Edelman's Mazuin Zin: 'It's the people who make the title, not the other way round'

Mazuin Zin, managing director, Edelman Malaysia, is no stranger to leading organisational transformation. Hailing from the world creative agencies, Mazuin's (pictured) career spans 20 years across key agency networks in MullenLowe, Leo Burnett Group and Ogilvy. She switched over to the world of PR last September, replacing Rob Kay.

Known to be a transformational leader, Mazuin strongly believes in getting her hands dirty and being tenacious. Hoping to use her creative and leadership expertise to strengthen Edelman's regional communications marketing capabilities, Mazuin shares with A+M her criteria for hiring and skill sets required to support the agency in building its offerings. Specifically, we zoom into hiring of modern day account directors.

A+M: What traits do you look out for when hiring an account director?

In my view, it is the people who make the title, not the other way round. Someone who is leading in the capacity of business lead, or account director needs, to be more of an entrepreneur and less of a manager. He or she needs to be a leader who is hands on and is driven by a start-up mindset and is not expecting layers of teams to grow businesses.

Agility and hunger are at the core of what we aspire to be.

Most importantly, he or she needs to be a keen learner of client business and not just a communication marketing person.

A+M: What new skill sets are required of employees to support Edelman in building its strategic consulting and content creation-led offerings?

Everything goes back to the basics of having a start-up or entrepreneurial mindset. At Edelman, we all strive to help clients "Act With Certainty" which stems from the fundamental approach of how we are continuously learning and upgrading our own skill sets. So, we welcome people who are hungry, who believe in kick-starting initiatives and a more integrated entrepreneurial approach than ‘but my university degree was in communications mindset’.

A+M: What are some of the things that turn you off completely?

Often, resumes tell you inflated stories and people tend to hide behind them or claim the entire success of the work. If you dig a little deeper then, voila, you will realise many lack the core understanding of the challenges they were tasked to respond to. The other key issue continues to be lack of maturity and the sense of entitlement.

A+M: How important is word of mouth references from former employers/employees?

Referral checks often tell you one side of the story, as the context in which one is evaluating the talent may differ. However, it often proves a good sounding board to check on a candidate's attitude.

A+M: How can employees approach the topic of a pay raise?

The philosophy of funding your own dreams or aspirations is something that today’s talents need to learn. Instead of demanding, show that you deserve a pay raise by commanding what you truly deserve. This goes back to the philosophy of how entrepreneurial you are, how you plan to grow the business and the agency.

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