitive advantage. Odds are good the new role will be a more senior one for this proven professional. They’ll have picked up a skill or two since working at your agency. They may also have a professional contact or relationship that can help. All of which will help your hiring managers think you’re a good recruiter. Here’s a little bit of writing from the IT world that goes into hiring boomerangs.
Of course, there are cons, too, of course. Perhaps you might think twice about the candidate’s loyalty, or maybe the candidate has existing bad blood / experiences with current staffers. Totally understandable why you might hesitate with a potential boomerang. Your mileage will vary with a given situation.
What both the candidate and agency will be trying to do here is figure out if their respective needs match. Just like any situation. But the boomerang nature can help make that job easier due to shared culture, connections, understanding and perspective.
Be prepared to talk about what’s changed at the agency. What’s different in terms of the situation the candidate had back then versus what’s going on now. As an advertising agency recruiter, you may not know what those differences are, as this person may have worked at the shop before you were there. So, consider starting the conversation around their past at your shop. Ask those questions early so you can make those differences more clear.
If you want more boomerangs, think Bluto Blutarsky.
Think college. This writing reminded me of this idea. And as a new business guy, I’d also spend a few hours looking at college alumni marketing and fundraising programs.
I’d also look at how large law firms recruit talent and develop new business. Law firms have similar recruiting challenges, sailing on the billable sea of sameness. So why not borrow (read: steal) an idea or two from that category. There’s some brilliant thinking out there that can inspire on-brand and effective boomerang advertising agency recruiting programs.
So next time you run across a boomerang candidate, consider they might have built-in qualities. They could be proven performers, are relationship and trust-focused, and might reflect your agency’s culture.
Thanks for reading. Don’t know about you, but this article has made me hungry. And yearn for the open sea. Hope you’re not seasick or gluten-free!
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