On Marketing Talent & Agency Hiring

On Marketing Talent & Agency Hiring


Kathy Loke joined the ROOTS & DEX Group in 2016 and has been pioneering human resources ever since. In the past one year, her focus has been on building the talent management capability within her team and nurturing People & Culture throughout the organisation, including the development of a learning platform.

  1. What traits do you look for when hiring for our teams?

K: The two main keywords are Competency & Character. We believe that a person with the soft skills and right work approach could perform better than someone who has years of relevant experience. Same goes for cultural fit. We try to identify people who fit into our company core values of Family, Leadership and Craziness. These are the values that have kept us together as a Group. While individuality is encouraged in marketing, being able to synergise with the team is what gets work done. Marketing doesn’t exist in silos, especially since we’re an integrated model. High energy levels is something that we like, too.

  1. Has the trend towards the gig economy impacted the business?

K: More and more candidates are interested in flexible working hours and shorter employment commitment to have time for their personal interests, such as having their own start-up business, traveling the world or even doing social volunteerism. In an industry with a cyclical fiscal pattern, we are also tapping into this opportunity to fill in ad-hoc project needs and bring in specialised talents that are not needed full-time in the office, like event photography and copywriters. We’re currently building up an internal freelancer management system to adjust our hiring model for the gig economy.

  1. What skill set is DEX looking for to support the ongoing development of the Group’s services?

K: It is always very important for an agency to continuously add value for our clients. Our goal is to move towards a consultancy-based marketing agency and our teams need to be equipped with strong analytical & problem-solving skills. In that respect, we have started using marketing technologies for ourselves and for our clients, and we will continue to see plenty of value-added insights and improvement in efficiency from these technologies. Skills in martech are rare but worth the investment. Most agencies pay lip service to this. We’re still figuring it out, too. Our martech talent is parked in our digital performance marketing team, but well-rounded marketers would do well to understand how marketing technology can help in their area of specialisation.

  1. How can marketers keep up?

K: Practice a shoshin mindset even if you are already an expert in your area of specialisation. With openness and lack of preconceptions in the learning process, you will gain more and learn from a new perspective. Of course, this is easier said than done! As we get used to doing things a certain way, there is a lot of resistance to innovation. But as much as specialisation helps you get far, agility helps you survive changes. As a step to encourage knowledge-sharing and learning, we have rolled out our own learning management system called REX Academy. It is an online learning portal with modules prepared by internal subject matter experts. This puts team members on a more structured development path and helps people managers to better monitor their team’s performance.

  1. How should interested candidates apply for a position with DEX?

K: We’re always on the lookout for great talent. Candidates can send their CV to discover@rootsactivate.com along with a tailored cover note.