Recruiting: Finding & Developing Talent that Aligns with Your Core Values

Grayson Lafrenz
By Grayson Lafrenz

Recruiting is a challenge for every company, but there is nothing more important than getting the best talent and putting them in the best positions to be successful.

At Power Digital, we have done this both very well and very poorly. There are a few key ways that we’ve been able to harness our recruiting power, which has landed us on the Inc 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies two years in a row.

Keep a Full “Bench”

One of our core philosophies that I preach to all of our department heads is to have a strong bench. When you have a bench full of great candidates, you already have a perfect person who we know on a much deeper level than an initial interview. Then when we have the need, we can confidently pull the trigger and make the right hire.

Our philosophy at Power Digital to building our team, developing talent, and focusing on recruitment is modeled after that of the Patriots. Although I can’t stand them as a Charger’s fan, one thing they do best is manage, develop, and put their players in positions to win big, which is why they have been the most dominant sports team and organization for the past 15 years.

Develop Young Talent

The Patriots’ formula and what we do at Power Digital is to have an incredible draft. For us, our version of the draft is our world-class internship program.

We get the most driven and dedicated students during their junior year of college and out of this group the true stand-out stars will come out victorious from the internship program and when they graduate will solidify a full-time position with Power Digital. That is where our core young talent comes from. They are malleable, coachable, and hungry to learn, grow, and work hard.

Bring in Strategic “Free Agents”

In addition to this we go after strategic free agents, but only the ones who will make a huge impact and bring something to the table that we don’t already have. This person also needs to deeply align with our core values. This is key in our recruitment plan because it means that when we add these veterans to the team, we don’t have ego and politics. One thing we won’t stand for here at Power Digital is politics and drama; we are a team and win and lose together. Anyone who thinks they are above that doesn’t have space here and I believe that no one is talented enough to not follow this playbook.

One thing to keep in mind is to not fall into the free agent trap, where you’re constantly looking for veterans who can be pricey, come with different processes, and may not have the same values. That’s why it’s critical to have a blended team of home grown talent as well as a select number of strategic additions who bring more perspective and high-level insight.

Our Formula Works

This is the formula that has worked for us over the past six years:

Draft top young talent & train up on PDM processes

+

Bring in strategic veterans to offer new perspective

=

Grow team, maintain company culture and win BIG for clients

Always Be Recruiting (ABR)

Recruiting does not stop. At Power Digital and the best companies out there, recruitment is a long-term and constant play. As we keep our bench full of perspective new hires, we are looking for our next class of “draftees” from local universities as well as creating a running list and funnel of veteran prospects that we are talking to and building relationships with.

As I mentioned, with these vets we want to have an established relationship with each one even before we have a need to hire because it’s important to “date” before you get “married.” What I mean by this is they want to know us and how we work as a company, and we want to know them, their work ethic, and how they will make a positive impact on our company culture.

This also gives these candidates the chance to know more about Power Digital and our strengths as well as our flaws and what might not be as fun about the job. They need to know what they are getting into and they should be as excited as we are, so this is a key component to making sure that when we do pull the trigger it’s with the perfect fit long-term.

Create Roles that Fit your Players and Talent

One of the things about free agents is a lot of times they maybe don’t fit into the exact role we have available that we’re recruiting for. Another thing is that every agency has roles that sound the same based off of a job title, but in reality the role itself is very different from agency to agency.

This is exactly why we care about creating a role where they will have the biggest impact at Power Digital, rather than trying to slam a square peg in a round hole. If the talent is there and is going to bring a badass marketing perspective to the company, there is always an opportunity to mold a role that caters to their strengths and what they can bring to Power Digital.

This is a big part of our path to leadership:

A huge part of how we have grown from 15 to 65 people over the past three years is giving the team the endless opportunity to innovate and create roles and product offerings that act as additional profit centers for our company and bring better results to our clients. This has happened across basically every department at Power Digital, which actually started as an SEO agency:

  • We’ve grown our PR department to include an entire Influencer Marketing full-service offering complete with an in-house, proprietary influencer database.
  • Our Content team has grown to include funnels, email, and creative.
  • The Social team most recently added LinkedIn outreach and Pinterest clusters to its service offering.
  • The Paid Media team has expanded to offer YouTube, Bing, and even Amazon ads.

At Power Digital, it’s not about what your job description says. In fact, if someone is ONLY doing what their job title describes, they’re probably not growing, not confident, and not a top performer at the company. The ones who have brought something new, thought outside the box, and driven home with new service offerings are the ones who really stand out to me.

Find Formula that Works for you and your Business

The first step in your recruitment plan is to develop a clear philosophy in terms of how to build your team and what your approach will look like. Maybe you’re the New York Yankees and you just buy vets – that works for them, but will it work for you? There are tons of different formulas, and what I’m sharing is what we are doing and what is working at Power Digital. The key is to make sure you have a plan and it’s not just being made up as you go.

Step number two is putting the time into building your bench. It’s never good to make decisions based on separation, so by having a proactive approach and bench and pipeline you won’t have to make desperate decisions.

Finally, be open to creating roles for elite talent; a cookie-cutter role isn’t going to work for everyone. On top of that, be open to creating roles for people you already have who may not be fully satisfied with his or her current role.

Always be recruiting and it will pay off!

Digital Marketing Assessment

Learn More Here

Grayson is one of the Co-founders at Power Digital and the CEO. He is born and raised in San Diego and has a wealth of knowledge in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Team Building and Business.