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Starting A New Outreach Role During a Global Pandemic: A Chat With Greg

Finding, interviewing for and starting a job during a global pandemic can add a whole new level of stress to an already trying time. Remote interviews, remote onboarding, remote team introductions – how do you navigate these new working ways?

Joining our outreach team last summer, junior digital marketing executive Greg McManus tells us why starting a new job while working remote doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. He talks through his recruitment experience, why he chose WMG, his first eight months in the job and why he’s actually got to know his team better over Teams…

What made you choose WMG?

Well, I wanted to go into the digital sector because it’s growing. In terms of the agency itself, I saw WMG was part of the IDHL Group offering a wide range of services alongside lots of different expertise and skills, which I thought was interesting as I’m able to learn more about the wider industry too.

After finishing university, I had a bit of experience in website building where I built a site in WordPress for my amateur cricket team. That gave me a hint of what life in digital was like and it gave me a basis of working with Google and other digital systems as well. This is really what sparked my interest in the sector as a whole and gave me a background into SEO which I think is a big reason why I got the job. As I built the website off my own back, it also showed a real interest in the industry which is what they were looking for in a new team member. I’d recommend to anyone going for a new role to show your knowledge, interest and any experience around the topic during your interview.

WMG also offers a really young, vibrant and forward-thinking work environment which is something I wanted as my last job was in a more traditional industry. I saw this job come up on Indeed and it just made sense with my background and also meant I had a knowledge base that I could show in my interview. I think WMG are also really interested in who you are as a person – they really consider the potential that someone might have and how they gel with the wider team.

Tell me a little bit more about the recruitment and interview process?

It was actually a very quick process compared to other roles I’ve applied for – I sent my CV in on a Wednesday and I was called for the interview on the Friday. My first interview was with Taryn and then I had my second interview with Vickie. The actual interview process was also very quick with both being done within about 10 days. The interviews themselves were very much just a conversation, getting to know me as a person and getting to know my past experiences.

After my second interview with Vickie, it was only a matter of days before I started. On the first day, things were different due to the pandemic, but I went to the office in Harrogate, picked up my laptop, came home, opened it up and I was working straight away. So, in terms of the integration, it was very quick because the agency had those systems already set up meaning I was able to jump straight in and start learning things within the week that I joined. The whole process was all very seamless which eased my nerves and I think that’s really important, especially for a remote onboarding process.

From day one, I got a very warm welcome in the Teams chat. When you’re starting a job remotely, there isn’t all the stress of having to remember people’s names, who they are or thinking ‘who’s that person I’ve just walked past in the office?’. In my experience, the remote onboarding process has actually been a lot easier. Although I’ve worked for the agency for almost eight months and I’ve only met two of my colleagues in person, I’d say I probably know more about my teammates from just having a chat over Teams on a Friday afternoon about what we’re all doing at the weekend. Because everybody’s in the same boat working from home it’s really important to have that more personal communication going on.

In terms of my role, I felt like I knew exactly what I had to do, and I knew if I needed help, I could go to the right person on Teams, send them a message and instantly get feedback. It’s also easier to go back to these messages and re-read something as much as you need to rather than having to ask again.

Tell me about your role?

So, I’m currently a junior digital marketing executive (DME) in the outreach team. My role is to execute the outreach or link building element of a strategy drawn up by our technical account managers or sales account managers.

Basically, my role involves trying to find websites which have a natural affinity with our client, and where we can gain a link to our client.  On the one hand, this covers sourcing and finding relevant sites (outreach) and on the other, it covers content. So, I also play a part in creating content which will link into our client’s website. Once the target site has agreed to be a part of our campaign, the content ideas have been agreed and the content has been created, then we agree a publishing date within the bloggers publishing schedule.  In a nutshell, that’s what I do.

Even though I have certain tasks I need to do within the month, I have a level of autonomy too. I can put my stamp on the work I’m doing which is why I enjoy it as I feel like this can play into my strengths such as writing content or trying to find websites to naturally place links on.

Across the full outreach team there is a real mix of people, skills and experiences which complement one another and means we can help each other out when it’s needed. At the top of the food chain is our head of outreach, Vickie, and then below her is our team leaders who are senior members of the team. Each of those team leaders has a team of about five underneath them – I believe there’s about four teams, maybe five teams under the senior DMEs at the moment.

Can you sum up how your first eight months at WMG has been?

It’s been a whirlwind, really. Like I said earlier, from day one, I was involved with the team, I was up and running and I was working. If there’s one thing that has really helped me in this role it’s that I’m able to work at my own speed which has allowed me to better integrate with the team. Within a matter of months, I was already pulling my weight which I think helped make me feel like I’m actually part of the team rather than just a new starter who’s holding other people back, which is nice.

Working from home, I’m also able to organise my day around how I like to work and what sort of things I have to do. At home, you’re in an environment you’re already comfortable in so you can just focus on what’s in front of you, learning and getting up to speed with the role. Management have also been really good at recognising that I’m able to work in my own way and put my own stamp on things. Having this bit of autonomy has really helped me drive my experience and skills forward.

It sounds like there are also good opportunities to progress within your team?

As an agency, our revenue is higher than it’s ever been. So, expansion is happening every week and as the business continues to grow, all these new opportunities are going to crop up for people to move up the ranks. I’m really looking forward to this and increasing my range in terms of what I’m doing day to day.

Compared to what I’ve heard from other agencies, I feel like WMG is the place to be because of how fast we’re growing. The work environment and team morale are also really up there as one of the best I’ve worked in. So yes, just all-round positive end to end really!

If you’re interested in starting a career in digital marketing, take a look at our current vacancies. With impressive benefits and huge development potential, our opportunities are rife, spanning digital PR, paid media, outreach, SEO, content, CRO and sales.