As a partner at one of Ventura County’s largest marketing firms, I’ve been a witness and participant in the facilitation of our hiring needs and the development of the talented team we have at Mustang Marketing. Looking toward the semi-near future and the transition into my role as Mustang’s owner, the importance of finding candidates who are seeking a career place – not a career stop – weighs heavily in my decision-making process. I’m sure I don’t speak for only myself when I say that the hiring process can be, at times, tedious in its formalities.

Following traditional hiring practices can produce a double-edged sword effect if not managed with care. On the one hand, having candidates adopt proper protocol in responding to a job posting – a well-written cover letter and resume – highlights the responsible qualities in the potential candidate. On the other hand, the forced and often un-personal nature of the job-seeking and application process leaves little room for candidates to demonstrate creativity and investment in the company itself. Once the job applicant email inbox is filled to the brim, how do you proceed?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. At Mustang, our employees have made it easy for us to say “Yes!” As it turns out, you can stand out in a sea of letters addressed “To Whom It May Concern.” In a creative industry – in any industry – the strategic art of the “follow up” matters.

Recently, we added a new copywriter to our team. Jessica had actually interviewed with us two years prior, and after a difficult decision, we elected to go in a different direction. In July of last year, she reached out to me once more to express interest in working with Mustang after coming across our job board posting. Recalling her interview and writing samples from the past, I informed her that I was happy she had reached out with interest and that we would be in touch soon to discuss the opportunity further. Time and a series of events led to us tabling our need to fill the position, and after she followed up once more, I let her know that our hiring needs had changed but that we would keep her on file.

A few weeks had passed when my colleague, Chris, and I received a press release in our inboxes. Jessica had sent us a press release announcing her employment with Mustang, and we knew what we had to do. We arranged an interview with her the following afternoon, canceled our other scheduled interviews and welcomed Jessica to our team.

Follow-ups show that our employees have respect, interest and a value to share with us. It gives candidates a second chance to sell themselves by revealing their best skills and attributes in the most creative way. For job-seekers, follow-ups help your cause and increase interest in you, but most importantly, they demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile and your eagerness to land the job. It sets you apart from the rest, it reveals how serious and reliable you are, and it shows us just how much you want the job.

As with most businesses, we aim for “go-getters.” Go-getters follow up, they’re motivated, they’re willing to learn and they’ve got an amazing work ethic. These types of employees are instrumental in a successful workplace. This also builds good office morale and creates a “teamwork” environment.

Most companies desire employees that view employment with them as desirable. As a boss and partner of a business, placing trust, time and investment in an employee is a large task that takes careful consideration – and vulnerability. At Mustang, we’ve been fortunate enough to have that investment reciprocated, and I believe it’s one of the reasons why Mustang continues to be a top choice for clients. When you’ve surrounded yourself with a team that wants to show up to work – in fact kicked the door down to work here – that attitude reflects in the product you produce. And if there’s one thing we can be assured of, they always follow up on their emails!

Dianne McKay is a partner at Mustang Marketing in Thousand Oaks.