Hear from Karen, owner and founder of PF.
Only apply for one of our roles if you’re interested in moving on from doing your own thing, and would like to become part of an agency team. We’ve found our agency is the most profitable and efficient when the whole team works together – familiar with all the clients (not just your own), and working with content writers, web developers, client marketing managers, and everyone on all clients. Not just doing a small project and then moving on to something else. A good number of our existing team members used to be freelancers or working on their own, and they got tired of doing all the hard work to find clients, qualify clients, do invoicing and chase payments and admin. You don’t have to do any of that – you just get to do great work with good people who care about their businesses and clients. We are very particular who we work with as clients, and don’t accept everyone.
Our client split is around 60% UK, 30% USA and Canada, and the rest from “all other countries”. You do need to be available for client meetings, team meets, and urgent projects, and depending on the role and client work, this could lead to a time zone issue. However, we consider applications on a “person first” philosophy: so if you’re the right person, this is the work you love and are good at, and you’re willing to be flexible with time zones, submit away! You could even mention in your video where you are in the world and how you can or are willing to be flexible given the split of our clients.
Our 7 stage hiring process has been created to help protect both us and you. If at any point during this process you decide we’re not the agency or this isn’t the role for you, no problem at all. (And vice versa: we may at any point let you know we’ve decided not to move you to the next stage.) But you do need to be serious enough to send us a 3 minute video.
No. We ask for a 3 minute video first because it helps you decide if you’re really considering this role, or just flinging your CV/resume around to lots of places. All our roles have a 3 month training and probation period, because we have a unique process and way of doing things. You’ll be doing client work as soon as possible, but we’re in it for the long game. If you’re just applying randomly to places, we’re not the agency for you.
Because PF is a remote agency, video is huge for us. Every meeting we have is always on Zoom, with video – and even for quick team chats on Slack, we default to video. We need to stay connected, read body language, listen to tone of voice, and understand how people are feeling. Our team members also record regular videos for clients and our social media. Asking for a video at the start helps you decide whether you’re truly keen enough to apply (it takes more effort and thought to record a video than it does to click a few buttons and send an email), and it helps us get a sense of the kind of person you are. We’re serious about hiring (we have a 7 stage hiring process) and we’ve applied a lot of what we’ve learned about marketing to our own hiring. Many of our clients follow a similar process when they are hiring for their accountancy firm.
PF has a 7-stage hiring process based on our values. We are equally interested in whether someone fits our internal values, as we are in whether you are able to do the work. If there’s a mismatch either on values or skills, we won’t be the best fit for you. Here’s the short version of what happens next:
Stage One: Video submission
You submit a 3 minute video to introduce yourself to the team, explain what role you’re applying for and why.
Stage Two: Evaluation by team
The team reviews your video, and votes on whether you move to the next stage.
Stage Three: Tester project
If approved, you’ll get a ‘tester project’: a live, real project based on an actual client. The project varies depending on the role being applied for. You’ll get a deadline, and enough information to work. This is to evaluate your skills for this particular role.
Stage Four: Group video call on Zoom
If you move to stage four, you’ll hang out with the team in a group video call. They’ll have questions to ask, but it’s meant to be like hanging out at a coffee shop or the pub. Just get to know these people and see if you like them.
Stage Five: Reference requests
If you move to the next stage, we’ll send you a form which you pass on to three different people who know you well (people who have worked directly with you as a client, an employer, or a partner). The team review the responses.
Stage Six: Value fit analysis
This is a self-assessment: you tell us how well you feel you fit the values. This is your turn to give us your opinion of yourself. Based on the results of the references and the self assessment, we all decide if you move to the final stage.
Stage Seven: Interview with the owner
For those who make it to this stage, you’ll have an online interview with the owner (Karen). She will go deep. Ask you hard questions. Some questions may be uncomfortable. This is your last in, and your last out. We remain open to the possibility that this is where something could come out that changes everything. If it’s the right place for you, or isn’t, we’ll all know it. And that’s the goal!
Read more about our 7 stage process here
We’ve done our best to craft the entire hiring process around our values. PF has four pillars (Creativity, Integrity, Generosity, and Rest) as well as six internal values. These summarise who we are and how we work. We live and die by these, and we hire and fire by these. We expect these values from each other as well as our clients – praising each other when the values are being lived out, and calling each other out if they’re not.
The hiring process isn’t perfect, but it is comprehensive. We get a pretty good sense of who people are as they move through the process, and ultimately it’s your decision as to whether PF is the kind of company you’d like to be part of for a long time. That’s what we want to find out, too.
Our core services surround branding, and outsourced marketing itself (ie, BEING the outsourced marketing department for accounting firms). The more we learn about branding, and work with firms on it, the more we see brand is at the heart of everything, and the particular marketing we help firms with, flows from that.
The services needed by each firm vary depending on the firm’s size, location, type, owner(s), audience, and brand goals: but we’ve built a particular Way of doing things (the PF Way) which follows the marketing map. And we’re in the midst of an entire PF website rebuild to answer this question. Because we believe it’s too crowded, and could guide them through the journey much faster!
We work with all different sizes of accounting firms (from one person firms to larger ones with multiple offices and hundreds of employees), but our sweet spot would be firms with 1-4 partners, and 0-100 employees. Any larger than that and it becomes challenging to get buy in, to have one clear decision maker, and to see decisions made quickly. For larger firms, we often work with their in house marketing team on larger projects, branding, or one-off campaigns.
The UK/USA/Canada are our primary locations because we are building regional teams in different areas. We have clients in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout Europe, and as we build clients in a particular region, we also build our team there. We’re open to firms from any country working with us; however, due to our exclusive niche and expertise in this area, our fees can feel fairly high to firms who aren’t used to investing at a serious level in their marketing. In addition, the currency exchange rates for some countries & currencies can genuinely make it difficult for a firm who is paying at a different rate for all the services they receive. However, there is a lot of variety in the firms who sign up for our training courses, and the team interacts with them weekly to support their marketing.
Absolutely! We hire based on a “person first” philosophy: which means if you’re the right person, and it’s such a perfect fit we want you to work with us, we’ll consider hurrying forward a role we weren’t going to hire for yet. If you love the idea of PF, its people and values, and believe this could be the company you want to be part of, submit a video and tell us what role you want us to consider you for, and why. Look around at our website and our client stories and tell us how you think you’d be a great support to the rest of the team. We’re open!
We do get that for some roles or personalities, your preference may be to simply work quietly away in the background. You aren’t too keen on video, and the thought of submitting a 3 minute video may make you nervous (or possibly paralyse you with fear). We do insist on a video as a first step, but it’s completely okay if you feel nervous, or look nervous, or have a shaky voice, or ramble a bit. We’re not asking for Netflix documentaries or Hollywood films: it’s just an introduction. Think of it like a talent day. Our team are standing around at an exhibition table, with the PF brand on show, and you walk up to them and say hello. You might feel nervous, but you want to get in touch, and you ask some questions and talk about yourself a little and just make that connection. That’s all we’re asking. If you end up working with PF, you’ll be on video most days at least with the team, and sometimes with the clients. So, if you absolutely can’t do a video, we’re not the company for you. If you can but you’re nervous, that’s all we ask!
1. Be human
2. Keep to the 3 minutes
3. Do something that will cause the team to think “Hm they seem interesting , let’s move them to the next stage”
4. Anything that addresses the PF values is good!
Whether you’re keen for a particular role, or just exploring options with PF, start by sending us a video. We don’t care about CV’s or cover letters.
Record a 3 minute video and send it to [email protected], and tell us what type of role you want, and why you would be amazing in it.
It’s also great if you connect with us on all the socials – you’ll be the kind of person who is able to find them and us!