Five trends that dominated media headhunting in 2014

MTA media headhuntersIt seems like 2014 has shot by in a blur. The executive search industry moves fast, and for us this year seems to have moved particularly quickly. Yet, here we are with the calendar year drawing to a close. Well, what better time could there to pause and look back at some of the major trends and challenges that clients (and us headhunters) have witnessed and undergone in that time?

Here is my guide to the major themes of 2014 for headhunters and their clients: (more…)

Can gamification final make a mark on the recruitment sector in 2015?

With Christmas round the corner you’d think weary journalists and bloggers would begin to relax, to picture mince pies and a warming fire. This isn’t the case. Around now, fear rises. The mouth gets dry, the head light. They know it’s inevitable: any minute now the editor will lumber over and ask the question they’ve spent most of December hoping to avoid:

“Old chap,” the editor says. “Fancy writing a few hundred on what’s going to be big next year?”

Dusting off the crystal ball is amongst the most loathed of journalistic tasks: when asked to make predictions on what will set a certain industry alight in the next 12 months, it’s usually a toss-up between making grand proclamations that immediately turn you into a hostage to fortune, or saying so little as to barely cast your imagination forward at all. In short, it’s an unenviable task. But that said, let’s give it a go anyway… (more…)

Are you successfully tracking your content marketing efforts?

Content marketing. It’s come to save us all, hasn’t it? With consumers looking around every available social network for information and entertainment, all brands have to do is provide satisfying content and in return people will be only to pleased to fill their coffers. Right?

Well, stone me. It’s a little bit more complicated than that. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, brands are either having difficulty (or simply not bothering to…) to measure the value of their work.

Just 21 per cent of B2B marketers claimed they were successfully tracking the ROI of their content marketing campaigns. (more…)

Programmatic ads, Martin Sorrell, and what they mean for agency and other media jobs

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal summed it up succinctly: some brands, it said, are increasingly using programmatic systems to buy digital ads themselves, rather than paying third parties to do so for them. A survey from Forrester Research and the Association of National Advertisers suggests a reason: it says 46% of marketers are concerned about the transparency of agencies tasked to buy online ads. Put simply, if the agency doesn’t tell you how much of your money its live buying desk spending on ads, and how much it’s taking as a fee, fears can spread.

(If you’re unsure of what programmatic ads are – might be an idea to pause here and read this…) (more…)

Five key mistakes firms repeatedly make when recruiting senior executives

MTA media headhuntersHiring the right senior talent into your business can be a time-consuming and expensive process. That’s where engaging the right executive search team to source talent can be crucial – it’s a time-saving and, ultimately, cost-effective process.

Time and time again we see hiring managers do things that, in the long-run, set them back. Common mistakes get made and, if not put right, they can repeatedly cost the hiring firm.

Here’s a quick and easy guide to the type of mistakes that occur time and again when recruiting senior executives - and the simple steps that can be put in place to rectify them: (more…) how increased transparency can affect executive recruitment?

As headhunters, one of the questions we get asked most (other than ‘how much is it paying?’) is ‘how is our company perceived out in the wider market?’ It’s something of which busy company directors can easily lose sight. In fact, I’ve been asked that question twice this week.

The nature of my executive recruitment job means I talk to hundreds of people every week, and in doing so I pick up an enormous amount of chatter about how happy (or unhappy) people are in their roles. Sometimes the reasons are personal – say, a lack of opportunities for progression. At other times, they’re directly related to office culture. We get a lot of the latter. If you’re in senior management in the media, the chances are we have a better idea of how prospective employees perceive your company than you do.

Earlier this week, I spent a fascinating half-hour or so on For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a bit like Tripadvisor for job seekers. It give people an opportunity to hear a number of views on what it’s like to work somewhere, before they sign on the dotted line. On my first visit, I immediately looked up 20 companies I’ve worked extensively for in the past. And on every single occasion, the feedback was pretty much as I’d expected. (more…)

Paddy Power: edgy content marketing, banded ads

If you’re a upstart brand looking to carve a sizeable place in your market and grow quickly, then a little controversy never really hurts. The theory goes that nothing stretches the money you have available for publicity like running edgy campaigns that risk censure.

Step forward online bookmaker Paddy Power and its roster of ads featuring the tranquillizing of chavs, tasering tea ladies, and refund offers if Oscar Pistorious was found not guilty – an ad eventually banned by the authorities.

Paddy Power has deliberately set out to drive business forward with an edgy and irreverent content marketing strategy that appeals to its target audience of young men, but the online bookmaker’s approach isn’t simply a matter of producing shocking ads time and time again, it’s more nuanced. (more…)

Programmatic ads: can they disrupt agencies and threaten ad sales jobs?

If you buy ad space on behalf of advertisers and a technology comes along that, almost overnight, undermines your business model and makes it staggeringly easy for clients to place ads themselves, you might well have a few sleepless nights, perhaps even considering what other ad sales jobs are available.

Well, say hello to ‘programmatic advertising’.

The term isn’t one familiar to many, but for those focused on the future of ad sales and marketing, programmatic advertising is rapidly becoming the thing that dominates their thinking. (more…)

Clickbait won’t help local newspaper business models, building communities will

A few weeks ago, a disgruntled newspaper journalist said to me “the rationale seems to be ‘why bother doing your USP well, when you can do the ubiquitous badly?’” It’s a question many journalists of my acquaintance have been struggling with. I’m sure they would sympathise with Gareth Davies, Chief Reporter at the Croydon Advertiser, who publicly vented his fury on Twitter after fellow Local World website, the Maidstone & Medway News, ran a story on the celebrity nude photo hacking scandal.

I’m sure most people would agree this isn’t a story of immediate relevance to the Maidstone & Medway area, and many journalists of my acquaintance are queasy to say the least about the proliferation of ‘clickbait’. The website’s editor, Simon Finlay, defended the decision, saying “we’re trying to drive an audience to our site… [these stories] do get us thousands of hits and that’s a good thing.” (more…)

The costs of making bad executive appointments – and how to avoid them

MTA media headhuntersBad senior or executive appointments, most businesses have made them. An established firm would be hard-pressed not to have made a bad hire or two in their time; it’s almost unavoidable. The trick is to learn from that and to reduce the number you make in future. But how do you go about doing that?

The biggest error an organisation can make – especially when it comes to senior management – is choosing the wrong candidate for the role – trying to make a square peg fit a round hole. This may sound obvious but getting the candidate wrong is still a widespread problem.

According to a global survey of 6,000 HR and hiring managers carried out by Careerbuilder, 62% of UK firms admitted to having made poor appointments. (more…)