WEIGHING OPTIONS: How Do You Know If A Small Agency is Right For You?

An applicant for an internship at Carson Dunn Media sent me a rather terse email: “This agency is not a good fit for me.” The letter didn’t bare the usual obligatory statement thanking me for the interview. I wondered if I had painted a bleak picture that caused her to keep looking elsewhere. The interview addressed our uniqueness – our consistent multi-cultural flavor of personnel. I also addressed the fact we are a small shop with qualities engendered to organizations of similar size as ours.

The size of a creative shop has nothing to do with the proficiency and quality of the work. A small shop classification had more to do with the size of the accounts our agency handles. Despite our size, we are capable of being major league. Maybe that confused the applicant.

Assuming we are good at what we do, maybe she should have asked if talents were versatile enough.

Small shops aren’t for everyone. A lot of times, a person would rather have the invisibleness attainable in a larger agency and all that goes with it. After all, a larger agency has larger teams of creatives that can absorb a person – along with their weaknesses and faults, an extension of the school approach — ten students to a project and little personal accountability.

Let me point out the qualities a small agency wants of a staff member.

  • An individual must embrace the company ethic and principals.
  • They must understand equality and value of each staffer.
  • An individual must be versatile because many hats must be worn.
  • Despite this, the staffer must use their core strengths to improve the deliverance of services.
  • No matter their background, respect each staffer and celebrate their ethnic differences.
  • It is essential to be supportive of each other to bond as a team.
  • No one is better than the other person – we all count equally.
  • Trust team members and help hone their skills, and your own.

There are many other things I could list, but really it would become repetitious.  Here’s an essential in every job relationship: The right attitude and initiative can lead to professional growth. The applicant that sent the terse letter apparently places no credence in the concept of exhibiting the right attitude, even during the interview. If you are snot, you are an undesirable presence.  Small agencies want people who can do things beyond the job description.  As an example, a copywriter may have to assist the agency’s media buying component.  They must move from position to position. If one isn’t prepared to accept that possibility, it’s best you turn the position down.

I regularly encourage my staff emphasizing the capacity to allow their versatile to manifest. We are a team, I tell them. Additional responsibility goes with it.  Failure to embrace that idea means no agency is right for you.

Bernard A. McNealy

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