Capability building — how to hire great digital marketing talent in 2019


How to find, assess, and acquire digital marketing talent

Digital marketers are a dime a dozen, so how should we go about hiring good marketers?

Drawn on a notepad, by me.

3 point approach to hiring great digital marketers:
-reach out to the best
-know what to ask when assessing the candidates’ capabilities
-know what good marketers want

First, partake in reaching out to candidates:

Good marketers are in high demand and usually not looking for work— therefore, hiring managers need to spend at least 1–2 hours / week on LinkedIn recruiting potential candidates by sending InMail and widening connections, of course with a personalized touch (no general messages plz).

As a marketer, it’s refreshing when I receive a personalized message from a hiring manager about an actually interesting position, suggesting they have spent time going over my profile:)

Why not to delegate completely to HR / recruiters?

So the market is a seller’s market — skilled talent can find a better position in a matter of weeks. Common reason for marketers who can’t find a good position is that their focus is too siloed so their skills do not have market value, and somehow HR is usually skilled at gathering all these people up into a list.

The creme de la creme is out there in the wild, just need to go out there and do a little hunting yourself.

Now, what to look for in a candidate?

I take the success case deep-dive method; I look for / ask about a project they have ideated, launched, and what they learned from the experience.
Or ask about a test they ran, which led to an interesting finding, leading to a positive result.
Or ask how they’ve worked with other team members to influence their work.

This gives you a glimpse into how the candidate thinks, acts, and reflects on their work, and the impact of the project is secondary(but should be noted as how they reflect on their work).

And always ask how they spend their time.

What you’re looking for are marketers who spend at least a few hours / week to educate themselves on the latest information.

Don’t ask about details.

Digital marketing tools, consoles, account settings change over time but the fundamentals haven’t changed for 10 years — so a candidate’s extent to use a certain tool is less important compared to the learning / fundamental skills as a marketer / team player.

So, how do we acquire these talented marketers?

Simple, know what good marketers want — and they want to up their game.

Providing the environment to learn and for the team member to become a better marketer is by far more important compared to any other perk.
(with the exception of extremely high comp, stock options and /or when there are physical limitations around commuting and logistics…the exceptions)

Candidates say: they want more pay / want to work from home / want more paid leaves / want to dress freely / etc — these requests arise due to the seller’s market nature— but the underlying motivation I find of successful marketers is that they want to learn more / add more value.

Last note

As a 10+ year marketer myself, I had never thought career tenure was important, but I am finding more and more that experience is important, as the fundamentals simply do not change much and similar problems come up often — therefore, knowing what & how to fix can save years of time and millions in spend.

See here for a famous Picasso anecdote that I like to share when discussing skills and experience.

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Jo Matsumoto - Inazuma Digital founder, consultant

Driving real-world impact via digital marketing and digital business building.