A few weeks ago, I sat down with Amanda Blennerhassett to talk about all things business, growth and talent.

With 20 years’ experience in marketing, advertising, communications and business consulting in Australia and the UK, Amanda has led teams within major brands, start ups and her own business, Brand Savvy Consulting.

I know you’ll enjoy reading Amanda’s perspectives on recruiting top marketing talent.

Tell us about your business and the team you lead

Brand Savvy Consulting is a boutique business growth consultancy. We use design thinking to help disruptors, innovators and pioneers to create and commercially activate extraordinary brands that change markets and communities for the better.

As Principal, I am the main architect of strategy, working with a network of expert associates across Australia to help deliver our projects.

Excellence, Win Win and Collaboration are three of our core values, so my role is to ensure that the team has a rock solid brief and facilitate teamwork with our clients so everyone can do what they do best – and have fun along the way!

What are the top three soft skills you look for when you recruit – and why?

Working with pioneers and challenger brands takes everyone into new territory on every project – so what’s important is trust, expertise and how we work together.

I want everyone to feel energised and focused on creating new solutions.

Integrity is the number one quality I seek – honest, open, good-hearted people who say what they think and do what they say. Integrity creates trust.

Creativity is the second. Experienced people that can think outside the box and find clever ways to get big results on smaller budgets than market leaders.

Emotional intelligence is third. I look for people with demonstrated self-awareness and the ability to relate to clients and key stakeholders.

What do you think are the most important factors in retaining top talent?

I believe that retention is ultimately about a competitive offer and positive human experience.

For me, it’s about applying the same design thinking to leading project teams that I apply to our clients’ strategies. The top factors are:

Shared values and win-wins – which involves investing time upfront to ensure we’re on the same page and have aligned goals.

Valuing contribution – ensuring people know they are valued for their contribution and uniqueness. It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate success.

Shared commitment – this is about giving people the chance to be a part of a cause that’s bigger than themselves, which engenders deep commitment. That’s the core of rewarding work, and something that money and convenience can’t buy.

Let’s talk about some of the challenges you’ve experienced when recruiting.

All of the challenges I’ve faced have ultimately been about fit.

Occasionally, despite the getting to know you process, people don’t turn out to be what I expected, or some commercial imperative has forced me to take someone on when I’ve known it wasn’t quite right. These situations have always have consequences which I’ve learned a lot from.

What advice would you give to others about recruiting top marketing talent?

As a leader, I need to be inspired by the purpose of our work and excited about its potential – as well as the opportunity I can provide to talented professionals to achieve their own goals and experience their full potential by joining us.

I believe many people are yearning for more meaningful work that helps solve the problems of our time. I want to give people that chance to be extraordinary and a part of the solution. It brings out the best in people.

I believe many businesses have not yet done the deep work around purpose and human experience to be able to authentically engage top talent at a senior level. This will only become more important as millennials – a generation searching for their purpose – mature.

If organisations are struggling to attract top talent, I’d suggest starting with purpose and human experience. It not only opens doors to better recruitment, it can open the door to the kind of innovation, customer experience and total business transformation that helps you leapfrog your competitors.