Richard George, Head of Organic Performance and Managing Partner of Wavemaker - a global media content and technology agency - spoke with our Senior Agency Recruitment Consultant, Chris Phair, about his role in the business, challenges and opportunities for SEO, and top tips to succeed in the industry.


Richard George, Head of Organic Performance and Managing Partner, Wavemaker


Name the top 5 stand out characteristics you believe make someone successful in your agency/field:

  1. They have to love data. Data gives us the fuel to understand the search opportunity, to optimise the content, and to demonstrate performance. So being comfortable with collecting, analysing and manipulating data is key.
  2. Passion for outstanding client service as the ability to translate technical industry language to people who do not operate in our specialism is important. Often the decision makers will be marketeers or business owners that do not understand the intricacies of search engine optimization. A good SEO should be able to translate our language, so whom ever they are speaking to can clearly understand it.
  3. Follow the market news, industry publications and social media. Our market changes so rapidly you need to keep on top of the changes and what impacts these will have in your strategies and thinking.
  4. Look beyond your specialism to understand the role search has as part of the marketing mix. Search is one part of a holistic marketing strategy, so understanding the role other media and marketing channels can have on search behaviour is key.
  5. Negotiation and influencing skills. Often the role of an SEO both agency and client side involves influence to try to get changes implemented. The ability to influence, negotiate and state the business case and need will often be key to get the changes and optimizations we require action.

What are the barriers of recruiting in your industry, and how have you been able to combat this?

Over the past two years we've seen an acceleration in the demand for digital skills. This has been driven by the pandemic in a way where traditional bricks and mortar businesses are starting to realise the vast potential of online trading and search in particular. Established online businesses have seen particular boom periods across many sectors. The number of candidates in the market versus the demand for them is in in-balance. The salaries that are being commanded for people who potentially do not have the experience to operate at the level and the roles they are applying for could create future challenges for our industry.

The SEO industry has come a long way over the years to raise its profile and be taken seriously as part of a holistic marketing channel. I don't want us to be in the position where businesses are offering more senior roles to people who may not be quite ready for them yet just to ensure those places are filled. This could create a challenge for our industry in terms of the reputation, as it could start to be tarnished through less experienced advice and consulting being given out. But hopefully this won't happen.

To combat the shortages we are seeing in candidates at a mid and senior level, we're going to take the approach to accelerate our graduate recruitment programme and bringing more junior members of the team that we can look to develop and accelerate through their careers at Wavemaker.  At the same time look at how we can promote and progress from within with the existing team and supplement and support with knew junior graduates on executive's.

What has you and your team’s experience been like working with us at The Candidate?

The Candidate have been great agency to work with, they know the digital marketing market well and particularly in the north. Always quick to respond to brief and keep us updated on the progress of any candidates that we have.

Thanks for taking the time out to have a chat with us Rich!

Get in touch with Chris if you’re an Agency looking to hire new talent in Manchester or London! You can brief us here.