We’ve had a lot of great successes -- as well as some epic failures. Through all of our experiences, however, we never got discouraged.
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We kept tweaking and updating our process so we didn’t make the same mistakes again and so we could repeat what we did when actually did find that perfect person.
While our process will always be changing and updating, we’ve gotten to a point where we feel really good about the people we move forward in the process, and even better about the ones whom we offer positions.
Throughout these hiring cycles, we’ve developed a reference list of specific qualities that we look for when hiring our next marketing mastermind whether it be a strategist, coordinator, consultant, or even designer.
This makes it easier to comb through applicants and find the right fit for not only each position, but our team as a whole, so I thought it might help you build your marketing team as well.
Here are five of the most important qualities to look for in your next marketing hire.
Qualities to Look for in a Marketing Hire
1. Skillset and Experience
Depending on the role, we’re actually pretty lenient on this one.
We’ve realized that we can occasionally overlook someone’s skills because we know we can teach a lot of things in-house, however, there are certain skills that every applicant needs to have before moving forward in the IMPACT hiring process. We call these “Must-Haves.”
In addition, we have another list that we call “Nice-to-Haves”.
Let’s dive into what each of these lists look like...
Under “must-haves” we list the skills that are essential in order to succeed at IMPACT in general, as well as some job-specific skills.
We’ve narrowed our list down to the following:
Tech “Savvy-ness”: Skills that demonstrate ability to navigate and use a variety of modern tech products and platforms, and adapt to new advancements in technology.
Business-Growth Knowledge: Skills that demonstrate your ability to apply marketing techniques in order to grow a business.
Communication: Written and verbal skills that effectively drive meaningful conversations.
Job Functional Skills - Past the skills listed above, the job functional skills go deeper into the actual role that the person is filling. Aside from the basics that everyone must have, what else is important for this person to succeed in their specific role? For instance, if we’re hiring a Strategist, we’ll want to see that they’ve created successful digital campaigns in the past. We’ll evaluate this through their past experience, having them explain their campaigns, and having them apply their knowledge in an activity portion of our interview process.
Nice-to-haves are skills or experiences that aren’t deal-breakers if an applicant doesn’t have them, but give them some extra bonus points, if they do.
A few examples “nice to haves” that we might look for at IMPACT are:
HubSpot Certifications: Certifications are one way to demonstrate an understanding of inbound marketing and most likely familiarity with the platform.
Experience with the HubSpot platform: It’s convenient to bring someone onto the team who is already versed in the HubSpot platform so their ramp-up period is faster.
Agency Experience: Being prepared for the fast-paced nature of an agency helps with a person’s transition into a seat at IMPACT. Knowing an applicant has worked in that environment before (and still wants to be in it) is reassuring that they won’t be surprised or discouraged at the speed of everything.
2. Cultural Fit
Sometimes it’s easy to be dazzled by a person’s experience or reputation without stopping to analyze if they’d actually fit into your company culture.
While someone might seem great on paper, that doesn’t mean that they’ll collaborate well with your team or really possess your company’s values.
When someone isn’t a culture match, before you know it, they’re searching for another job, or worse, your valued employees may be derailed by this employee - possibly causing them to look elsewhere as well.
To avoid bringing someone into your culture that isn’t a fit, you’ll want to ask the following questions with each candidate:
Does this person embody our core values?
Using your company’s core values (which you should have!), determine ways to look for each one in an applicant.
For instance, one of our core values at IMPACT is “Passion.” Now, there isn’t a cookie cutter way of evaluating this, but some clues into whether or not someone is passionate about marketing is to look at or ask about:
Their educational path (Did they major in something marketing-related?)
Their experience (Have they held other positions in the field?)
The blogs/podcasts/companies they follow
Books they’ve read
Certifications they have (Google, SEO, HubSpot, etc.)
Is this person passionate about our mission?
You can sometimes spot this in a person’s past experience, but if it’s not clear, sometimes simply asking them why they’re passionate about your company’s purpose can provide real insight into their priorities.
If they’re not excited about your mission they won’t bring the value you’re looking for and they probably won’t stick around long either.
Will this person work well with our team?
One way to evaluate this question is to have an applicant spend some time working with top employees at your company.
As one of the last steps in our hiring process, we have our most promising applicants spend a day in the office. During this visit, we have the applicant meet with a number of our employees, so they have the opportunity to evaluate the person as well (after all, they will be the ones working with them directly).
In addition, this gives the applicant the opportunity to see if we’re even a good culture fit for them and vice versa. Better to find that out in the hiring process than down the line.
Not only is it useful internally to have someone who is ready to lend a helping hand, but our clients can benefit from having this type of person on their account.
I don’t think I need to harp on this one since I only see positives to bringing someone on board who is naturally helpful.
4. Professional Development
When people take professional development seriously, it not only helps improve themselves, but also, in turn, their company and those they work with. When someone is continuously learning and staying on top of their industry, their passion for what they do becomes evident and ultimately, they become even more valuable to your team.
Being in marketing, you’ll quickly fall behind if you aren’t focusing on professional development and educating yourself. Things change too fast to hold onto old methods and practices, and you’ll notice that your competitors who take the time to do their research will quickly pass by you.
A person who doesn’t have a passion for professional development in their field is probably in the wrong one, and certainly isn’t the type of person you should have on your team. That’s definitely not someone we want at IMPACT.
To find someone who is always learning:
Put it on your application: On some of our job applications, we ask the applicant to talk about a recent self-education activity they’ve completed.
Ask in your interviews: Asking someone on the spot about a recent activity they’ve done to advance themselves in the field (i.e. read a book/blog article, listened to a podcast, etc.) is a quick way to know if it’s a priority for them.
Look at certifications, courses, etc: Check to see if the person has any certifications in their field and when they were last updated. There are tons of free or paid certifications out there that a person could find and access with a quick Google search.
5. Ability/Willingness to Produce Live or Recorded Content
This is something we’ve recently put some emphasis on at IMPACT, but depending what your marketing hire is doing for your company, it may be more or less important.
With video and audio content becoming increasingly more relevant and important, it can be very valuable to have marketers around who aren’t afraid of the camera (or microphone for that matter).
Whether it’s doing a Facebook Live video, leveraging Snapchat, participating in webinars, or recording a podcast, this type of content is in increasing demand and in reality, a lot of people (even if they’re in marketing) either aren’t good at it or simply want nothing to do with it.
Is video marketing really that important?
If you need more convincing about the power of video marketing, I’d suggest checking out some of these posts from a few of my colleagues to really drive the point home:
Look at Past Experience: Have they worked with video or audio in other positions? Talk with them about this.
Check Social Media: Check out their social media and see if they post their own videos, podcasts, etc. A lot of people don’t even realize that they could apply this type of skill in a work environment so they might not list it anywhere on their resume.
Video Interviews: I’ve recently started looking into video interviews and if you’re using them, this could be one way to evaluate a person’s video presence. Some people might even take themselves out of the running to avoid being in front of the camera.
If you’re not looking for a marketing person to be the star of the productions, it also helps if they know how to use the different platforms or perform some basic video or audio editing.
Now, go find your next marketing mastermind!
Unfortunately, there isn’t a foolproof method to hiring, but I hope these qualities help you find the best group of marketing candidates for your organization.
Once again, if you found yourself thinking, “I have all of those qualities,” while reading this then I’d encourage you to apply to one of our open positions! We’re always on the lookout for awesome people to add to our team.