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Recently, I attended an appointment with a doctor for a general medical checkup. The doctor asked me what my line of work was. I explained that I was the managing director of CLICKTRUST, a Brussels-based digital marketing agency. She knew the sector, as her son who graduated since two years with a degree in media and communication was still out looking for a job. He’d done an internship at a decent agency, she added.

After a few questions, I learned that he had missed an opportunity just around the first lockdown. He’d been hired, but his first day fell in the second week of the first lockdown when most agencies in Belgium started realizing they were in for a rough few months ahead with clients canceling campaigns.  The agency that had hired him revoked his contract, as they had been heavily impacted revenue-wise. Sad, but understandable. He’s been applying left and right since, but without any success. Everyone wants several years of experience because training on the job is too hard with teleworking. It’s been two years now, so he’s losing patience.

The above is recognizable for many.  I myself had decided somewhere in between two lockdowns to stop recruiting juniors because we weren’t able to onboard them correctly. We had too much work once clients realized digital was all that was left, and we couldn’t handle the endless stream of questions a junior generated via chat or video. So instead of hiring juniors, we went for seniors that we could plug into the teams with minimal effort.

We saw however that several of the people we recruited during that period weren’t the most productive.  They had around 3 years or more of experience at another company, excellent hard skills, but weren’t able to integrate or combine (tele)work and personal life.  A lot of “seniors” (i.e 3 years or more of experience) changed jobs during COVID.  Turnover has always been a problem in the sector, but in the last years, I’ve seen a level of turnover I haven’t seen before. Looking back, I think people changed jobs because it was something they could quite easily change in their lives, for the sake of changing something during the monotonous COVID months. In the end, they were still be doing video calls at the kitchen table in their new jobs, feeling alienated.

So even though the senior people we hired during that period were able to help us in the short term, they definitely weren’t very motivated or as productive as we’d hoped.  Most of them left within 18 months. Ironic, when you know there was a whole bunch of motivated graduates almost begging to get started.

In July 2021 we realized that waiting for motivated unicorns to apply to our open positions wasn’t a strategy. We had to create them ourselves, and have a system in place to keep creating them.  As CLICKTRUST had been delivering training for years, we decided to review and complete these trainings and turn them into a complete two-week bootcamp designed for high potentials with little or no experience.

We ran the first bootcamp in September, and again in October.  The speed at which we were able to onboard the newcomers was excellent, allowing them to very rapidly add real value to the teams.

It was a key move. We are now finally able to recruit based on soft and fairly common hard skills, increasing our talent pool massively. We can now teach people in a structured manner what they need to know to do their jobs, whether that happens in person or through video.

Since then, we’re offering this bootcamp to all companies who are fed up with waiting for that perfect trilingual with 3 years of performance or paid media experience…. We’re organizing trainings specifically for newcomers who are just hired.

To discover our training calendar, please visit our CLICKTRUST Academy platform.  For a custom bootcamp, please reach out to us at academy@clicktrust.be.

We’re convinced this will help plenty of graduates looking for a job, and plenty of advertisers in building their own internal digital teams.

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    Fabian Van De Wiele

    Managing Director & Founder