Deciding to make the career move to a new digital agency is always a difficult task. But at least when it comes to reviewing a formal job offer some of the factors involved can be compared as apples to apples. Salary, vacation, bonuses, pension or retirement plans… plenty the fundamentals can always be held up side by side.
The type of work in which an agency specializes and factors such as its size and location are also obvious considerations when making a career switch, but information on this is usually made very clear by the interview process itself.
But there is one extremely important variable which is harder to quantify, and also challenging to gauge during the interview – culture.
The job can be perfect, the pay package enticing… but if the culture doesn’t fit, the move can still finish up being a step in the wrong direction.
So how do we analyze ‘culture’?
Basically, there are two parts to evaluating a digital agency’s cultural make-up – the general corporate culture, as could be compared to any other type of business, and those factors more specific to the niche of Digital Marketing.
On the general side, some handy pointers for assessing corporate culture include:
Your interview experience
This can tell you a lot about the company itself, or at least the team you may be working with. Do people seem relaxed or stressed? Were they well prepared and professional, or making it up on the fly? Was the experience formal and corporate, or relaxed and friendly?
Depending on the level of position for which you interview, you will get some exposure to the company’s top brass. However, there are always opportunities to gain a better understanding of corporate leadership’s vision, even if you don’t interview with the CEO.
These include blogs, press releases, interviews, management biographies etc. They’re not always filled with generic buzzwords, and can be very insightful.
Taking time in your interview to ask about the social aspect of work is another easy indicator. Are there corporate sports teams, activities, trips…? How regular are they, and how well attended?
When looking deeper into the specifics of the agency’s culture from a delivery standpoint, it can help to inquire about:
Within digital agencies, the degree to which one marketing channel team is silo-ed off from another can speak volumes about the agency’s culture, and different structures suit different candidates.
Looking to dig down deep into Paid Social and don’t want to be distracted by constant meetings with other channel team representatives? A more segmented culture may work for you.
Wanting to broaden your skillset and retain exposure to other channels? A more integrated style might fit better.
Account Performance Analytics
Within some agencies, delivery is all about the end customer experience. As such, all team members working on a particular account, regardless of channel, are asked to fully engage on the overall account health, growth and satisfaction.
This can be frustrating for some who feel it takes the spotlight off their individual efforts and mixes everything into a team effort, but also rewarding for those who like to have a wider-lens understanding of the end impact of their contribution.
A major blindspot for many interviewers is focusing training-based questions on their immediate role. Sure, most agencies will commit to ensuring you receive all the training you need to fulfil your short-term function.
But what about the longer term – how often is your agency prepared to teach you something NEW? The world of digital moves fast, and if you’re looking to widen your skills and ensure you don’t grow obsolete as the world of digital marketing evolves, this can be a key point to raise.
There a lot of factors to take into consideration when you’re about to make the move into a new agency. In my professional opinion, when you look beyond the basic salary and vacation offers, the company culture of the agency is the best telling sign of your future potential success.
In the constantly growing landscape of digital marketing there will always be a better salary you can work towards. But if you have great coworkers, a management with a holistic vision for the future, and plenty of opportunities for professional growth; then you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you’ve arrived at the right culture fit.
Ben Wattenbach recruits for digital roles across all levels of seniority (mid-level to C-suite) with a focus on SEO, Paid Search & Paid Social, Display & Programmatic Advertising, Analytics & CRO, UX, Email & CRM Marketing, eCommerce, Digital Project/Account Management and Digital Transformation. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn for a networking conversation.
Tel: +44 208 123 0758
Email: ben.wattenbach (@) adaptive-digital.com
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