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Greetings happy readers! In this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini sought PPCers views on the hiring process for their agencies, their biggest frustrations in the PPC hiring process, has anything changed in the hiring process in the past two years, and more.

Q1: Have you been involved in a hiring process for a PPC agency? If so, what was your involvement, and when was your last hiring experience?

Yes. In various agencies. The process was a bit different depending on the role and agency. My last hiring experience was a couple of months ago. @JuliaVyse

I do not hire employees. I do choose and hire consultants to work with me on various projects. Have not hired anyone, in this capacity, in a while though. @NeptuneMoon

Sorry need clarity – as in you are IN a PPC Agency hiring an individual. Or you are a brand trying to get a PPC Agency to work on accounts? @TheMarketingAnu

An SEO agency tried to hire me last year to do the ppc work they were selling to clients, but couldn’t do properly. We agreed a rate, I passed 2 interviews… …and they offered me half the money we agreed on. That was a hard “no” from me – lol. @stevegibsonppc

It’s been a while – but yes @TheMarketingAnu

All the time. Growth + turnover are inevitable. I have 2 categories: 1. Full employee 2. Full contractor (meaning they work for us full time, but don’t get benefits, usually done for 1099’s). I have a team that does the screening, and I get the final say. @JonKagan

Yes, I had a lot of say at my previous agency on who we would bring in and was in most final interviews. And of course, hired @rachel__lowell as my first hire for my current business. @selley2134

I was on the fence about growing my agency a few times, but mostly I just hire other freelancers to work with me from time to time if there are bigger projects. @lchasse

Yes, I’ve both hired & trained people for PPC. Killer question is always “who do you admire or look up to in PPC and why?” It tends to reveal who is exaggerating their experience. @beyondcontent

I’ve been involved in the interviewing process. It was a fun experience because I was interviewing someone who I’d potentially be working very close with. @BrettBodofsky

Yup…pretty much oversee the entire process. We’re always hiring, so it’s a never-ending thing. @DigitalSamIAm

Yes – I built our agency’s hiring framework. It took a lot of trial and error but I ended with a framework, questions, and hires that worked well. @AmaliaEFowler

I do all the hiring at our agency. Been involved with hiring at agencies like Ogilvy and in-house too. The latter is usually sitting in on interviews, ask questions and maybe help write the job description. @duanebrown

Q2: What were the biggest frustrations in the PPC hiring process for you or your organization?

Biggest frustration now is people looking to just get into this company bc we look good on a cv. not actually interested in the role. Over the years, the biggest frustration is lots of blowhards, peacock kind of attitude. Can you work with others? at all? @JuliaVyse

SPOILER – everyone exaggerates their experience if they lack it. Usually very easy to see through. Own it instead and say why you’re excited to learn, especially when lots will change all the time anyway. @beyondcontent

From candidates? Well – when lack of preparation or exaggeration of skills is clear. Mate – you will be unhappy if hire you for a role you ae going to find hard to do. @TheMarketingAnu

The amount that job titles change from agency to agency. A senior at one agency could be a coordinator at others. Directors mean completely different things. So it can be hard to get people if they think they are being demoted. @selley2134

Quantifying the hours of work at a skill level to decide who I need to hire. Also, candidates overvaluing their skill set (i.e. you aren’t gods gift to ROAS, and yes, you do need to know how to use Bing) @JonKagan

Finding qualified people is brutal… so many people put “Google Certified” on their resume or say they know paid search, but as soon as you talk to them. it’s clear as day they (a) copied & pasted those answers and/or (b) managed someone who did the work. @DigitalSamIAm

Everyone putting expert in their resumes. Oh are you really an expert? This is going to be a fun interview. @lchasse

A decision-maker thinking PPC is easy and anyone can learn it. @runnerkik

Beyond our experience, we have helped some brands do recruitment & HR. Finding talent and then finding really good talent. Knowing where to post the job. The biggest issue most don’t think about is writing a really AMAZING job description. @duanebrown

From my perspective, it is finding/attracting the right candidates and ensuring a fit within the company culture and department in a remote/hybrid interviewing world. @C_J_Ridley

Q3: Has anything changed about the PPC hiring process in the past 2 years in your experience?

Desperation – small agencies that can’t afford to pay cannot find quality employees and keep them unless there is more to offer than money. @runnerkik

Definitely much more of a job seekers’ market (speaking as someone who recently changed jobs myself). @timothyjjensen

The biggest change seems obvious but the remote vs in office issue is a big point. As much as you find people that love working remotely I have seen a big section of people who want to be in an office. @selley2134

Yes. it’s become less possible. I’m so pleased to see more young people and newer hires negotiating for themselves. I’m less pleased to see more people reading like 2 blog posts and then calling themselves ready for a senior role. @JuliaVyse

The market has changed so much. (1) The interview process is very different from in-person to video. (2) It is a job searcher’s market because there is way more work than people to fill the roles (qualified people). @lchasse

Not really. The questions we ask are different… but the rest pretty much works the same. More competition for sure. Recruiters suck more AND charge more. @DigitalSamIAm

We have a better referral program and we are hiring almost all remote for our PPC openings. @beyondthepaid

“How do you work remotely”? And if they tell me they understand local or PMax, I know they are lying.. @JonKagan

Employees want to earn more, clients want to pay less. Too many agencies have a revenue model that doesn’t reflect value. @beyondcontent

We redid our whole process in the summer 2020. Went from 3-4 interviews down to 2 interviews. Standardized all questions AND ASKED BETTER QUESTIONS. If you want to hire better, you need to ask better questions. Bad hires are the results of bad job descriptions or interviews. @duanebrown

Someone said on redid they put up a job description, got 300 applications and no one was a fit. How can no one be a fit at 300 applicants? Either your job description is wrong, you posted in the wrong places or your interview process is wrong. @duanebrown

From the applicant POV. It has become a lot easier to schedule and attend interviews and more freedom in where to work thanks to remote working. @C_J_Ridley

Q4: Is there something that you wish was out there that would make the PPC hiring process easier or better?

Some kind of more accurate standardization for vetting out how qualified people actually are vs. just the platform certifications. @timothyjjensen

Not a clear solution but something that would help efficiently weed out time-wasters and give a clear indication as to what the agency is looking for. So that the interview process itself is a lot shorter. @TheMarketingAnu

Maybe some agreement on specialization. If your passion is ecomm, you will not enjoy a role with my team. and that’s okay! if you are really into Omni, find a way to tell me that! @JuliaVyse

A universal/global proven skillset test, not a Google certification. @JonKagan

I think in general, job descriptions kind of suck too. They all say the same things, but they should be more unique and have more thought put into them. What do you really need in this next employee? Spend time thinking about it. @NeptuneMoon

Absolutely this! better ad writing experience, and not just pulling text from the landing page! sometimes landing pages aren’t ready yet. @JuliaVyse

It is the same issue most hiring managers face no matter the industry except for something like nursing, being a doctor or something where you cannot have an English degree and go operate on someone. We will always need to weed out the pretenders or experts. @lchasse

Hiring entry level can be difficult b/c you are hoping that this person is actually interested in PPC & will enjoy it. Sometimes they find out they don’t enjoy it. So an example or test to try to avoid this – not sure what it would look like but we are wishing here. @selley2134

Ideally, an easier way to identify levels of competence across various ppc platforms & products. But I also realize the second you do that, the measure becomes the goal & ceases to be a good measure (yay Goodhart’s Law) @DigitalSamIAm

I always ask “What industry publications do you read?” in every interview at every level. Even entry level people can read industry sites & participate in #ppcchat. Shows initiative. @beyondthepaid

That is hard to answer – On one hand I wish there were more qualified people on the other hand it is great being in a profession where we are hard to find. @runnerkik

One spot everyone looks for a job and all jobs get posted there. Not sure if it would help but standard job titles across agency and in-house teams. Job titles are meaningless these days. Tells me nothing about what YOU actually did. @duanebrown

Hiring often triggered by a departure where lack of annotation or documentation means loss of how-to knowledge. Ad platforms really need to up their annotation game. Reduce new hires having to figure out the why, especially if no handover. @beyondcontent

Transparency on salary. Not putting salary on a job description tells me you want to maintain the shit status quo that just benefits white straight men and the white women at the top who enable them. @duanebrown

There are no universally recognized and “worthwhile” qualification that officially makes someone a PPC Specialist. And many of the big brand courses are of poor quality. *cough* Google Ads *cough* @C_J_Ridley

Q5: What are your views on “test projects” as part of the hiring process? You can answer as a potential employer or employee.

At this point in my career I have a NO HOMEWORK policy. #ppcchat that being said I had a great job where I did some but I was younger, less confident. @runnerkik

Can be helpful in showing a person’s thought process, but don’t overcomplicate it. Appreciated what my current company asked for – a simple presentation highlighting a successful project I’d worked on. @timothyjjensen

I hate this. It’s straight-up time-wasting, unpaid labor. it’s ubiquitous and it should not have a role in hiring. Just do an internship program if this is really what you need. @JuliaVyse

Oh man, I have mixed feelings about test projects. As an employee, I hate them – doing free work for someone who may or may not hire me? No thanks. And frankly, they’re not great from the employer side either – too hard to proctor. @beyondthepaid

I think they are fine if they take place during the interview. Take-home tests seem a bit much to me. I had to do one not too long & it was putting together a whole marketing plan for a potential client on top of working long hours at my current job it was too much. @selley2134

This is a complex issue. I get why you’d want to “test” someone as an employer, BUT… If you are asking someone to do work on an account, even just suggestions, or definitely if something more complex you should compensate them for their time. @NeptuneMoon

The “findings” from a project should be discoverable in an interview (or two). If not, you need to improve the interview process. @robert_brady

It also comes down to this when hiring – you can never know 100% if a candidate is the “right” one. No amount of testing can guarantee this. But it can boot people from your process that might have been great. Especially if uncompensated for that work. @NeptuneMoon

I think they are a good way for a candidate to be able to prove their knowledge. I’ve had instances where I was paid to do the project and where I was not. Nobody likes to work for free.. but if the opportunity is good. @BrettBodofsky

Testing within the 60-minute interview is fine. We do it. I wouldn’t ask someone to take stuff home or do a 4-hour media plan for me… which this person posted about recently… @duanebrown

I’d say either learn to ask better questions, hire with a (3 month?) trial period, or hire as a paid consultant to see what they deliver. Asking people to do any work for free is not cool. @beyondcontent

Both as an employer and as a candidate I prefer a job shadow day (or morning, or afternoon). It gives *both* parties a chance to gather a lot more information and feeling. No teacher/student dynamic! Tougher since 2020 of course. @mikeryanretail

From the biz owners perspective, you get the idea of the knowledge of the PPC manager but from the employee perspective, it’s hectic. The sweet spot is to have a small test project with more of scenarios type problems instead of “run 5 ads for me” type projects. @1tagupta

We have a test exercise, takes 90 minutes. I’m happy to pay for someone’s dinner or whatever during it (their time is valuable). Gives us a chance to evaluate how candidates think + handle challenges within a fixed time period. @DigitalSamIAm

I’ve been subject to “tests projects” and I personally see value in them. Whether they are theoretical ones that you openly discuss in the interview or ones which you prepare beforehand and present in the interview. For me, it shows how I work and my approach. @C_J_Ridley

I know they’re a controversial topic but I find that it helps you identify how well someone takes feedback, whether they have any follow-up questions, potential strengths and weaknesses, and an opportunity to discuss PPC-specific topics that wouldn’t normally arise. @C_J_Ridley

I did one once…and pointed out why the data wasn’t conclusive enough to answer their “What would you do…?” questions. I passed with flying colours. (They hadn’t realized this – nor had any of the other candidates) Generally, IMO, paid test projects make sense. @stevegibsonppc

I use to hate them, but now I agree with them, but only for mid to senior level roles. lower level/entry level employees, my belief is, we will educate them and mold them in our eyes. @JonKagan

Q6: If you’ve been trying to find a PPC position, how have you found the hiring process to be lately?

I haven’t looked since joining Evoluted so I can’t speak for the last 12 months but I found the process in early 2021 to be rapid compared to pre-covid, and for me a lot more relaxing as an applicant It did make it harder for me to gauge the workplace culture though. @C_J_Ridley

A living nightmare. Everyone takes the google cert exam and then thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread. I’ll pay a fair salary for the skillset, but getting way too many underqualified candidates asking for obscene amounts. @JonKagan

PPCChat Participants

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