Finding the perfect fit

Agency life, particularly in the PR industry relies on dynamic teams of different individuals that ‘gel’ together to create dynamic content and produce impressive creative ideas for mind blowing PR campaigns. So, it’s essential that when PR agencies look at possibly expanding and adding new members to the team, they look for individuals that will be the perfect piece of the missing puzzle – but which piece is more important?

During any hiring processes, the obvious thing you want is to make sure of is that your potential candidate has the basic skills and qualifications for the job. At the end of the day, you need to know that they will be able to execute the task at hand without you having to hold their hand. However, there is more to the hiring process, of course skills and qualification are important, but skills can be taught – so then, what is a deciding factor for finding the perfect candidate for your team and for the organisation?

In my view, things like personality, beliefs, hobbies and their views and outlook on life also give an indication of whether this addition makes sense for the business and for the team. Because, while this is about expansion within the business and the team having support, it is just as important to find an employee that will work well with the existing team – the all-important culture fit. Of course, this also means that it is vital to ensure that existing team members have had a chance to vet the individual to get a sense of whether there will be viable working relationship. Never an easy task over an hour interview – do you go on gut or do you create a checklist that must be ticked?

For me, it was a bit of both. Let me start with the checklist.

Check list to finding the perfect fit (The list is dependent on the business needs)

  • Does the candidate have the basic skills set for the job?
  • Do they have relevant work experience? Real work experience – that they can prove and are proud of.
  • Do they agree with your business and office culture? By this I mean, they don’t merely agree in an interview – but can they really work within the vision and culture of a business?
  • Do they have a personality that is inviting, warm and intriguing? We are in PR – so, yes, a skill of understanding how to engage people is vital. Do they have a passion for what they do? Are they proud of the work they deliver – do they understand how our sector is changing and what this means for PR?
  • Do they have long and short-term goals? I know – standard question – but really helps to gain a view of who this person is.
  • Are they a team player? Reference check, reference check!
  • Do they have the willingness to learn new things? So, ask them some hard questions – and see how they respond or how they would find out this information?
  • Do you see potential of the candidate fitting within your organisation? Potential is everything – as people need room and space to grow, otherwise they will get bored far too quickly.
  • Is there something valuable that they are bringing to the table that will be useful to the team and business?

So, the next time you venture into possibly expanding your team, take a moment to think about what you really need and how you could assimilate the ‘ideal’ candidate into the organisation. While it may not guarantee that you make the right decision, but at least it will give you an opportunity to figure out which candidate may actually benefit to your business –and foster a great working relationship between your employees.

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Refilwe Monyai

Refilwe Monyai

Senior Strategic Comms Lead

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