How to hire an ad agency -- or anyone else.

Just the other day, I was reading a post on another list, where someone asked which qualities to look for when you hire someone to work in an ad agency. It got me thinking (a rare occurrence itself, eh?) about how hiring FOR an agency carries much of the same criteria you should seek when you hire an agency for your business.

It really doesn't matter whether you're hiring for an "internet agency" or just a plain old-fashioned radio-print-TV type. The qualities you need rack up pretty much the same way.

So when you hire someone at an advertising agency, what do you look for? What set of skills should this person have? Are those skills are being taught at universities?

The fast answer is "no", the universities are not training new agency hires properly. But then again, they never have. In fact, three of the scariest letters I know are "MBA", which I've always understood to stand for "More Bad Attitude".

I always look for two things in a new recruit, be he/she recent graduate or grey-haired pro: 1. Common sense 2. Initiative. Most recruits have neither, but if you want to sort the wheat from the chaff, here's the test we use:

We have an intern policy posted at our site (http://www.frankel-anderson.com/intern.html). In case you're just not in the mood to click over there, here's the basic proposition:

So, you want to be an intern.....

Look, I'll be honest with you: Lots of people send us e-mail asking about our intern program. But here's the deal: This is Frankel & Anderson, not your traditional mucky-muck ad agency. This is the home of Advertising, Marketing & Killer Creative SM .

We're not like any other agency. We're 100% digital. Which means we do everything through the phone lines. We service our clients through the net, whether they're in Dallas, Detroit or Denmark. They might want business plans, print ads, web marketing, web sites, corporate identification, radio or TV commercials.

The thing is, you don't have to be here to intern for us. You have to have access to the net.

Our interns earn real money.

It's true. But there's a reason why they make money: they earn it. Yup. If you intern for us, you're gonna do what people in business do: make money. And not just a little pocket change for sorting the mail nicely. Our policy is simple:

At Frankel & Anderson, you get to start at the top: as the new business specialist.

That means that you bring us an account. We'll help you service it. We'll supply what you need, when you need it. We'll let you in on the planning, the strategizing and client contact. And the best part is, we'll give you a healthy chunk of the profits.

What's that? You want to get paid to run around drinking espresso and showing off your pierced tongue? Sorry, wrong agency. You want to play with the big boys?

Fill out this form if you think you can handle it.

It's basically a newcomer's dream, but in the years we've been in business, NOBODY has taken us up on it.

Nobody has even tried.

The best indicators of good agency employees are the ones that persist and overcome the barriers placed in their path. They do it by thinking around or though it. Those are the people that I'm personally interested in.

And that's the stuff they DON'T teach at college.

Don't get me wrong, a good liberal arts education is important. More important than the online stuff that's probably obsolete anyway. But I hire thinkers. They're the rarest breed.

Rob Frankel

Rob Frankel is co-host of the nationally-syndicated radio show LOG ON USA, a business opinion columnist for Ziff Davis' Internet magazine, speaker, consultant and president of Frankel & Anderson, America's first 100% digital advertising and marketing agency. You can reach Rob directly at Contact Us , see/hear samples of Killer Creative at http://www.frankel-anderson.com and subscribe to his FrankelBiz newsletter and transaction/discussion list.

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