Many smaller agencies get enamored with a job candidate with large agency experience. They can drop some great brand names and tell some amazing stories. But, can they be successful in a smaller shop?

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week coming to you from Nashville, Tennessee. You know, I had an interesting conversation with some agency owners today about an employee that one of the agency owners is struggling with. And one of the traits of this employee, which became more and more apparent was part of the problem, is that this employee had only worked in larger agencies. And I will tell you that one of the common truths that I see is that it is very difficult, not saying impossible, but very difficult for someone who’s always worked in larger shops, a hundred plus people, to come down to a 20-person shop or 25-person shop. The work is so different. The client size and the budgets are different, but more importantly, the way they worked is very different. They were used to having a team around them, typically. They are used to have not really being much of a doer. And in most small to mid-sized agencies, employees have to be able to both think and know things, but also do something. They have a skillset that they bring to the party. And so if somebody is used to working in a larger shop where they were supervising and they were thinking, and maybe they were an idea generator, but they really didn’t have to get their hands too dirty. It’s very difficult for them, especially without support, assistance, project managers, junior Aes, without that support to actually get a lot of the work done, they really struggle. And so, as you are going through a lot of your hiring right now, one of the red flags for you should be, I’m not saying don’t hire them, but one of the red flags that is worthy of more conversation in the interviews is if somebody, that one of your candidates, has only worked in larger shops. I want you to think about it and ask about the kind of work they did, how much support they had, how much time they had in larger agencies. Typically, larger clients, the turn is much longer than in small agencies. And so, there are several factors that are very different in your shop than they are from a large agency’s perspective. And so, I just want you to be mindful of that as you’re interviewing, not saying it can’t work, but I am saying 90 times out of 100, it doesn’t go so well. So, all I’m saying is tread carefully. If that’s one of the traits of one of the candidates you’re considering, just be mindful of the fact that their life was very different in a bigger shop, and you need to really probe to see if they are capable of changing their ways enough to be successful inside your smaller agency. All right, I’ll be back next week. See you then.

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