As part of Leeds Digital Festival, I was asked by my friend Mark Kelly (Agency Growth Coach) to give a talk to a room full of agency leaders around how digital creative agencies could/should go about finding, retaining and developing their talent. This is that talk in blog form.

‘Finding’ talent in the first place is tough — really tough. After 15+ years of doing it for a living, it’s still a struggle to boil that down to a 20 minute talk so I tackled something a bit a different, focusing instead on the complete opposite; the reasons why agencies might lose the talent they already have!

Bear with me here because it is, in my experience, the way you treat you current staff and the culture you’ve developed along the way, that’s by far and away the most effective tool you have for attracting new talent to your…


Barely a day goes by without the word ‘culture’ featuring heavily in my conversations. It’s become a sort of catch-all phrase and having a ‘great’ one is something lots of agencies can be fiercely proud and protective of — and rightly so. It’s also a great get-out-jail-free card when it comes to delivering negative interview feedback; “they’re good but we don’t feel like they fit our culture”.

But what does it really mean and what can you do to make sure yours is a positive one?

Here’s what I think…

For the most part, you can substitute the word ‘culture’


Now, unfortunately for you, this isn’t an episode of The Apprentice and no, we’re not casually deciphering Alan Sugar’s latest victim on a comfortable couch over a glass of wine (or whatever your choice of beverage may be). This is your life.

Yup, your (now ex) boss just uttered the two most feared words in the entire workplace in your direction and, well — what the hell do you do now?

Let’s face it, getting fired sucks, and it’s easy to react kind of like this:

But I’m going to stop you right there.

First of all, let me reiterate…


So …your CV and condensed portfolio went down a storm and now it’s it’s time for the interview — here’s some advice that might help keep the stress levels down and save you from flinging yourself out the window in a blind panic!

First of all, why do we interview? Hiring anyone is a risk. Interviews give hirers a pretty good indication of the amount of risk.

A hirer not only wants to know you have the tools to do the job, they also want to find out whether you’ll be the right ‘cultural fit’ and so, because in most…


What to include and how to make the most of them

So you’ve got your kick-ass CV in front of someone, they love it, now what? In our industry it’s work samples. Ultimately these are what’ll get you sat in front of someone for an interview.

Lots of designers have their own websites, that’s great, but actually I think a small PDF of work, fronted by your CV, is still the best way to get the conversation started. Everything is there in one place, no clicking required so less opportunity to be distracted.

Work on two sets though. A condensed version that your CV fronts — typically a 5–10 sheet PDF…


How to give yourself the best possible chance of bagging an interview.

A few years ago, I wrote my most popular post ever; Advice for design graduates. Much of that advice still holds true but It’s obviously been while …it’s been a while since my last post full stop really.

So here’s an update and rather than a complete rehash, this time I’m going to break it down into a few posts — what with all the talk of dwindling attention spans…

First things first then. If you’re actively looking for a job your CV will most likely be the first communication your prospective employer will see of yours. It’s important. …

Darren Scotland

Wannabe design guru and locator of real ones – I help design agencies find awesome designers.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store