How to hire the A-Team
In just five years, co-founders Kevin Gibbons and Chelsea Blacker have grown the Re:signal team from four to 17 people. “Recruiting the right people is probably even more important to us than winning new clients,” says Gibbons.
“If you create a strong team and they consistently deliver great work, that’s going to help attract new business naturally”, says Blacker.
We hire for the long term and we try to invest in our team’s development and growth.
Chelsea Blacker, Re:signal
To make things crystal clear, Blacker and Gibbons have even created a publicly available culture book. This sets out the company’s core values, which include: be proud of your work, act with honesty and we win and lose together.
“Our transparent culture helps us attract the right people from a very early stage,” says Gibbons. Blacker adds: “We hire for the long term and we try to invest in our team’s development and growth.”
The innovative recruitment process is key to building a strong team. After an interview and before a new team member is hired, potential recruits are invited to attend an “experience day”. This trial getting-to-know-you first day is where both parties can see whether they are a good fit for each other.
Blacker says at first they were “worried” that people would be reluctant but says “it means the ones who make it, really are the right fit”.
Creating a winning strategy
The strategy has paid dividends. Re:signal has an impressive four-year revenue growth rate of 561%. And last year the London-based SEO and content marketing agency won a coveted spot on Deloitte’s Fast 50 list as the 42nd fastest-growing technology company for 2017.
Re:signal’s growth is even more impressive considering Gibbons and Blacker have received no external funding. A modest £30,000 overdraft and credit cards have complemented the company’s cashflow.
However, Gibbons is aware that as the agency attracts bigger clients the company will need to be extra careful about managing cashflow. “The bigger the contracts the longer the payment terms,” he says.
Again, it’s about finding the right talent to manage this challenge. “We have a director who is an expert in helping us to plan ahead,” says Gibbons.
It pays to be picky
Right now the agency is working with blue chip companies such as Expedia, Auto Trader and the Financial Times to maximise their SEO performance.
Re:signal is selective about pursuing new business. “It’s about working with the clients who are right for us,” says Blacker.
But it wasn’t always this way. Gibbons says: “In the early days we’d be pitching to everyone, but this approach is expensive and time-consuming, now we’re choosing to spend time with the best potential clients that will pay off for us.”
We always link it back to search and traffic results. It is more measurable and it’s really clear if you’ve done a good job.
Kevin Gibbons, Re:signal
Driven by results
Gibbons believes that what sets the agency apart from its competitors is its dedication to measurable results. “We always link it back to search and traffic results. It is more measurable and it’s really clear if you’ve done a good job,” he says.
As for the future, the co-founders are adamant that they don’t want to lose what’s unique about the agency. Gibbons says: “There are other sectors we want to break into, but we’re going to continue to be search specialists.”