Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Course: How to Hire a Content Manager

Start the Course
... They Ask, You Answer Hiring a Marketing Team
Close
How-to-Hire-a-Content-Manager

Free Course:

How to Hire a Content Manager
Start the Course
How to Hire a Content Manager
Free Content Manager Hiring Course
View How to Hire a Content Manager
How-to-Hire-a-Content-Manager

Free Course:

Find the powerhouse content manager who will truly own your strategy, tell your story, and drive the traffic, leads, and sales you need

In this free course, you’ll learn:

  • What should be in your content manager job description
  • The questions you should ask in an interview and how to run a situational activity
  • How to set your new content manager up for success

How To Use They Ask, You Answer to Improve Your Hiring Process

Just as educated prospects become better customers, educated candidates become better team members.

By John Becker

John Becker also recommends this free course, How to Hire a Content Manager.

How To Use They Ask, You Answer to Improve Your Hiring Process

To go all-in on They Ask, You Answer is to commit yourself to being an educator first. When someone types a question into a search engine, you want to be the one providing helpful resources to solve their problem.

We know that you don’t take this commitment lightly.

Successful They Ask, You Answer companies structure their entire businesses around the framework. They hire content producers who are focused on education and turning their sales teams into teachers.

But They Ask, You Answer can be applied to other situations as well. A particularly valuable use is in recruiting and onboarding — what we call content recruiting.

Every business's success depends on finding and hiring the right people. Unfortunately, businesses get this wrong every day — and the effects are damaging. In a famous study done in 2018, Jobvite found that a third of employees don’t even make it through an entire quarter. That's right: 33% of new employees quit their job in the first 90 days.

If someone is leaving that quickly, it likely wasn’t a good fit from the start. Maybe the new employees didn’t fully understand the job they’d be doing.

According to Chris Marr, a They Ask, You Answer coach at IMPACT, the challenge of hiring was only made worse by the pandemic.

“During COVID," he says, "it was a real challenge for organizations to find and retain great talent."

Whenever someone leaves an organization, whether it’s after 90 days or 900 days, it leaves a gaping hole that drags down production and erodes morale.

When companies hire the right people and retain them, the companies are much stronger and more profitable.

To hire the right people, focus on education

When a candidate is applying for a job, the more information they have the better. The company that can educate, build trust, and answer any questions up front is the company that will end up with happier, well-informed, and well-qualified employees.

When it comes to educating, building trust, and clearing up questions, there’s no better framework than They Ask, You Answer.

Below, we’ll dive into details about how to apply the They Ask, You Answer framework to the recruiting and hiring process.

We’ll cover:

  • Why candidates are a lot like customers
  • How to get started with content for job seekers
  • How The Big 5 and other They Ask, You Answer concepts apply to recruitment

Ready to attract and retain better workers? Let’s go!

Free Course: How to Hire a Content Manager

3 reasons candidates are like customers

The start of any relationship — whether we’re talking about a first date or initial job application — is full of information gathering by both sides. Each side is looking for alignment (does this person or company believe what I believe?) and red flags (I’m seeing a lot of turnover/first dates without second dates — I wonder what that’s about?).

Just like a buyer making a purchase, job seekers are looking to do their research before they move forward.

At IMPACT, we tell our clients to go all-in on customer education. If your customers want to know something, you need to tell them, even if it's uncomfortable. This is why we mandate writing about price and competition openly and honestly.

When it comes to recruiting and hiring, you should treat candidates like you treat customers: Be honest; be trustworthy.

1. You need to vet each other

At the start of a sales process, each party vets the other. Buyers want to make sure a company is a good fit. Can they really deliver the service or product they offer? Is the quality as good as it appears?

At the same time, the company vets a prospect. Are they a serious buyer, or are they just looking? Can they afford us?

Candidates and businesses do the same thing. Businesses look at recommendation letters, resumes, and employment history. Candidates look at online reviews and LinkedIn profiles.

Trust and authenticity matter.

2. They move down a funnel

The “sales funnel” is a widely known representation of how customers buy from a company. It’s usually depicted like this:

Sales-Funnel

Customers move from the awareness stage to the consideration stage to the evaluation stage to the decision stage, getting closer and closer to a purchase.

At each stage, some drop out and some move forward.

Recruitment and hiring has its own version of a funnel.

Many prospects will see the job posting, some of those will apply, some of those that apply will be interviewed, and one will get the job.

Hiring-Funnel

In marketing, we’re taught that getting more and more people into the “awareness” stage of the funnel means more customers will come out the other end.

For businesses looking to hire, there’s a similar belief: The more people who are aware of your listing, the more will apply. The more who apply, the stronger the applicant pool. In the end, you get to hire a better employee.

Chris asks his clients to consider this scenario: “Imagine if you were constantly getting people interested in working for you? You were always adding to a database of potential candidates? Imagine how much better prepared you’d be when you needed to fill a role?”

If you keep the funnel full, better candidates come out the other end.

3. They’re asking the same questions

We teach our clients to start by focusing on The Big 5 — five blog topics that are guaranteed to drive traffic, leads, and sales because they speak to core concerns that every buyer has.

First among those is price. Customers everywhere, no matter what they’re buying, want to know what it will cost — and they want to understand the factors that can make that cost go up or down. The other Big 5 topics, listed below, all speak to the pressing questions that are on buyers’ minds:

  • Buyers want to hear from other buyers about their experience with a product or service. So, they seek out reviews.
  • Buyers will search for “best of” lists that allow them to compare several top solutions for their problem as they narrow the list of what they want.
  • Just like with reviews, buyers want to know about the potential problems of whatever they’re considering so they know they won’t be making a purchase they regret.
  • When making a final decision, it’s likely that a buyer will put several similar options side by side to compare relative strengths and weaknesses.

With slight tweaks, these same topics apply to the hiring process as well.

First on every applicant’s mind? Salary. They want to know what they can expect to make — as well as what could make that number go up or down (like years of experience, degrees, certifications, etc.).

In fact, it doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to transpose all of The Big 5 into recruitment resources, which we’ll dive into below.

Where to get started with content recruiting

Just like content marketing, content recruiting requires you to do two things at once:

  1. Write broad, search-optimized content to get found by potential applicants.
  2. Write specific, question-based content to use in the hiring process.

Which you do first will depend on your circumstances. If you’re growing rapidly and need to build awareness around your company and your open positions, you might focus more on number 1.

If you’re flooded with candidates and need to weed out the bad fits, number 2 is probably more important.

But both are critical.

The Big 5 for applicants

Just as with all content marketing, start with The Big 5. Think about the questions your applicants (and potential applicants) might want to know.

Below I've listed some sample blog topics that could help you recruit and select the right candidate.

Cost (think: salary and benefits)

  • How much does an insurance agent make per year?
  • How does a salesperson’s bonus structure work?
  • How quickly will an MBA pay for itself in the manufacturing industry?
  • What’s a good starting salary for a preschool teacher?

Reviews (think: an honest look from the inside)

  • An honest look at being a market researcher
  • Company culture checklist: What to look for to know a company is a good fit
  • What it’s really like to be a copywriter

‘Best of’ lists (think: how people rank their choices)

  • Best office perks that help productivity and culture
  • Top companies to work for in the Orlando area
  • 10 signs your company runs great meetings

Problems (think: job seekers don’t want to be in the 33% that quits)

  • Reasons why being an investment banker is harder than it looks
  • The biggest drawback to a career in software design
  • 3 problems with working from home as a service manager

Comparisons (think: putting different options head to head)

  • A day in the life: Comparing daily responsibilities of a sales rep and a sales manager
  • 401(k) vs. 403(b): Which employer-sponsored retirement account is better for you?
  • Should you choose a salary or commission pay structure?

These are just ideas, but you see where I’m going. Some of these articles would be great search plays. Someone Googles “How much does an insurance agent make per year?” and they end up on your site.

They’re clearly interested in starting a new career. They read your content, get to know your company, and see that you’ve got job postings. They become an applicant in just the same way that an inbound lead becomes a customer.

But when they enter the applicant pool, you have another opportunity to educate them. That's the 80% video.

80% videos in the sales process

Remember the statistic from the beginning about how many employees quit within 90 days? An 80% video sent out to the final pool of candidates is a great way to address this problem.

In the sales process, an 80% video covers the basic questions that every prospect asks. If these questions are cleared up ahead of time, you can have a more productive discussion tailored to an individual prospect’s needs.

In the hiring process, you can use the same tactic. Imagine if everyone in your applicant pool received a video that shared:

  • The structure of the team they’d be joining
  • What their day-to-day would look like
  • How their work would be evaluated
  • Compensation details (including salary range, benefits, and bonus structure)
  • Potential future advancement opportunities
  • Company health and upcoming initiatives

If all candidates had every question above out of the way, they’d know a lot more about what to expect if they got the job.

Furthermore, subsequent interviews could be more productive because the hiring manager wouldn’t have to spend as much time fielding the same questions.

Being a They Ask, You Answer company means you value education

Embracing They Ask, You Answer brings with it a culture shift for most organizations. When you put your buyers first, the way you go about marketing and selling changes.

When you apply that same principle to your hiring process, you’re saying the same thing: An educated applicant is a better applicant — and that person is more likely to become a happy employee, too.

So, who should own this initiative?

According to Chris, content recruiting should be folded into your overall content marketing strategy.

Chris works with clients who are looking to recruit and grow. They’re starting to write content specifically for this process — much like we've outlined above.

Going forward, about 80% of their new content will be aimed at attracting new customers and 20% will be aimed at attracting new employees.

All of this content will be written by their content manager.

Content recruiting at your company

If you commit to answering applicant questions with transparency and candor, you’re letting them know more about your company than any “about us” page ever could. You’re showing that honesty and education matter. As a They Ask, You Answer company, your applicants should know this as soon as possible anyway.

As a result, you’ll bring in more people who value the same things that you do.

Using content in the recruiting and hiring process allows you to build trust with your applicants just as you do with your visitors and customers.

If you’re looking to grow — or you find attracting and retaining top talent is a real challenge — divert some of your content marketing efforts accordingly.

How-to-Hire-a-Content-Manager

Free Course:

How to Hire a Content Manager
Start the Course
How-to-Hire-a-Content-Manager

Free Course:

How to Hire a Content Manager

Find the powerhouse content manager who will truly own your strategy, tell your story, and drive the traffic, leads, and sales you need

In this free course, you’ll learn:

  • What should be in your content manager job description
  • The questions you should ask in an interview and how to run a situational activity
  • How to set your new content manager up for success

Topics:

Hiring a Marketing Team
Executives and Leaders
Advanced They Ask, You Answer
Published on December 21, 2021

Recent Articles

Building the Perfect Sales and Marketing Team in 2022
May 2, 2022 • 6 min read
24 Best Job Interview Questions for Hiring Top-Performing Marketers
March 26, 2022 • 5 min read
How To Hire An Inbound Marketing Agency
February 17, 2022 • 14 min read
9 Reasons Teams Fail To Achieve They Ask, You Answer Success
January 4, 2022 • 9 min read
How To Use They Ask, You Answer to Improve Your Hiring Process
December 21, 2021 • 7 min read
Is a Content Manager Salary Really Worth the Investment?
December 20, 2021 • 6 min read
Building A Team For They Ask, You Answer Success
December 6, 2021 • 6 min read
How to Successfully Onboard Your New Videographer
November 20, 2021 • 7 min read
A Weekly Onboarding Guide for Your New Content Manager
November 19, 2021 • 8 min read
4 Signs Your Revenue Team Is Slowly Failing
October 23, 2021 • 9 min read
Need a HubSpot Admin? Here’s How to Find and Hire the Right Candidate
October 22, 2021 • 5 min read
How to Get Your Whole Team to Buy in to They Ask, You Answer
October 19, 2021 • 4 min read
Video Marketing Success: 3 Pitfalls That Can Doom Your Video Initiative
September 28, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021 • 6 min read
Your Inbound Content Writer Doesn't Need Industry Experience: Here’s What to Look for Instead
July 12, 2021 • 7 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for July 6, 2021
July 6, 2021 • 5 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 28, 2021
June 28, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021 • 5 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 7, 2021
June 7, 2021 • 6 min read
Sales and Marketing Friction is Hurting Your Bottom Line – Here’s What to Do About It
May 27, 2021 • 6 min read
The Rise of the Introverted Salesperson
May 25, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for May 24, 2021
May 24, 2021 • 6 min read
I’m Hiring a Digital Marketer; Do They Need HubSpot Experience?
May 3, 2021 • 4 min read
Do I Need To Hire a HubSpot Admin, or Can Someone on My Team Handle It?
April 30, 2021 • 4 min read