When you hire an email-marketing agency, how do you decide which candidate makes the cut? Size, location, reputation? And has that process always worked for you? Or have you, like many others, hired a "dream team" only to be a bit, well, disappointed down the road?

If you've ever been frustrated with an email-marketing partner, perhaps it's time to take a hard look at your own hiring criteria, says Scott Hardigree at the Email Marketing Chronicles. "All too often," he writes, "companies make their selection based on the wrong criteria, which causes heartache, inefficiency, and a significant amount of lost productivity and dollars."

To help, Hardigree offers a list of email-partner hiring dos and don'ts. Some highlights:

Do pick up the phone and initiate conversations with prospects. "Ask them about their history," he suggests, "who their current clients are, what their core capabilities are." When a company sounds like a good fit, investigate further.

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