Building a culture of trust and empowerment

“Trust your people, dare them to go for it and get energised by what you can create together” 

That quote from Jo Miller is something Lee and I have lived by since we started No Brainer.

When we set out, we realised we were never going to grow a business with just the two of us. We’d both have done very well that way, but it wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted to create something meaningful.

We knew this would always mean hiring the best people we could possibly find, but we also knew that we’d need to inspire them around our beliefs, and energise them behind a dream.

It would mean creating – then living and breathing – an authentic, collective culture. This needed us to be clear about the way we wanted to work, the high standards we expect of our team when it comes to delivering for our clients, but also how we support, motivate and sometimes challenge one another.

And, in time, it would also mean trusting everyone who joined us take that on and dare to go for it.

Choosing right

Putting time and effort into hiring the right talent, at the right time, has always been one of our biggest priorities. We know if we hire right, we’re less likely to go wrong.

Building our team over the last four and a half years has been a fantastic process. There’s been a lot of pressure to get it right, lessons learned along the way (sometimes with very little sleep) and some tough conversations, but all those challenges have been completely worth it.

I thought it might be worth sharing some of our recruitment journey so far – going from the pair of us in my office at home to a vibrant, passionate and talented bunch of eleven individuals who we’re proud to work alongside. And a team that will soon be growing again!

Scoring and sharing

Lee and I both come from corporate backgrounds, so we’re well-versed in best-in-class approaches to recruitment and personal development.

The first thing we do in our recruitment process, is score everything! That includes applications, interviews, education, experience, personal traits and the like.

Specific personal traits, in particular, are so key to our world and, so much so that 60 per cent of our scoring is around emotional intelligence and team fit.

That might seem high to most, but it’s critical to the business we work in, to managing complex accounts, to building strong relationships, and to handling challenges at speed.

The shifting landscape of agency life means you often need to bring people with you (whether that’s the other members of the team or our client), to work collectively, to be resilient and to have each other’s back.

Over the years our hiring strategy has worked well most of the time. Through it, we’re proud to have built a team of grafters, who support one another and don’t take themselves too seriously.

They’re passionate too, so one of the first things we always look at on applicant CVs is to see if they are passionate about anything. For example, on first review I’ll often scroll past the education bit, to look at their interests.

Why? Because 99 times out of 100 they’ll be better qualified than me anyway! But also, because a rich array of interests show a lot about who people are, that they are prepared to go beyond, are team-spirited or passionate, and they are prepared to challenge themselves.

So, if you’re ever considering applying for a job with us, don’t hold back from sharing your interests, passions and beliefs, as those that do, really stand out.

Experience and qualifications play a part in all job interviews and that’s why the remainder of our score sheet is based on these.

But again that’s never linear, and I’m always surprised by the different routes people are now taking into careers in PR, whether that’s through the traditional university path, apprenticeships, at-home learning or working their way up in an in-house role. We’re always keen to hear about how people have ended up where they are now, and why they chose the path they have. Everyone has a story.

But in our eyes, a willing attitude mixed with the right ethic and experience is the winning formula to succeed at No Brainer.

I always say, it’s not all about where someone is now – it’s about where they have the capacity and capability to get to.

So, for me, there’s nothing more exciting than leaving the boardroom having interviewed someone who we see true potential in – someone with fire in their eyes.

We did it our way

When it comes to recruiting the right people, not only do we want to hire the best talent, but we also want to make sure we’re reaching our next prospective hires through the right channels too.

Since launching No Brainer, we’ve actively recruited through our own comms channels. Our approach has always seemed to work for us, but that doesn’t mean we may not consider recruitment companies in future as the team, hopefully, continues to get bigger.

Right now though, we simply practice what we preach. We work with a few of our clients on recruitment through social and PR, and so it makes total sense for us to apply the same methods to our own business.

We do this predominantly through social media, with carefully targeted ads that we know are landing with the right people alongside staying in contact with superstars that make the effort to pro-actively get in touch with us.

We constantly view our social channels as a recruitment tool too. That’s why our No Brainer account team (we don’t forget about ourselves!) filmed this short video which gives prospective employees a taste of life at No Brainer – including some of the qualities you might need to succeed here.

Super-talented Account Executives – we want you!

Seeing our team here flourish and grow professionally has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

Each and every team member has their own strengths and passions. They shine differently, and that’s so rewarding to see.

And so, the time has come again for the brew rounds to get bigger, the fridge space to get smaller and the office noise level to get louder – because we’re recruiting!

We’re looking for two Account Executives to join the No Brainer gang to support our fantastic clients and help us grow our agency into 2020 and beyond.

View the job description here and get in touch with us on

Gary Jenkins

Gary Jenkins

I’ve been a journalist and PR leader, working with high growth start-ups to complex multi-million-pound businesses for more than 20 years. My heart lies in landing brilliant international and national coverage for clients and helping take strategy through to delivery and seeing the results!

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