Apex recruiting from agencies

Last updated on October 18th, 2022

When it is time to grow your marketing team, have you thought about reaching out to your marketing agencies and consultants? These professionals have a lot to offer. Yet, attempting to recruit them for your organization can feel scary and uncomfortable. 

Fortunately, you don’t need a magic spell to unlock this specialized marketing talent pool. Before we reveal how to approach marketing agency talent, let’s take a closer look at why recruiting marketing agency staff is so attractive.

Why Is It Attractive To Recruit From Your Agencies?

There are considerable benefits to bringing these skilled professionals into your organization. 

  • Minimal Marketing Learning Curve

There is a minimal learning curve because these people know your marketing strategy and how you like to work. They already know your workflows, how you like to work with analytics, and review marketing creative.

  • You Have Seen Them In Action

With longer-term agency staff and consultants, you have the opportunity to see these employees in action. You have seen how they brainstorm ideas, take feedback, and understand their technical and communication skills. 

  • You Have Seen How They Interact With Your Marketing Team

To deliver results, agency staff have to work with employees. They may have provided tutorials and walkthroughs of technology and new processes. These interactions are a good fit for your organization.

Given these advantages, it’s no surprise that many marketing leaders often consider bringing agency staff into their organization full-time.

Why Recruiting From Agencies Feels Scary

Despite these advantages, hiring agency employees and consultants often feels scary. There are a few good reasons for this feeling.

  • Contract Concerns

Your contract with your marketing agency is the first barrier to recruiting talent. Many professional services companies include a non-solicitation clause in their contracts. The agency may find operating difficult if they constantly lose skilled employees.

  • Fear of Damaging Your Agency Relationship

Hopefully, you have a positive, professional relationship with your marketing agency. That relationship may be damaged severely if you recruit one of the agency’s all-star copywriters, designers, or developers. 

At best, your agency’s performance may suffer in the short term as they restructure to continue serving your account. At worse, your agency may be upset at losing. This may lead your agency to resign your account in protest. That loss might more than offset the gain you make in talent.

  • Fit Fears

You might find it strange to see fit mentioned as a fear. Earlier, we mentioned that agency staff is appealing because they already know your company’s strategy and workflow. The fit concern here is a bit more nuanced. 

Many marketing professionals choose an agency career because they thrive on the constant change and growth of working with multiple clients. Further, some agency employees may see themselves working toward an agency leadership role or striking out to create their firm. Given these goals, a marketing agency employee or independent consultant may not be interested in switching to a traditional full-time position.

These fears have some basis in reality. Despite these challenges, this recruiting approach has ways to move forward.

How To Ethically Recruit From Your Agencies

Solving your fears of recruiting from your marketing agency starts with a simple strategy: open and direct conversation. 

1) Start With A Conversation

Don’t let your worries about breaking the contract prevent an honest conversation about your needs. Reach out to your account manager at the agency and ask to discuss your talent needs. Consider adopting the following email script.

Subject: Marketing Talent Discussion

Hi [NAME],

We’re looking to grow our in-house marketing team further to meet our goals. I’d like to seek your input on ways to approach this goal. Can we set up a time to discuss this initiative this week?

Once you set up the meeting, outline the type of marketing talent you are seeking. If there is a specific individual at the agency, you have in mind, mention them by name. Give the agency some time to reflect on your request. 

If the agency is open to change, it is important to be appreciative and flexible in subsequent steps. They may want to introduce the opportunity to their employee or let you take the lead. 

What if the agency is unwilling to part with its talent? This is a likely outcome, especially if you are seeking to hire one of their best employees. In this situation, ask the agency for referrals to other people in their network. 

2) Reinforce The Agency Relationship 

Whether or not the agency agrees to your request, keep the relationship in mind. Your marketing agency may have fears of its own. They might be worried that you are planning to end their relationship or reduce it in scope. Address these fears directly. If you intend to retain the agency, reassure them of that fact. 

What If Hiring From An Agency Doesn’t Work Out?

Tapping into your network is a wise starting point in any hiring process. Contacting your agency to ask for referrals or their blessing to approach a specific agency employee is worth the effort. At the same time, remember that your marketing agency is not equipped and organized to help clients find full-time marketing employees. 

Therefore, it is wise to pursue other ways to find the marketing talent you need. In particular, your agency may not be the best place to find a marketing leader like a VP of marketing or chief marketing officer. Finding senior marketing leaders for clients is the focus of Apex CMO Search. Contact us today to discuss your marketing leadership needs!


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