Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!
Today’s Question: What’s your secret to hiring the best marketing talent?
1. Look at the Aesthetics of Their Resume and Their Attention to Detail
Good marketers will know how to market themselves, and the layout, design, and detail of their resume will give insight to this. Same goes if they have a website.
— Eleni Cotsis, LinkedStartups
2. Give Them Homework
Today’s marketing hire needs to be curious, adaptable, tech-savvy, and not afraid to fail quickly. When hiring for our marketing team at Blueboard, I typically do a phone screen, then share a take-home project, then hold a 1:1 interview where we dig more into their personality and culture fit.
In the project, we ask them to share a big idea for driving users to our site, ask how they would measure success, and typically ask them to contribute an idea to another piece of our business, experience curation (ideating a reward for our experience catalog), to make sure they’re excited about our mission and core product.
— Morgan Chaney, Blueboard
3. Test Their Crisis Management Skills
Give them a scenario and see how they structure a response. True marketing talent is not in knowing all the bells and whistles of the trade, but instead in being able to understand a company so well that you can frame a plan that fits the company perfectly. My biggest achievements were not due to a fancy education, but to knowing my products and my audience well enough that I was able to invent solutions that perfectly coincided with our company’s overall mission and goals. A good candidate should be able not only to impress you with their knowledge of marketing, but also to tailor that knowledge to the needs of the company so that they can find the best solution for all of the company’s needs.
— Sarah Donawerth, Blogger and Marketing Professional
4. Know What Your Company Really Needs
Are you a startup who needs someone with broad knowledge and hands-on experience? Then interview candidates who have a track record of working in small, agile environments and can prove tangible results. Don’t get blinded by big school or company names if the profile of the candidate does not match your needs. I have repeatedly hired candidates who did not look perfect on paper but had very broad sets of skills and experiences and had proven their drive to learn and own projects because these individuals showed the right mindset and motivation in addition to skill set.
— Christine Cummings, All Set
5. In Addition to Technical Skills, Assess Their Thought Process
There’s a lot of emphasis today on hiring marketing people who have strong technical skills and experience in marketing automation tools, search engine optimization, and Google Analytics. That’s important from an execution standpoint, but I also want to know a person’s thought process in how they build a campaign or a product launch.
I’ll have candidates take me through a project so I can understand how they get to know the audience they target, what channels they use, how they developed the messaging, and how they work with other parts of the organization to develop a program. I want to know how well a candidate can think in an analog world just as much as how well they can execute in a digital one.
— Ian Cluroe, Alexander Mann Solutions
6. Look for the Unteachable ‘Extra Edge’
Focus on covering the skills that are hard (if not impossible) to teach. Either they’ve got it, or they don’t. Top-tier marketers are going to be intelligent people anyway, so teaching new skills when it comes to advanced analytics or pitching for big business is reasonably simple. You want people who have that extra edge that can’t be taught, whether that be in writing hard-hitting messaging, generating ideas, empathy, leadership, or the ability to command a room. These are all skills that should differentiate candidates as that higher band of marketer, team member, and leader.
— Simon Ensor, Yellowball
7. Seek ‘Resilient Failures’
The best marketers are resilient failures. “What is the biggest bust in your career?” — “bust” being the operative word — is a must-ask. Since marketing is a game of risk and reward, the best marketers have failed, but they’ve failed forward.
If a candidates has failed forward,they will conclude their answer to your question with an overview of what they learned, and they will pivot instinctively to a positive future outcome directly driven by their experience.
If their failure is a sugar-coated platitude designed to ultimately be positive from the onset — such as, “I am just such a perfectionist! It sometimes gets in the way” — then they truly haven’t taken enough risks and will not be top tier.
All marketers should fail miserably — spectacularly, even — at least once in their career and rise from the ashes a stronger person.
— Marlon Heimerl, Bellacor.com