Pedigree Is Dog Food

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.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.