Corporate or agency culture is becoming more of a buzzword than any other when it comes to marketing these days. Companies are clamoring to offer the coolest spaces, best vacation policy, maternity/paternity leave, flexible work schedule, wellness classes and even foosball tables in an effort to attract (and keep) great talent.

At PRESS, we do most of those things (minus the foosball table). But beyond the veneer of “Aren’t we having so much fun?!” is the truth. We hire for culture and it starts with each individual person and what they bring to the office every day.

We have all had a boss or colleague who isn’t our favorite, but why does it have to be that way?

We have all had a boss or colleague who isn’t our favorite, but why does it have to be that way? I have worked at PRESS for nine years and have had a personal hand in every new hire the entire time. Personally, that involvement in the process is the reason the culture here at PRESS is so rewarding.

I know a lot of companies will tout that hiring for culture is of utmost importance – and they’re right – but, how do you do it successfully? For us at PRESS, it’s an all-hands-on-deck process. It’s not easy, but there is a lot at stake and we make the decision as a group. Here is the framework we use to pick our next superstar.

SCOUTING

Before we even create the job description, I host a meeting with the team. I go through the client load for the upcoming six to 12 months. I tell them what our scope of work will be for each client, the length of the upcoming term and who will be handling each account.

From there, I leave everyone with an assignment. Tell me if you will need help. Tell me what kind of help you will need and tell me what skills are needed from the person who will be helping you. I have everyone email this information directly to me to provide an objective view from each person.

With their needs in hand, I create a job description. Everyone reviews the job description and has the opportunity to weigh in. When everyone is in agreeance, we post the opening on LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, PRSA and then PRESS’ website, social media and personal networks.

DRAFT

A lot of resumes come across our desks. I take the time to go through each one individually to determine how their skills match up with the job description. Sometimes, a candidate is an excellent person to hire, but perhaps doesn’t fit exactly the skill set we are looking for at that time. Unfortunately, I have to put them into the “No” pile (and it pains me to do so). I narrow down the list of hundreds of applicants to no more than 10-20 people. Then it’s time for me to hand off the list of PR hopefuls to our skills coach, Vanessa. 

PRE-SEASON

Vanessa will host phone interviews with each candidate. We have a series of questions that we refined over time that help us determine the type of person and worker someone will be. Email me and we will be happy to share it!

Vanessa has honed her interviewing skills over the last five years. She has been at PRESS for almost seven years and knows what we are looking for in a teammate. Through the phone interviews, we narrow down the list of potential PRESSers down to four.

THE FINAL CUT

Now here comes the part that must be terrifying for anyone interviewing here. The in-person interview is made up of everyone that person will be working with. Our most recent new hire was interviewed by four of us at once. Oh, and did I mention we don’t tell the interviewee that it’s a group interview until they arrive?

I know, it seems cruel, but let me explain myself.  Do you know how many times in PR we are thrown into intimidating situations with high stakes and need to execute flawlessly? All. The. Time.

We’re not intimidating at all right?

Do you know how many times in PR we are thrown into intimidating situations with high stakes and need to execute flawlessly? All. The. Time.

So, we all interview the person at the same time. Each of us asks a different set of questions that we feel will help to open up the person so that we can learn a little but more about him or her. At the end of the interviews, we immediately talk about which candidate is our favorite and why. Recently, our last round of interviews boiled it down to two candidates. It was an incredibly hard decision as either person would have been perfect. But there’s always a little something that pushes you towards a candidate.

Within two weeks of our new hire starting, it was as if she had been here forever. She was being invited over to watch the finale of The Bachelor, lunch plans were being made and since she was new to the area, everyone helped show her great areas to live.

As far as being happy at your job, isn’t that really what it’s all about? Don’t get me wrong, I love flex schedules and vacations as much as the next girl, but what I really love is coming into the office and talking to my friends. Not my “work friends,” my actual friends.

***As a funny aside because all great stories have footnotes. When we interviewed these four candidates, we ALL happen to be wearing the same thing. I mean, seriously, look at the picture. It was borderline creepy. These people must have thought we were a cult. I DIE laughing every time I think of being their shoes and walking into the interview room!

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