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Introducing our new Watchlist - for Agencies

Introducing our new Watchlist - for Agencies

10 months ago by Anna Smith
Watchlists Agency

We have launched a new initiative for Agency Owners, to support businesses with successful, stress-free recruitment aligned to the current market. 

It is very important to align recruitment strategy with how the market is behaving, or there are genuine risks of not hiring within your desired timescales. 

As we are immersed in multiple projects, across Creative & Marketing, we have first-hand insight and data on what has worked well and what could have worked better, over the past year. Every quarter we collate our findings to inform both our internal strategies and how best to consult our clients. 

This last study highlighted a consistent myth, held by many, which made a significant impact on the ability to hire within desired timescales….. or at all! 

We want to share this and, at the same time, launch our solution to it – an approach that could be a game-changer! 

What’s the myth? 

“There is a lack of candidates in the market”. 

We have heard this many times over the past couple of years, and indeed have often found ourselves saying it. Projects have taken on average 41 days, rising to 52 days, on the Creative side of things. 

A perceived lack of candidates has led to agencies… 

  1. Avoiding the pain and not recruiting at all - muddling through, putting pressure on existing teams with the risk of losing employees (we have seen this a lot!)

  2. Increasing salary budgets to beat off the competition - beyond that which they have ideally wanted to pay.

  3. Moving to a multi-recruiter strategy to exhaust the market for the few that may be looking, which drives quality down and puts the risk of retention, and all those costs, up.

  4. Going with it and allowing the hiring process to take as long as it is going to take, delaying growth and revenue plans in the process. 

Is there a lack of candidates though, or is it something else? 

In a buoyant market, it is a fact that there are more opportunities per candidate, which creates competition, as well as fewer candidates. But we believe that there is another, and we think even more important, reason for the lack of ‘right’ candidates. It’s simply because they aren’t on the market at the exact time you decide to hire. WHY? 

The agency world continues to change, and that isn’t going to stop. 

Over recent years, agencies have needed to pivot to where their value is greatest. That’s either been in the industries they serve, their depth of sector knowledge, or in what they do/offer. 

How agencies have evolved in what they do…


... to Advertising/marketing

... to Advertising/marketing/integrated/branding

... to Integrated/branding & design/direct marketing/creative/PR/exhibition

... to Integrated/branding & design/CRM/packaging/POS/PR/digital marketing/shopper/in-store design/experiential/content/social 1st/digital product/content/broadcast or production/corp.comms/internal comms

This is by no means 100% accurate, as there have always been some specialist agencies pop up earlier than this summary shows, but no doubt the breadth has really increased! 

Integrated/full-service agencies that specialise in an industry (or two): 

Healthcare/F & B or hospitality/Retail/B2B/Technology and more 

This movement has been happening gradually over a good few years, to an extent where these agencies have bred candidates who are specialist, or weighted with experience in an industry, or in what they do. 

Agencies that are weighted in what they do or the industry they serve, look to recruit people with aligned experience. This is to ensure they continue to deliver on what they specialise in.   

A typical brief would be an Account Director with agency Pharma experience or an Account Manager with Annual Reporting experience, or a Designer with significant Hospitality industry experience, etc.

As the range of specialist agencies increases, so the candidate volume decreases.  

Diversity of skill sets

Adding to the changing face of many agencies, is the diversity of skill sets that now can reside in an agency. Once upon a time, there was a common set of skill sets on the creative or account management side, including Creative Director, Studio Manager, Art Director, Copywriter, Designer, Artworker, AE, AM, SAM, AD, CSD. 

Now, depending on the agency's specialism, we find skills across motion, animation, social media, content, digital design, UX, digital account management, project management, video and more.  

In summary, you can start to see how niche every candidate and/or role profile is becoming. And it means that AT ANY ONE TIME there is a lack of candidates. But over time, there are a lot more options! THE SHIPS ARE PASSING EACH OTHER.  

So, what’s the answer? 

Very simply, being prepared to hire at any time! You can now either: 

Brief us on a recruitment project, ahead of when you were thinking of recruiting (perhaps very important if you win your next pitch and need to be ready) 


If are not ready to immerse yourself in a recruitment project but would like us to put your recruitment needs on our radar, we now have our aforementioned Watchlist service, where we don’t launch a full campaign, but we will use a number of strategies to be the first to know when a matching candidate is out there.  

Specifically, we set up Watchlists on our CRM, and Watchdogs on leading job portals and LinkedIn, as well as putting you front of mind when talking to candidates, we attract during other recruitment projects. 

So, please do get ahead and engage us to help. And of course, a bonus of letting us know your plans means we will capture candidates fresh to the market, getting you ahead of your competition!

Contact Anna to find out more!



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