One of the biggest mistakes that I see a lot of content marketers make is…
Hiring for any position is tough. As a founder, you may already know the importance of having a talented team and as a founder one of your biggest focus should be hiring and retaining top talent. You can only do so much yourself. We’ve been aggressively looking for a good marketer to join our team at SumoDash and I can honestly say that marketing is the most difficult position we’ve been hiring for.
In the past, I’ve had my struggles with hiring good engineers, but it’s nothing like hiring a marketer.
See, when it comes to hiring engineers, most of the time it’s quite straight forward and simple. You give them a simple coding test, learn a little bit about their backgrounds, view a couple of their projects and you can pretty much gain good insight on if they are a good fit or not.
Well, with marketing, it’s a completely different game.
Marketers need to keep up with the latest trends
Past performance and results doesn’t show what they can bring to the table because marketing is a game that is always changing.
There are always new growth hacks coming out everyday, new marketing channels, new ideas to explore and the list goes on and on. What worked 6 months ago might not work today.
So when we get an applicant that tells us how they grew XYZ by 50% by doing XYZ, that does not mean that same method will work for us or our clients.
There’s no clear cut test to indicate whether someone will be effective in their marketing role.
We try to screen every applicant with basic questions like how would you grow XYZ?
Most of them will respond with generic answers, especially when it comes to content marketing. For example, we would ask an applicant, “How would you grow the content for this beauty site? (one of our clients)”
Out of 50 applicants, literally 49 of them would respond with the same answer:
“I’ll promote it through social media”
“I’ll join beauty groups and post the article there”
“I will grow their social media account”
Nothing is creative. What we look for is someone that can give us an answer that is not the typical answers. We want to know what value you can bring to the table for our clients that will make us stand out as a content marketing agency.
What can you do to not only achieve awesome results for our clients, but to ensure that they are happy and aligned with our goals.
Marketers love to take full credit for their work
Most of the marketers that we’ve interviewed love to take full credit for their past work. The truth is that any successful marketing campaign requires good teamwork.
We want to hire people who are good team players. There is no “I” in team.
A good example of this would be user acquisition growth. Marketers would tell us, “I grew XYZ by 50% month over month.” They make it seem like they were the only person on the team that contributed to that growth. If this is B2b, what about sales? Sales play a big role too. What about your interns? Consider them as well…
Degrees don’t mean anything for marketers
Seriously, I would hire someone that is a high school dropout with good past success on growing their own side projects over someone that has a MBA in marketing.
We’re not an enterprise company and will never be. We don’t care if you have a MBA or some sort of advance degree in marketing.
Marketing cannot be taught. It has to be gained through real-world hands-on experience.
So what’s working for us when it comes to hiring a marketer?
To be 100% honest, we haven’t figured out the best process to screen and hire marketers, but we realize that there are two main things that’s been working for us.
Having them work on a test project
This one has been the most successful way for us to see how well they can perform. Putting them on a contractor basis work and having them work with 2-3 clients in different industries with different goals and seeing how well they perform tells us a lot.
Like if we were to hire a writer, we wouldn’t want to see their past samples of work. Instead, we want to see their work with one of our clients in a whole different industry and see how well they write based on that.
Results can tell us a lot about the marketer.
Some of the best marketers that we’ve worked with are people that were referred to us by friends. We ask around all the time within our network to see who they’ve worked with in the past and how it was working with them.
Another thing that is important to us when it comes to hiring marketers is that we want to know if they will be a good culture fit. Are they good at juggling multiple task with multiple clients in different industries? That is super important. Some talented marketers only like to work on one product at a time. We need a full stack productive marketer.
Internal referrals for hiring have worked well for us.
Hiring marketers has been the most difficult role that I’ve ever hired for. Trust me, I’ve interviewed and hired many engineering and product folks, but nothing is more difficult than hiring a marketer. As I mentioned above, I still haven’t nailed the best practice for hiring a good marketer, but we’re working on it and we’re learning from our experiences with every new person that we interview!
Hopefully, this post helps other people out there that are looking to hire a good marketer.
As always, if you’re looking or know anyone looking for a done for you content marketing service that will help you double your organic traffic and leads, feel free to reach out to us anytime!