Most marketing people are full of it.
There’s more than 200,000+ marketing managers on LinkedIn. There’s more marketing agencies than coffee shops in the US. Everyone is an expert about SEO.
So how do you hire a great marketing person? How do you wade through the salesmanship in interviews, and find a VP of Marketing who can help take your business to the next level? What do you look for? How do you know that this person will drive results?
There’s no magic answer. But, via Terkel, I got 15 answers to the question, “What are your best tips for hiring a great marketing person?”From seeking a tech-savvy candidate to considering a specialist’s results, here’s what business leaders had to say about hiring a great marketing person.
- Seek Someone With Tech-Savvy
- Look for Curiosity
- Talk to Adaptable Candidates
- Vet Their Personal Brand Online
- Require Samples of Their Work
- Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself
- Ask for Strategy Not Tactics
- Hire a Storyteller
- Find Critical Thinkers
- Invite Them to Convince You
- Consider Their Cultural Fit
- Give Tests; Don’t Just Ask for Portfolios
- Discover a Marketer Who Benefits From Their Own Skills
- Search for Someone With Solid Analytical Skills
- Analyze their Results
Seek Someone With Tech Savvy
Look for someone who is tech-savvy, especially for social media. A great marketing person should keep up with the latest trends and know how to effectively use them in their work.
This is essential in 2023 more than ever because the landscape is changing so quickly. If you cannot keep up with the rapidly changing online world, you risk becoming outdated and replace.
Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT
Look for Curiosity
If there’s one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that the marketing industry is constantly changing to meet the needs of the ever-developing customer.
In such a dynamic playing field, you’d want a curious mind on your side—one who’s passionate about learning new trends and coming up with innovative strategies to keep your audience engaged. When interviewing potential employees, pay close attention to how curious and creative they are.
Harry Morton, Founder, Lower Street
Talk to Adaptable Candidates
Look for candidates who are adaptable and able to pivot in response to changing market conditions or business needs. Marketing is a dynamic field, and it is important to have someone on your team who can quickly adapt to new situations and challenges.Overall, it is important to carefully evaluate candidates to ensure that you are hiring someone who has the skills and experience to contribute to the success of your marketing efforts.
Ilija Sekulov, Marketing & SEO, Mailbutler
Vet Their Personal Brand Online
A good marketer will show what they can do through a robust portfolio. They will show case studies of clients that they have got meaningful results with data to support each. They likely will have an active LinkedIn presence. These are all green flags for finding the perfect marketer for your brand.
Stephanie Venn-Watson, Co-Founder, fatty15
Require Samples of Their Work
Hiring a great marketing person is much like dating. You can’t read their resume and then decide that you’ve found Mr./Mrs. Right. Go out on a few dates and see if they are the one.
Start by interviewing a few people via phone interviews and have them explain their qualifications. Ask for samples of their work and have them send them to you. That will allow you to see how professional they are and their writing style.
You need to see if their style fits the tone of your company. Ask them about their greatest successes and failures. They might give you too much information, but if they aren’t willing to be upfront with you, they aren’t worth hiring.
Gregg Dean, Co-Founder & CEO, Layla Sleep
Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself
With finding the best marketing talent, don’t pigeonhole yourself by only looking at specialists. Recruit candidates who have a combination of hard and soft skills. An applicant should be able to speak the language of marketing fluently, and these skills allow them to do just that.
For example, a candidate can show their knowledge of SEO in the interview and speak to creative ideas for marketing campaigns. A well-rounded marketer will embody a mixture of both that complement their skill set.
Tommy Chang, VP, Head of Marketing, Homelister
Ask for Strategy Not Tactics
A great marketing person is not interested in using the flashiest newest channel or creating the most controversial marketing campaign. A great marketing person is interested in what your company’s goals are, both long and short-term.
No marketing campaign will be successful if they create it without a SMART goal in mind. We identify effective marketing tactics through sound strategies that are created from specific goals.
Pam Georgiana, Freelancer Writer & Content Creator, Pam Georgiana
Hire a Storyteller
A good marketer needs to be a skilled storyteller. Marketing campaigns are deeply rooted in impactful content that tells a story. Your potential marketing candidate must possess this quality and must understand the ins and outs of the industry. Hire someone who is adaptable and who works well with a team.
Michelle Siy, Content Writer, Oliver Wicks
Find Critical Thinkers
Finding someone with demonstrated critical thinking skills is one best practice for hiring the right marketer. Though some elements are like science, marketing takes a more creative approach that requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Put another way, where science asks “why,” marketing asks why not. There is room for risk where there is no room for error in exact science, and that is where true innovation thrives.
Lyudmyla Dobrynina, Head of Marketing, Optimeal
Invite Them to Convince You
If they can express themselves well and tell you why you need to hire them. If they can communicate their needs, wants, and actually sell themselves, they can sell your business too.
Marketing is all about convincing. This is an exceptional quality you should always look for in a marketer. They should be able to convince you they are good. This is how you know they will convince your clients your product/service is good.
Lydia Mwangi, Content Writer, Barbell Jobs
Consider Their Cultural Fit
A great way to hire a stellar marketing person is to focus on the candidate’s soft skills and cultural fit. While education and experience are important, these skills and qualities may be more important in determining whether the candidate is the right fit for the role.
Look for someone who is an effective communicator, can think strategically, and is passionate about marketing and customer service. But also consider how well they “fit” with the rest of the team and their skills can be complementary to those of your existing employees.
Victor Mathieux, Co-Founder & CEO, Miracle Brand
Give Tests; Don’t Just Ask for Portfolios
Ask for candidates to complete a test, rather than show you a portfolio. There are some talented marketers out there who have less experience and may not have as extensive portfolio work as other candidates do. But just because they have a larger history of work doesn’t mean someone is necessarily a better applicant.
If you want to hire someone you can trust is talented, give your last picks a brief test, so you can see how they work when they’re contrasted against each other on identical assignments.
Brian Munce, Managing Director, Gestalt Brand Lab
Discover a Marketer Who Benefits From Their Own Skills
Drinking your own champagne is the spruced-up version of “eating your own dog food.” This was a term used to describe software development teams who used their own products in order to build confidence in their effectiveness.I think that the same concept applies to any marketing hire worth their salt. Unless it’s an incredibly junior role, the hire should have experience using the marketing channel in question for their own benefit. It’s possible to learn how to be a great marketer with no experience using the channel outside of work, but all the best hires I’ve made were with people that lived and breathed their channel and used it effectively for themselves before being hired.
Ken Marshall, Chief Growth Officer, RevenueZen
Search for Someone With Solid Analytical Skills
Pick someone with a solid understanding of the analytical skills necessary for the job. It’s also important to look for someone who has a good understanding of your industry. They should be able to identify the key trends and opportunities in the market and be capable of leveraging those insights in developing effective marketing strategies. This is essential because the success of any marketing plan depends on the ability to comprehend and accurately interpret industry data.
Yusuf Shurbaji, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Prismfly
Analyze Their Results
Get specific with the type of marketing person you need in your business. There are so many sub-categories of marketing (social media, email marketing, etc.), and most people will specialize in one or two areas.
Once you have decided what type of marketing your business will focus on, look at the candidates that fit into that specific specialization, and dig into the results that person has provided to others in the past. If the candidate can provide numeric results—even better! Look to see if the results align with where you envision taking your business.
Megan Gersch, Owner & CEO, Megan Gersch
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