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January 29, 2008
Thinking About Jumping Ship?

Anyone on the hiring end knows that our industry is currently experiencing a worsening talent drought. Some of you may be looking around – in fact, I’d bank on it since you are reading this on the Talent Zoo website. It may be a good time to reevaluate your current position. Through staying close to our team here at MindComet I am able to share some of their insight into key points you should consider. Read these and think hard about how they may apply to you.

Who do I work for?

Interactive marketing is about building client relationships using marketing, communications, and cutting edge technology to support the building process. In other words, your company is worth little without its team members. You should start your relationship building practice within, and with your employees first. In the interactive space, where money isn’t everything, fun, nurturing, and exciting opportunities rule the day. Team members need leaders that listen, qualified teammates who know how to collaborate, the ability to enjoy life outside work, and room to move horizontally or vertically depending on preferences for knowledge expansion across mediums or increased corporate responsibilities.

Where am I working?

Employees are tired of Chicago winters, the cost of living in New York or San Francisco, and the traffic in Los Angeles or Seattle; they may be thinking about a change of venue. Whether they are looking for a lifestyle change, the ability to buy a house, or take mass transit to work, there are many alternatives. For those who want to make their mark, there are plenty of opportunities in smaller venues to play a larger role (and maybe even have a life) in nascent interactive markets.

Moving to a smaller market no longer means sacrificing working with the best and brightest. At our company, we have some of the most geographically diverse and talented team members of any interactive agency nationwide. Our team includes members who started their careers in LA, Denver, Miami, Chicago, and New York who left the environmental stress of larger markets for the higher quality of life that Central Florida offers. The pull of less stress is a major one that you need to consider.

What am I doing?

Interactive agencies should provide their employees a unique mix between an interactive marketing and consulting, and the opportunity to create and advance new technologies. Large market interactive agencies partner with industry leaders around the country to provide clients with the highest level of collaborative return. While it is very important to give team members access to blue chip and bleeding edge work experience, operations and overhead costs associated with larger markets often drive other metrics which negatively affect team building.

Companies with smaller market headquarters can keep production costs low enough to give them an edge over the larger agencies in key geographical areas while still having a presence for accounts in those larger markets. So, it is vital that you get to interact with the clients and learn consultatively – otherwise, why would you stay where you are?

Who am I working with?

Interactive agency team members work very closely with one another often under time constraints and other external pressures. Therefore, employers must take hiring for these teams very seriously. New interactive candidates should be given the opportunity to participate in behavioral interviews and undergo situational response assessment prior to being invited on board.

We hold recruiting socials that allow candidates an opportunity to mingle with executives and future team members. Social events also provide an opportunity for candidates to brainstorm and present to the team. Candidates are given unique homework assignments so they can show us their skills in a real life interactive agency scenario. This process allows both the candidate and the company to assess if the fit is right. Your interview process should not start and end across a desk.

Am I having any fun?

Every company tells recruits that they are committed to a positive work environment, but not all companies take nurturing a positive work environment, and fun, seriously. Due to the nature of the interactive vertical, your company’s reputation for being “not fun” may already precede your recruiting attempts. The best companies in our space have team members who truly love their jobs and the culture THEY create. But, your employer should work at nurturing it.

If the extent of your firm’s team-building is a monthly happy hour, maybe you should be thinking about sending out your resume. With interactive employment in a seller’s market, what are you waiting for?

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As Vice President of Marketing for MindComet, Tara Lamberson leads the interactive agency by developing long-term marketing strategies and a diverse knowledge of Internet marketing strategies, online advertising, search marketing and new communication technologies. Preceding Lamberson's role she served as director of strategy, playing a significant role in exceeding business objectives for clients such as the Walt Disney Co., Fox Television, Earthlink and others.
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