Stack the Deck with Great Marketing Hires
with Michael Reiss
Jennifer Gowan, the CEO of Blue Flex Biosynthetics made 5 disastrous marketing hires over the course of 6 months. During the previous 3 years, she successfully filled 26 company roles. Jennifer couldn’t understand why all her new marketing hires failed.
In our first episode, find out how Jennifer Gowan turned around a desperate hiring situation and now has a marketing team she loves to lead. You’ll learn some powerful tactics for hiring successful marketing team members. Find out how to stack the deck with great hires and why it’s the beginning of leadership.
Download these helpful resources discussed in this episode.
- Whom to Hire Worksheet – 16 questions to help you better understand whom to hire.
- The Marketing Hire Candidate Evaluator – An excel spreadsheet tool for ranking and visualizing your marketing hire candidates.
- Sample Marketing Hire Candidate Evaluator – A filled out evaluator document sample discussed in the episode.
- The Impactful Marketing Role Types Guide – Learn about important marketing roles by title.
- The Marketing Contractual Relationships Guide – Full-time, part-time, freelancer, etc. Find out why these and more contractual relationship types might work best for you.
Check back soon for a download link!
A quick recap and additional information from this episode.
In this episode you’ll learn how to…
- Know whom to hire. Find out what questions you can ask yourself at the start of every hiring process to better understand whom to hire.
- Create or optimize your hiring process so you can get great marketing candidates.
- Use our technique to build a model of your ideal hire before you start creating job posts.
- Narrow down your list of candidates with speed and efficiency every time.
- score and rank your top candidates across 20 key measures.
- Find your candidate of best fit by creating a visual representation of each candidate’s measures and compare against your model-hire.
Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicators – https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/
Read the full episode transcript.
Jennifer Gowan, the CEO of Blue Flex Biosynthetics made 5 disastrous marketing hires over the course of 6 months.
During the previous 3 years, she successfully filled 26 company roles. Jennifer couldn’t understand why all her new marketing hires failed. She came to us for guidance.
In our first episode, find out how Jennifer Gowan turned around a desperate hiring situation and now has a marketing team she loves to lead. Today, you’ll learn some powerful tactics for hiring successful marketing team members. Find out how to stack the deck with great hires and why it’s the beginning of leadership.
Welcome to The Advertology Marketing Leadership Podcast! If you’re building or leading a marketing team and you’re new in your role or just looking to freshen up your skills, then you’ve come to the right place. This podcast is going to be really helpful for business owners, startup founders, and company executives… especially those who don’t come from marketing backgrounds. If you’re currently a marketing manager or director looking to move up and want to gain some insights into leading marketing teams, then you’ll absolutely enjoy this too. My name is Michael Reiss and I’ll be your host.
Leading marketing departments can be uniquely challenging because they tend to look and operate differently than other departments. These teams consist of people with vastly different skill sets, attributes, and working styles. Likewise, marketing individuals themselves can be complex mixes too. Simply, this is because marketing as a discipline require a multitude of both creative and analytical functions that need to operate across a variety of mediums and channels. Uniting and leading this patchwork of professionals can be a real challenge.
While it’s important to have some foundational knowledge of marketing and advertising, you don’t need to be an expert on these subjects to lead a winning team. What you do need are clear and possibly separate… marketing team-friendly strategies and processes for planning, delegating, interpreting, adapting, and inspiring.
In this podcast I’m going to show you some super effective strategies for dealing with several common leadership challenges that will allow to you to get the best results, direct your team effectively, and be the leader marketing people absolutely love to follow. Let’s get started!
Episode 1 – Stack the Deck with Great Marketing Hires
If you want to take notes you certainly can, but I’d recommend to just to sit back relax and listen.
At the end of this episode, I’ll tell you how to get the show notes, transcripts, and some helpful episode related downloadables.
CEO Jennifer Gowen reached out to us after 5 disastrous attempts at hiring marketing personnel for her biotechnology startup Blue Flex Biosynthetics. Her then 3-year startup was expanding rapidly with a work force of 26 employees.
Previously, she and her team of 3 salespeople handled all of the company marketing but found that it quickly started monopolizing her valuable time. Jennifer desperately wanted to delegate the marketing so she could get back to doing what she does best, leading the company.
Jennifer’s first 3 marketing hires were contract freelancers. She figured this would be a good low commitment way to get started delating some marketing activities.
Her first hire Ben was a marketing manager generalist who looked great on paper, pitched hard, and won the role only to flake out and completely disappear costing Jennifer at least a month and a half of time.
Jennifer’s second hire Kamala was a paid search specialist. She thought it might be easier to delegate one specific type of marketing activity for now. Kamala was very engaged, responsive, and enthusiastic, but soon after she found her not to be experienced or knowledgeable enough to meet her company’s needs. Jennifer increasingly spent time giving direction and even ended up doing some the work herself to make sure it was done correctly.
Next, she attempted to hire a replacement paid search specialist. George was knowledgeable, experienced, and delivered quality work. However, Jennifer had a frustratingly difficult time getting her specialist to meet deadlines. The work was good, but painfully slow and sporadic. No amount of motivation worked, and when the contractor failed to meet a promised critical deadline, she terminated the contract on the spot.
Getting desperate after losing more time, Jennifer hired Naomi, a temporary/part time marketing generalist with the hope that she could become a full-time employee after first proving herself. Overall her 4th hire was good with crafting strategy and setting the direction. Naomi was able to get things moving in several areas, but after a few months Jennifer decided that the results still were not as good as she was delivering herself previously. She was still doing to much of the marketing work herself.
Jennifer decided to hold off making Naomi a full-time employee because things were still not getting done. She combined her approaches and hired another temporary/part-time person for evaluation, but one that specialized in paid search.
She had a lot of difficulty deciding between several candidates. Now in a rush, she selected Fredrick, the candidate with the most experience overlooking some critical concerns.
Ultimately Fredrick caused a lot of internal problems. He eventually began butting heads with Jennifer and some of her sales team creating a succession of problems that continually needed to be mediated and diffused. After, one of her best sales team members quit during one such incident, Jennifer had enough and fired the toxic paid search manager.
Exhausted, frustrated, and without answers Jennifer came to us for guidance.
We started by explaining how marketing departments, teams, and individuals can operate and behave very differently from what she had been used to seeing in other departments like accounting, sales, and research & development. As a non-marketer, Jennifer learned about marketing on the go through some reading and trial and error which is fairly common with startups.
We explained that there are many dynamics to consider when starting or expanding a marketing team. A marketing team is made up of people with a patchwork of skills, knowledge, and experiences because marketing is fundamentally multi-diciplinary. Creating and managing a single ad campaign might require writing, math, project management, graphic design, coding, or more and in varying degrees.
Marketing individuals themselves are mosaics of varying skill sets, knowledge, experiences, and attributes too. We explained that she may need critical, creative, or analytical thinkers, traits that tend to skew one way or another. Individuals who specialize don’t typically excel all 3 traits equally. She would need people to direct, manage, and do the work. We asked her to think about the different types of personalities and skill levels that are needed for directing, managing, and doing.
Because it is near impossible to find a singular person who can handle everything and be everything, Jennifer needed a team even if a small one to start. Building a team so that each component has interlocking and complementary attributes would be critical for her team’s success.
Jennifer spent the majority of her time thinking in terms of hiring one person at a time without thinking about long-term foundational team building which is ultimately what she needed to have in order to transition her role from directing and doing… to leading.
It’s important to have a strategic process when it comes to hiring especially for marketing teams. Having a well-defined set of steps ahead of time allows you to hire faster and make more confident decisions about who you bring on.
We explained to Jennifer that it is important to have a process before the need arises to expand or make changes to your team. The last thing you want to do is make a hasty decision and sacrifice candidate quality for hiring speed. It’s about lowing your hiring risk and improving the probability for hiring success.
Another benefit of having a defined strategic process for hiring is that you can delegate this process to other executives, human resources staff, or senior level marketing admins. If everyone is working off the same strategic process, then candidates will be a greater fit regardless who is doing the talent search.
It’s recommended that you document your strategic process and continue to update and fine tune it to suit your company needs as they evolve.
We sat down with Jennifer and guided her through our comprehensive recommended strategy for finding, evaluating, and hiring great talent of good fit.
Today I’m going to focus on a few key parts of that strategy. I’m going to be discussing some tactics that you can put into action right away that are going to be really helpful in your own hiring process.
– A Q&A for better understanding whom to hire.
– A technique for building an ideal model-hire template.
– Steps to quickly narrow your candidate list.
– And an analytical process for evaluating your top candidates using your model-hire template.
We began with our standard Q&A aimed a helping employers better understand whom to hire. I’ll tell you how to get a copy of our Q&A worksheet at the end of the episode.
We started with 3 questions meant to test the feasibility and potential return on investment of a new hire.
Jennifer explained that her short-term marketing goal was to raise brand awareness by driving more people to her company’s website. She believed that expanding her paid search advertising was the best way to achieve this in the near-term. However, she wanted to free herself from managing these duties and focus on big picture direction.
We then asked Jennifer if she had enough funds set aside to comfortably hire an experienced manager. She confirmed that this was already allocated in her annual budget.
Next, we asked her to envision what success looked like for this role in real numbers and to estimate what her potential return investment might be over the course of 3 months, 6, months, and up to 1 year. She really didn’t have any solid baselines set yet, so we asked her to be conservative with her estimates even if they were negative for the short term
It’s important to first understand what your actual marketing needs are from a big picture level. Are you hiring just to hire, or do you have immediate needs to be fulfilled? Secondly you need to be able to comfortably afford a new hire, otherwise you are going to be limited to candidates with lower experience levels, quality, or capacity. If you don’t have enough capital, definitely consider alternatives like technology-based solutions, reassigning existing staff, or scaling back the scope of your project and hire on a limited part-time or contractual basis.
I can’t stress this enough, in marketing it’s better to do less or just one thing, but really well, than trying to be everywhere and do everything especially on a tight budget. You are going to save yourself lots of headaches, time and capital in the long term.
Now that we confirmed that Jennifer had a defined need, a sufficient budget, and a reasonable expectation for success we continued with the exercise.
We really started to dig into more specifics regarding Jennifer’s goals and needs.
We had her list all of the types of activities she felt were needed to meet her marketing needs of raising brand awareness through paid search. She wrote down ad copy writing, keyword analysis, reporting, a/b testing, and cost management.
Next, we had her write down what skill sets, knowledge, training, and experience would be need to successfully execute these activities. Now she had some insight but as a non-marker she missed some key areas.
If you are a non-marker and have not hired for a specific role before, we highly recommend you first do some research or talk to a consultant to better understand exactly what activities and skills sets are required otherwise your hire and subsequently projects might have fatal gaps that prevent success.
As a gut-check we then asked if she felt that these activities could best be fulfilled by a person. We wanted her to question whether there were technology-based alternatives before proceeding.
After answering these questions Jennifer confirmed that she felt confident about what she needed achieve, what activities needed to be performed, and what skills, knowledge and experience were required to execute these activities. We agreed that yes, a new hire was the best solution right now.
This is where things got really interesting.
We asked Jennifer a series of questions that helped her to construct a profile or template of an ideal model-hire that could meet her immediate marketing needs.
I’m going to briefly touch upon each of these questions:
1. How much of learning curve exists for this new hire?
– Is industry experience really necessary or would transferable experience suffice?
– Are there any proprietary systems or information that the new hire would need to learn?
– How much training and hands on experience would it take for a new hire to get fully up to speed.
2. Are you looking for someone to direct the work or do the work?
– Sometimes this isn’t always one person. More experienced marketers will most likely be more strategy focused and will be better suited for directing roles. Others might be great at doing the work, but not experienced enough to define the best strategies.
– You might want to consider hiring multiple people to fulfill a specific set of needs.
Breaking up the work and hiring by direction vs doing is a great way to create cost efficiencies too.
– This is another important question to ask especially when you are looking to free up your own time by offloading strategy and direction to someone else.
3. What types of personalities would best fit your role or roles in order to meet your immediate marketing needs?
– Your hire will need to work with other people on some level. The quantity and types of engagements might determine what kinds of personalities you think would work well together.
– Likewise, there are certain types of personalities you might not want to mix together in the same working group so as to avoid potential clashes, problems, disruptions, or worse.
– Think about leader vs follower personalities, introverts vs extroverts, casual and easy going people vs formal and precise people, people who are driven, action oriented and risk takers vs those that favor slow and steady progress, thoughtful accuracy, and data driven decision making.
– We love to recommend using the Myers-Briggs Personality Types indicators to help you better understand and define what personality types would best fit each role you are looking to hire for. I’ll provide a link in the show notes. Understand that not every hire needs to or should have the same personality traits. Stacking the deck means enlisting a diversity of different personalities. (This is different from what we think of as corporate culture.)
– The idea is that personalities should complement and balance each other.
4. Do you need generalists or specialists, or a mix of both?
– Generalist are more jack-of-all-trades with lots of varying experiences and knowledge. They can help you get lots of things going in a lot of different places, but probably aren’t going to truly excel at doing anyone thing in particular. However, generalists are going to be your best candidates to manage or direct a team because they know enough about a lot of things to understand how they work together and can talk the talk of specialists.
– Specialists are your laser-focused experts. They are going to have tons of knowledge and experience, but it’s most likely going to be limited to one specific discipline, medium, channel, or function. Specialists are going to be the ones to put you over the finish line and really distance you from the competition from an execution standpoint. Even though specialists may be pro-active or self managed, they probably won’t make the best directors unless it is of a group of similar specialists.
5. What marketing role or roles by title would you need to hire to satisfy all the skills, knowledge, and experience requirements that you listed earlier? (This is the big question!)
– You may need to modify role titles by marketing channel or discipline. For example Jennifer considered an ad copy writer and we suggested she narrow that to a paid search ad copy writer due to several factors that make the nature of the work unique.
– Remember you may need multiple hires. The chances of finding just one person to satisfy every requirement decreases as your project complexity increases.
– In Jennifer’s case some examples would include a paid search specialist to build and manage campaigns as well as some sort of director role to plan, strategize, and report – whether focused on paid search only or not.
– This list of titles is pretty huge, and chances are nobody out there has heard of or knows what all of them mean. So we’ve put together a handy guide of the most impactful marketing roles by title that you might want to consider for future hiring. I’ll tell you how to get this helpful guide at the end episode.
6. How much experience and at what level would your ideal hire or hires need to have to fulfill your requirements?
– We all want the best, top, A number 1 talent that’s out there, however it’s gonna cost you. What I can tell you is that you don’t need the best of the best at the highest price for success.
– You need to strike a balance between a comfortable cost and satisfactory experience level. It might be more affordable to hire a quality but less experienced candidate and pay for them to get advanced training later on.
– In most cases, it’s easier and more affordable to hire someone with more transferable knowledge and experience than someone who comes from your industry.
– Try to define the cost of onboarding and training time too. This can be a big influence your decision making and return on investment.
– Sometimes a candidate with higher levels of experience in one area may come at the expense of other important qualities. Be careful not to overestimate how much more of one thing you need over another.
– Finally, just because someone has 5 or 10 years of experience doesn’t make them an expert. Consider having candidates demonstrate their level of expertise first through small paid tasks or projects.
7 How important is it that your hire or hires align with your company’s corporate culture?
– Consider how important it will be that your hire matches your company’s values, beliefs, attitudes, and philosophies – these are the core features that make up your company’s corporate culture.
– Corporate culture fit is not about whether a candidate agrees with you or thinks the way you think. As a leader you should welcome and gain strength from people with ideas that challenge and alternative viewpoints.
– In fact, it can be very advantageous to bring people on with varying experiences, diversities, backgrounds, and upbringings. This will give you a bigger pool of perspectives to draw upon. Again this doesn’t mean they won’t share and fit your corporate culture.
– Understand what type of competitiveness you want to look for or avoid. Think about personally competitive or team competitive behaviors a candidate should or shouldn’t have.
– Do you feel that team engagement like participating in non-work events, happy hours, or outings will help your team achieve success or whether it might not be as necessary for this particular role.
– Ask yourself what types of energy levels and work ethics would be a good fit for your company?
By now you should have a pretty good idea of the type of candidate or candidates that would best meet your requirements to fulfill your immediate marketing needs. Consider adding some of your own questions in building your model-hire template, but be careful not to overly complicate this exercise. Its goal is to be functionable and brief.
Now that you have a model-hire template, you need to figure out where this role would fit into your organization now and in the future.
Try to future-proof your team structure by envisioning what the hierarchy might look like in the long-term (think 2-3 years).
If you make this hire now, will this person have future potential to advance, or will they become obsolete, redundant, or out of place at some point?
Do you already know if this is a temporary role?
How do you envision scaling your company, department, or marketing team?
Who would this role or roles report to now and in the future?
Understanding whether you are hiring to build or scale your team, fill existing gaps, or to replace someone will have an impact on what type of contractual relationship you may want to pursue.
An important factor in making your hiring decision is what type of contractual relationship might serve you best. In Jennifer’s case we discussed several options but ultimately settled on a mix of full-time and contractor/freelancers.
Other contractual relationship types would include part-time, temporary worker, inter, small, medium and large agencies.
Different contractual relationships come with varying costs and benefits. You might find that some combination of types will serve you best.
We’ve prepared a Guide on Contractual Relationship Types for Marketing that might help you decide which is right for you. Consider the different options against your model-hire template and weigh the pros and cons of each.
At the end, I’ll tell you where you can download this guide.
We’re going to take a quick information break, but stick around because we’re going to continue our discussion by showing you how to quickly narrow down a large list of candidates and then use our analytical process to score, index, and evaluate your top candidates against your model-hire template.
This is the advanced stuff you’re not going to want to miss. Don’t forget to listen about how to download some super-helpful giveaways discussed in this episode.
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Welcome back… you are listening to the Advertology Marketing Leadership podcast.
We discussed how CEO Jennifer Gowen made several marketing hires that that ended poorly to worse. She came to us for guidance and had questions about why she was unable to effectively lead her marketing hires and they ultimately failed.
First, we gave Jennifer a set of questions to always ask herself first before starting any hiring process.
It’s critically important to have a clear definition of your short-term marketing goals, immediate marketing needs, and a list of what skills, knowledge, and experiences would be required. From there you can better identify what marketing roles and contractual relationship types would best fulfill those requirements.
Next using further Q&A, we had Jennifer create a profile or template of her ideal model-hire for her immediate marketing needs.
Now fully confident about exactly the type of person she wanted to hire, Jennifer restarted her search for talent. She created several posts on popular job websites as well as enlisted a recruiter who specialized in filling marketing and advertising positions.
This time, because her job post was significantly more descriptive, detailed, and enticing, she received 168 applications in about 2 weeks. Jennifer had a new challenge to face.
At this stage it is important to move quickly and not waste time. The worst thing you can do is delay and possibly risk loosing quality hires to someone else. The good ones certainly won’t wait around.
From a quick glance, Jennifer could tell that there were indeed some quality applications in the mix, but she got pretty overwhelmed with the idea of reading through all 168 applications just to pick one. If she spent only 5 min reading each application that would cost her upwards of 14 hours!
We showed her a process to help quickly narrow down this list of 168 applications to a solid 3-6 top candidates suitable for interviews.
It goes like this:
First, we wanted to make it easier for Jennifer to compare one candidate to another as well as match them against her model-hire template.
We introduced Jennifer to our Marketing Candidate Hiring Evaluator exercise.
– The evaluator is a series of tables and charts aimed at helping people make better and more confident marketing hiring decisions through an analytical process.
– Converting candidate attributes into numbers will give you significantly more analytical options and will help you create overall better outcomes. We favor this approach vs traditional methods of note taking or listing pros and cons.
– I’ll discuss this a bit more in-depth shortly.
Jennifer was asked to fill out a table row representing her model-hire by assigning points for each of the 20 measures that ran across column headers left to right.
Because she had earlier conceptualized her model-hire, filling this out was breeze.
If you are interested to learn about our 20 recommended measures or want to take a look at Jennifer’s completed evaluator, I’ll tell you how to download it at the end of the episode. It’s more important to just listen to the process for now.
Jennifer assigned points 1 to 5 in order of how important a measure was to her model-hire. A zero indicated that a particular measure would make no impact on her decision-making or simply didn’t apply in this case.
As Jennifer entered the points for each measure, a total score began to add up in the far column. We’ll talk more about this later.
Next, we plotted Jennifer’s assign points on a special type of chart called a radar. I love radar charts because they are fantastic at visually representing and communicating multivariate data.
– Our radar chart consists a set of 5 concentric circles on a 2D plot. The center represents zero and values increase outwards along equally spaced radiuses for each of the 20 measures.
– Each point value for Jennifer’s model-hire was represented by a point on the radar chart.
– Moving around the circle, points were are connected to each so that a closed color-filled shape was formed. It looks something like a blob or paint splat.
Jennifer now had a visual representation of her model-hire template!
After Jennifer completed building her model-hire in the evaluator we asked her to take special note of the measures with the highest score.
We explained that she would now take 3 passes through her set of 168 applications each with a different goal.
The first pass is about speed and elimination.
– The idea is to scan though each application looking for keywords or phrases that speak to your top number 1 measure by score. If it’s not there they won’t be able to satisfy your most important criteria. Move the application to a discard pile and continue with the next.
– Another easy way to eliminate is on cost, rate or salary if that is part of the application process. – It’s more common with agencies, freelancer/contractors, temp and part-time workers. If the cost is too high or even too low this helps with a quick and easy elimination.
– Likewise if you come across any standout red flags like lack or organization or thin content move it to the discard pile.
– When you find an application or resume that satisfies the above criteria and contains a matching keywords or phrases move it to a new pile.
– Aim to spend about 30-45 seconds scanning (not reading) each application or resume in this stage.
– Be prepared to eliminate about 75% of your applications.
After finishing the first pass, Jennifer had 121 discarded applications and 47 set aside for further review. Time… just under 2 hours. Not bad for a first go at it.
– Jennifer was able to quickly eliminate a large portion of applications that had no relevancy whatsoever. Several others were very poorly written or organized making for additional easy eliminations. And some applicants who tried to overkill it by boasting lots skills or objectives appeared to just be fishing for any kind of bites – these were easy eliminations too.
The remaining 47 applications would now be subjected to a little more scrutiny in the second pass. The idea is to spend about 1-2 minutes on each application and reducing the list down to about 10-15. In this pass you should quickly jump around and read the most important sections looking for reasons to eliminate or keep an application. Consider matching keywords or phases to the next top 2-3 evaluation measures by importance points.
– On the next day, Jennifer spent a little more time on each application now that the remaining pool was of significantly closer relevancy. At the end of pass 2 she had 11 solid applications that warranted further consideration. Time…Just over an hour.
– She confidently eliminated some great sounding candidates. Because she had a model-hire template that she could reference, Jennifer made quick and easy decisions on whether to keep or discard an application.
Pass 3 is the most intensive. By now you’ve had a chance to get the lay of the land from your first 2 passes, so you probably have a general range in mind that application fall in terms of candidate quality and relevancy.
You’ve only got 10-15 applications left so it’s important to now give each of them a full review and decide what 3 to 6 of them you want to interview.
We explained to Jennifer that it was important to narrow the list down to no more than 6 candidates. That way she could focus her time and efforts on really getting to know her candidate’s applications.
If she didn’t have at least 3 that she wanted to interview, we would have recommended she launch another round of talent search vs going back to her discard pile. This may sound like a pain, but it’s much less painful than settling for or hiring the wrong person.
In pass 3 it’s important to fully read each application from top to bottom. Try to get a real feel for how each candidate presents themselves, how they match your model-hire template, and whether you might be interested in interviewing this person.
Look through your remaining applications for additional highly scored evaluation measures.
Be sure to review any included supporting assets like portfolios, testimonials, reviews, certifications, or references.
Try to get a feel for what the candidate’s objectives are in applying for your position. What are they looking to achieve personally? Do you think they would be happy, enthusiastic, and committed if you were to hire them?
Jennifer was able to narrow her list down to 6 candidates that she was genuinely excited about interviewing. She spent about 15-20 minutes thoroughly reading each of the remaining 11 applications. Time…about 3 hours.
Total time in all…. about 6 hours. Not bad considering her initial estimate was 14!
Now that Jennifer had a list of 6 great candidates, we had her go back to the Marketing Candidate Hiring Evaluator and fill out new rows for each candidate.
We explained that it was ok to leave some of the boxes blank if it was unknown.
Later, we asked Jennifer to write down a list of these blanks for each candidate and turn them into interview questions.
Now I could probably do a whole series just on interviewing techniques, but for now I want to list a few recommendations that can really ease the process and make sure it is worthwhile.
Firstly – don’t skip doing interviews. I can’t tell you how many times an interview has been instrumental in making… or more importantly not making a hiring decision.
Skip the canned questions that you know they will be prepared for like, if you were an animal, what’s your biggest weakness, talk about your strengths, etc. You are not going to get anything substantive from these questions.
Stick to questions that allow candidates to tell a story such as: examples of an achievement, one of their proud career moments, or a time when they themselves dealt with a difficult person or tough situation. You are going to be much better able to fill in blanks for your candidate evaluator as well as get to know what the candidate’s values, philosophies, working habits, attitudes, and behaviors might be.
Try to engage them in a back and forth conversation. Ask for their opinion. Challenge them (lightly) on something to see how they respond.
Finally, ask them what they want to achieve with their career and in what way might this role might help them do it. This can covertly help you perceive whether they are eager to learn, have ambitions, are self-starters, etc. It’s ok if they don’t know. It’s a great revealing question that I’ve been given some amazing answers to over the years.
If you are interested in hearing more about our tactics that help to uncover the real person behind the resume or anything else, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss this or any other topic we’re passionate to talk about.
Upon completing her interviews, Jennifer was able to fill in the rest of the blanks in her candidate evaluator spreadsheet.
Each candidate now had a total score, a model-hire matching percentage, and radar chart.
We showed Jennifer how to overlay each candidate’s radar chart on top of her model-hire chart for an amazingly effective and quick visual comparison.
Now she could see how each candidate stacked up across all metrics visually, by simply comparing the shapes of each candidate to her model-hire’s. There were regions where the shapes over or underlapped each other, giving her a clear picture of how closely a candidate matched her model-hire template.
At this point she could see that no candidate matched her ideal model perfectly (which of course is an impossibility in real life.) We wanted to make it easier for Jennifer to focus on those measures that were most important and set aside the rest.
So we adjusted the data by weighting scores based on how important each measure was in her model-hire. This altered her candidates matching percentages and radar charts, so they allowed Jennifer to clearly see and compare what was most meaningful to her in her decision-making process.
Looking at her radar chart comparisons now she could clearly see what candidates she might prefer over others due to how much of the model-hire shape was covered by the candidate’s shape.
The clear winner was a paid search specialist named Jacob. He not only had the highest matching percentage, but his radar chart covered a significant majority of the model-hire chart signifying that he was the candidate of best fit.
One thing I’d like to mention before telling you how things turned out with CEO Jennifer Gowen and her hiring, is that I’d like you to consider internal hires as part of your process (if possible).
I’ve seen it all to often when a promising internal candidate was overlooked because brining in fresh blood tends to be shiny, new and exciting.
It can be very appealing to bring in more outsiders, everyone’s looking for that big game changer. But it’s easy to forget that even with all the hiring strategy and process there are still plenty of unknowns that will determine the success of any new outside hire.
I always like to recommend considering internal hires first. You’ve probably got some people who just need some additional management or skills training for them to step up and take on higher-level responsibilities.
If you take care of and reward your existing staff with the ability to grow and advance, you will foster a genuine kind of loyalty and motivation that you’ll never be able to hire directly. You will gain respect internally and your staff will be enthusiastic about following your leadership.
Conversely, if your people feel passed over for opportunities and advancements you are going to create negative tension and demotivate workers that is going to make it hard for you to lead effectively. Ultimately, you’ll lose the quality talent that you do have. And with that your corporate culture will evaporate.
Ok, now let’s wrap it up….
Ultimately, Jennifer hired Jacob as a temp position and gave him a few paid projects as a test, but he performed so well that shortly after she wanted to retain his services full time.
Because Jacob was a specialist focused on managing paid search, Jennifer went back and hired Naomi the single standout from her earlier hiring activities because she realized that Naomi was best suited for a directorial role due to being more of an experienced generalist.
This worked out great because she could now comfortably delegate the strategic marketing planning and direction to her now full-time marketing director Naomi who oversaw the paid search management of Jacob.
Using our process, she ended up hiring several freelancer/contractors that the marketing manager Naomi … now a director oversaw as part of her company’s successful growing marketing department.
1 year later, Jennifer’s marketing team continues to expand and grow. She is really enjoying working with her marketing team from a high level, but more importantly she has reclaimed her time and headspace to be doing what she does best – being an effective leader for the whole company.
As a final recap… today we discussed a few strategies that make hiring for marketing teams easier, quicker, and more effective so you will have a better shot at leadership.
First, always ask yourself a series of questions to determine what your short and near-term company goals, marketing needs, and role requirements are. Try to estimate your chances of success and decide whether this really is a good time to hire someone.
Next, build a model template of your ideal hire so you can define what you are looking for as well as do comparisons later on. This is going to help you focus on getting exactly what you need.
Before you start creating job posts, familiarize yourself with some common impactful marketing roles so you can best describe whom you want to hire by job title. It’s also good to learn about what contractual relationships exist with regards to marketing, how each might benefit you in different ways at different times, and what the implications of each type are.
I then showed you a quick way to narrow down large amounts of applications using 3 passes each with a different strategy and goal.
Whether you use our process or not for narrowing down your list of candidates it’s important to do it efficiently and quickly leaving you with about 3-6 candidates worth interviewing. I highly recommend doing another round of talent search if you don’t have at least 3 you are interested in interviewing.
I showed you how to use a numerical system using points to help rank and compare your top candidates.
Finally, I gave you a method to create visual representations of your model-hire and to compare with those of your candidates.
While Jennifer had proven herself to be an adept leader within her company, she never really got the chance to lead effectively when it came to marketing until she changed the way she thought about hiring specifically for that department.
It’s easy to overlook hiring as a means to be effective in your leadership, but it certainly is. You may be a great leader, but if you don’t have the right people, and people that want to be led… your going to be starting at a disadvantage.
Now not everyone out there listening is going to have the luxury to be able to choose who they hire or reports to them. You may be a director or even a CEO just coming on board with a new company that already has an existing marketing team. In these situations you still have options:
Consider using the Marketing Candidate Hiring Evaluator exercise for your existing team to better understand each employee.
Look to organize your marketing team into sub-groups so their skills and personalities best complement each other.
Think about who you can promote as well as anyone who might be bringing the team down and needs to be reassigned or removed.
Envision what your ideal team would look like in the long term (think 2-3 years).
Get a jump start on better understanding whom to hire next.
Until you are in position to influence or conduct hiring activities continue to focus on developing team leadership strategies (the topic our next episode).
Now it’s your turn! Whether you are looking to start your hiring process now sometime in the future. Take 10 minutes of your day just to sketch out what your ideal marketing department would look like.
Think about grouping directors and doers into sub-units.
Decide where to position specialists and generalists.
And think about what attributes might make up your own model-hires.
– Think about whether I could have users share to social media whether a DM or hashtag? Maybe there is a good way to do this?
Be sure to check out the show notes for this episode. I’ve included instructions on how to download all the content mentioned today including:
Our Whom To Hire Worksheet, a 16 Question exercise to start every hiring process.
Our Top Impactful Marketing Roles Guide
The Marketing Contractual Relationships Guide
And most importantly, the Marketing Candidate Hiring Evaluator spreadsheet including Jennifer’s own evaluation.
Simply go to Advertology.com/podcast to get this content.
In the next episode I’m going to be discussing some extremely helpful tactics for maximizing your marketing team leadership success.
Whether you are responsible for hiring your own team members or not, this is going to be really helpful for you. I’ll show you how to delegate effectively, focus on the big picture, make data driven decisions, and more all from a marketing leadership perspective.
Thank you so much for listening! We hope you enjoyed this episode. If you’d like to hear more, go right now and subscribe to The Advertology Marketing Leadership Podcast on Apple itunes, stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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