Finding the best talent is vital to keep an agency on the cutting edge and ahead of the pack. MDC Partners knows this well and has brought in someone who knows how to handpick the best talent on the globe, hiring Randy Duax as senior vice president of recruiting and talent. Duax, in this newly created position, will lead recruiting efforts worldwide from the New York office, reporting to MDC Partners chairman and CEO Scott Kauffman.
Duax comes to MDC Partners from WPP, serving most recently as talent director of Asia Pacific. Before that he was at WPP in New York overseeing senior executive recruitment, and was previously managing director at Koller Search Partners.
“No industry is more dependent on talent than ours, and we are highly proactive in ensuring that MDC and its agencies attract the very best, most entrepreneurial and most creative talent in the world,” said Kauffman. “With the addition of Randy to our team, we are further enhancing our talent expertise to meet the expanding needs of our agency partners and their clients, ensuring that MDC remains ‘The Place Where Great Talent Lives.’”
Duax said he made the move to MDC because of the company’s portfolio and its mix of entrepreneurial and creative people.
“I think that MDC is very uniquely positioned as a network right now. The place ticked off every single box I’m looking for. I don’t see how someone could look at this and not think that it was something to jump at,” said Duax. “MDC is doing something very different and I’m thrilled by the incredible opportunity to contribute to its rapid ascent.”
Duax sees MDC talent as entrepreneurial, that they look at creativity in a different light compared to other agencies. In his experience as a recruiter, he has noticed certain trends when talking with the best and brightest, and the conversation has somehow veered often to MDC and what’s going on with its companies like 72andSunny or Anomaly, which is another reason he was drawn to the position.
“They’re always on the lips of the people that I think about as my potential dream team. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily something that you can quantify, but the people that I’ve really been impressed with, they all tend to be impressed with MDC. That was something else that pulled me over here as well,” he said.
Duax has seen the rise of digital in the industry, and thus, the recruitment process. His first three months at MDC will be about doing a deep dive into the market and trying to find the best and brightest that the company doesn’t already have in place.
“The thing about recruiting, in my opinion, is that you have to make everything up as you go because technology is changing the industry so quickly — that the jobs you’re recruiting for may not have existed six months ago,” he said, noting that right now programmatic is hot, but he remembers when ad networks first popped up as the hot trend, or iPhone development and even the dot com boom recruiting for salespeople to sell online.
His point being that, while the positions and trends may change, finding the right talent involves what that recruit may bring to the table for a position and how technology can disrupt that position or industry.
“You have to bring people in from outside all the industries. I think that if you look at most recruitment, from what I’ve seen, there’s a tendency to just recruit from across the street. ‘We have a CFO open; who is the person who is at a direct competitor? If they’re not available, go to the number-two person,’” he said.
“I think what’s much more interesting, and I think this is what has drawn me to all of the positions that were really digital and innovation focused, is that you have to look at the position breakdown and what it really is, and then look at all of the industries that could potentially inform it and pull people that way. I think that’s one of the appealing things about MDC is the technology that they have here and some of the stuff they’re doing with integration. When you’re that much at the forefront, you have to think about where you’re pulling people from because a lot of times there isn’t a competitor. You’re building it as you go. That’s the exciting thing about being over here,” Duax added. “That’s challenge number one: How do we pipeline people in for technologies that don’t exist yet? How do we hire people that are adaptable enough to figure out on the fly whenever technology comes out tomorrow that could disrupt 30 per cent of your business model?”
When he does recruit for MDC, diversity will undoubtedly be a part of the process, something he will figure out with Jason Magnus, VP of talent inclusion at MDC.
“That is absolutely one of the most important things on the docket for me personally, particularly because I was in Asia and was exposed to many different things, and cultures, and people, and it was all amazing,” he said.
Duax thinks that MDC is in the perfect place in the industry right now, that its nimble abilities are equipped to handle whatever disruption may come its way, including new technologies Google and Apple have in the pipeline and the ongoing maturation of programmatic.
“At the same time, there could be a new technology that comes out tomorrow that makes programmatic completely irrelevant. I don’t like to make predictions because the beauty of this industry is that when we’re so much at the forefront and so cutting edge, it’s really difficult to predict day-to-day. I think that’s part of the reason we’re all in advertising, right?”