Lewis Lazare: Talent Zoo, an ad agency headhunting firm that keeps tabs on hiring trends, often has insights we find to be on the mark. Its latest concern about a streak of “arrogance” in agency hiring these days struck us as worth sharing. Ragan Jones, associate vice president of recruiting, said:
In 2002, agencies could afford to be as picky as they wanted about hiring. They could demand pedigree and get it. In 2005, however, it is a candidate’s market, but most agencies out there just don’t get it. . . . Pedigree equates to experience working on big sexy accounts at big sexy agencies and graduation from a particular school — basically being the perfect “on paper” candidate.
Unfortunately, the ad agencies that do not see what is wrong with hiring based on pedigree alone are affecting the industry in a way that could jeopardize the industry’s future. Arrogance is killing this industry. Companies are willing to lose exceptionally talented people because they cannot see past their own egos or past a candidate’s first job at a less-than-stellar shop. It is . . . shifting the power and success to a certain few ad agencies, like Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Strawberry Frog, that actually get it. These companies use their brains — not their egos — to make hiring decisions.