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How To Recruit for Advertising Roles

how to recruit for advertising professionals

Creativity is a pesky concept to define. Often people lament that they lack creativity because they are not artistic, it’s debated whether it’s a gift or a skill that can be learned, it’s constantly listed in on CVs, it’s critical in the business world yet it’s hard to measure…

So how are you supposed to recruit for it?

Recruiting within the marketing industry is one of the places where the term creative will actually appear in the job title and not just as part of the “nice-to-have” list at the end.

When it comes to hiring for advertising positions you will be searching for people who can develop a campaign and delivering on a client’s brief and strategy. Working in advertising is highly collaborative and involves working with other creative types such as photographers, videographers, and designers to breathe life into captivating campaigns.

These roles will often be in digital agencies. In-house creative roles are normally in very large FMCG companies who need onsite employees for a large volume of product marketing. Even then these roles can be on a part-time base or the work is done by a digital agency. Much like in the recruitment world, agencies manage multiple clients and can sustain a specialized team for short projects.

Advertising Definitions

You are more than likely already familiar with these aspects of advertising but perhaps you didn’t know the technical terms for them. Below is a breakdown of the different types of advertising and what they entail.

Above The Line Marketing

Above the line (ATL) marketing. This work is done by an agency. It involves broad targeting, mass media, and large scale brand awareness. These campaigns can have huge budgets- think of the Superbowl ads and how expensive they are to run. These ads can be broadcast on television and radio and seen on billboards, busses etc.
From a digital aspect, these ads can run before videos or television shows. This is known as pre-roll you’ll be familiar with this from watching YouTube videos and having to sit through ads before clips start playing.

Sponsorship is also a form of ATL marketing. Events like the Olympic Games can reach billions of viewers so any brand that has the ability to capitalize on events like this is guaranteed exposure.

Below The Line Marketing

Sponsorship of smaller events could be considered below the line (BTL). This targets a more niche target audience. For example, print media places ads in magazines that have a target audience or a special interest group.
Digital marketing helps the advertising industry to become incredibly targeted using social media, behavioral analytics and retargeting can be very successful at driving consumer behavior. This type of marketing normally under the in-house marketing remit.

Through The Line Marketing

Through the line (TTL) marketing, is a hybrid of mass media marketing with finely tuned audience targeting. This is where digital media marketing comes into its own and is the reason you feel you are seeing the same ads everywhere.
Marrying your online and offline advertising  has a huge impact on your brand and highlights the best that creative roles have to offer

Job Titles in Creative Roles

When recruiting for creative positions you can expect to see the following job titles appear. It’s good to familiarise yourself with the titles and a very high-level overview of their responsibilities within the creative process;

  • Creative Director: This person is responsible for the entire creative brief. They manage the whole process and set the tone for the campaign.
  • Art Director: This is also a senior role in the creative process. An art director specifically takes care of the visual aspect of the project.
  • Graphic Designers and Visual Artists: These people are the ones we think of as traditionally creative. They create visual concepts that help bring campaigns to life.
  • Videographer and Film Production: This process envelopes everything to do with production. Filming, editing, motion graphics, special effects etc. These can grow into roles themselves in a big agency
  • Copywriting: Copywriters develop the text or script that accompany ads. Taglines and descriptions can make or break an ad so skilled story tellers are a huge asset to any agency or in-house team.

Advertising Roles: What to ask your hiring manager

As a recruiter, you need to have a relationship with your hiring manager that is based on open communication and trust. When it comes to advertising roles there are a couple of questions you need the answer to before you start collecting your candidates

Candidate Background

In-House roles can benefit hugely fro candidates who have previous experience working in an agency. They will have had exposure to lots of clients and briefs that will play to their advantage. Ask your hiring manager whether they would consider hiring someone from an agency background for their team.

For creative agencies, the scene is slightly different. It’s a faster-paced job that is highly commercial and very sales orientated. When you are speaking to candidates for this role they will want to know information like how many briefs they are expected to deliver, how many clients will they be working with, will they be specialising in one advertising format or is there scope for more


Ask your hiring manager what sort of budget this new hire will be working with. Should you be searching for someone who has experience managing budgets worth millions, $50,000 or $500?

Data Analysis

How does your hiring manager currently measure the success of their campaigns? A candidate will obviously want to know what they will be measured on so it’s vital you have this information. Equally, it’s an important question you can ask the candidate, how have they been measured in the past, do they have any experience with data analytics tools that they have used in their advertising career to give us some ideas.


Will the new hire present to senior stakeholders or clients or leadership teams? Is this a skill they will need and can you start building it into your search requirements. Also, and this goes for any position you are hiring for, will this new hire be leading a team of others or leading projects? People management is a skill that takes time to develop so you, your hiring manager and your candidates need to be aware of what you’re looking for in a new hire.

Marketing is an exciting industry to be involved with, through meeting candidates that are applying for advertising (and wider marketing) roles you will meet nimble thinkers and professionals who can deliver incredible creative projects with strict deadlines.

If you are interested in learning more about recruiting for sector-specific roles the marketing, sales, pharma, and financial services industries book your FREE demo today!

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