Chodak Hunter is the owner of marketing recruitment agency Black Yak Digital. With a recruitment career spanning 18 years, Hunter’s expertise falls within the digital marketing sector – predominantly gaming and affiliates – and he started Black Yak in May of last year.
“With Black Yak I wanted to take recruitment back to basics and to the days where it was respected,” Hunter explains. “When it was an extension of someone’s business and where the recruiter fully understood the industry they were recruiting within, along with the dynamics of the company, sector and person centric approach.”
In the first part of his affiliate guide, Hunter gives advice to budding affiliates who are keen to expand their business and hire more staff.
CH: I would say the best piece of advice I could give is firstly to be absolutely sure that you need to hire staff in the first place. From speaking to most small business owners both in igaming and other sectors, this tends to be the main area that they wish they had thought through more.
When we start our own businesses the first thing we think about is hiring staff. However, in this day and age there are many alternatives to immediately hiring staff. Therefore, question at what stage you need staff, what areas are you weak at, which areas can you definitely not do yourself, is the work likely to be seasonal, ad hoc or only last for a few months.
Then think about other options first such as outsourcing, freelancers and contract work. This is especially important in the igaming sector as many of the tasks are seasonal and ad hoc.
It is also important not to overstretch yourself by trying to do everything yourself. This also seems to be quite common amongst growing affiliates working 18 hour days – I have heard this all too many times. If you get to this point, it can be very difficult to see clearly and know what help you need, as you are used to doing it yourself.
Be critical and identify where your time is best spent. You can’t clone yourself so be clear and write down all the tasks that only you can do – your area of expertise, why you got into this industry and job in the first place. Everything else can be assigned to someone else.
Once you have done this elimination exercise then decide upon what full-time roles you have identified in the short-term, then the long-term and have a clear plan in place.
At that point you are then in a strong position to know exactly what you want, what skills you need adding to your team and will then want to write a job specification.
For some people this can be easy; for others this will be harder and is usually the point at which most small to medium business owners decide to use a recruitment agency. A recruitment agency should work closely with you to fully understand your company, your needs and wants and have a clear vision of how your company intends to grow.
When selecting an agency to use, do not simply go on price alone, go with the company that shows the most enthusiasm and interest in your company. This will come across to prospective candidates and will help to find you the very best person, not just for their skill set but for their personality and fit too.
When you are a small company it’s really important that you get along with your first hires and that they see your vision, no matter how menial the role and tasks you are requiring of them. Within igaming I would also say it is important to use an agency that has recruited in this sector before, as this vertical really doesn’t compare to any other and you don’t want to spend hours explaining it to a recruitment consultant. Also if a member of staff makes a mistake in this sector it tends to impact greatly financially, so it’s even more important to get it right.
For a growing and expanding business, along with finding a good accountant, finding a good recruiter should be right up there. If chosen wisely you should be able to use the same recruiter from when you’re a one-man band up to when you become a large International gaming company.
The recruiter should grow with you every step of the way. This will help you to grow with confidence knowing that the headache of finding the right staff is taken away for you. One bad apple can certainly upset the apple cart so it’s important to get it right from the outset.
If you are unable to stretch to recruitment fees initially to find the very best, or the role is less specialised such as admin or data entry then make use of your LinkedIn network and Facebook contacts. Most budding affiliates will have been in the industry for a few years before they decide to expand, therefore, you will have a wealth of contacts you could draw upon. If they are not interested they may know someone who is. Make use of networking events such as LAC and get talking to as many people as possible.
Come back tomorrow for the second installment in the affiliate guide, where Hunter will be looking more specifically at igaming affiliates.