8 Tips for Hiring B2B Marketing Talent

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 2/16/17 9:00 AM

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Despite the powerful tools and technologies on the market, human capital is still a major factor in marketing success. Building out a solid marketing organization requires being able to both identify talent and cultivate and keep it once spotted.

Hiring for marketing is challenging, as it requires individuals who possess both creative and analytical skill sets. Today’s marketing landscape requires the ability to conduct data analysis and the bandwidth to use different types of marketing technology. To successfully identify the marketing talent that will help your team plan and realize consistently great marketing campaigns, consider these eight tips during your search.

  1. Make sure you really understand what you need.

Before you begin looking for a new person to join your team, make sure you understand the specific needs your team has. Conduct an audit of the skills your team members have now, what skills may be missing entirely, and which need strengthening.

Make a list of the tasks potential hires will need to be responsible for and the skills they’ll ideally have in order to best complement the current lineup. And think ahead to what you expect to need in the next few years. You may not find the perfect candidate that meets all the needs on your list, but your search will be more focused and your job ads and interviews more clearly defined if you have an idea of everything you’d like a new marketing hire to be capable of. 

  1. Ask colleagues and team members for referrals.

Sometimes great candidates come through a response to a job ad, but a lot of the time the best ones will come through recommendations. Ask your current employees and other people you know in the industry if they have any referrals for the type of position you’re looking for.

In addition to providing names, people can usually provide useful background information about their recommendations. You can go into an interview with a referral knowing a candidate has a solid reputation amongst colleagues, which is worth a lot.

  1. Don’t just look at resumes, look at examples of marketing projects they’ve worked on.

The defacto standard, resumes only tell part of a marketer’s story. Sure, you can see former job titles and lists of responsibilities, but that’s not really what you need to know. You need to know what their work looked like, how it performed based on the goals their department had set, and how well they collaborated with other people and departments. Samples of their work will tell you more than anything a resume shows you.

  1. Dig deep in interviews.

Ask about the performance of campaigns they worked on. Ask about the analytics they tracked and how they measured performance in comparison to goals. Ask about the methods they used to work with other departments like sales and customer service, and what techniques they had for staying on the same page with their other team members in marketing.

Beyond the scope of their knowledge, you’ll be able to glean how your candidate fared against difficult projects and timelines. And for a question that’s important to accomplishing our next tip, ask them about how they continued their learning while in the role.

  1. Look for learners.

A knack for learning new things may be more important than the specific past experience a prospect has. A candidate that’s adaptable and good at picking up new information will provide value in a dynamic setting.

Look for candidates that talk about regularly reading industry publications and blogs to stay atop industry evolution. Ask them about any training or professional development they’ve already pursued or hope to in the coming years. This both lets them know you encourage the training and development your employees are interested in, and lets you get a feel for how much they value ongoing learning in their job.

  1. Look for strategic thinkers.

 Marketing execution is important, but in order for front line tactics to be successful, they need to be tied back to strategy. Someone who’s able to understand the crucial balance between creative marketing and business objectives ensures will be a better fit for any data-driven marketing team than someone who bristles at letting analytics play as important a role in your marketing plan as campaign ideation.

You want marketers that can see the big picture and are ok with doing work that contributes to the company’s bottom line.

  1. Consider their fit with your team, along with how good of a fit they are for the role.

Someone can have all the skills needed, but if there’s a personality clash with your team, you’ll have problems. Your new hire will be unhappy, your tenured employees will be unhappy, and you won’t get the collaboration you hoped for.

When you’re interviewing a candidate, don’t just think about how well they fit into the role you’re trying to fill, think about how the personality traits they demonstrate in the interview will fit into the larger team they’ll be joining.

  1. Treat the interview partially as a pitch.

Treat the interview as much as a chance to show the candidate what you have to offer as a company as an opportunity to learn what they have to offer you. Be prepared to make a case for why your company is a great place to work and what you plan to do to for any new hire’s career in the years to come.

A good marketing professional is at least as valuable to you as you’ll be to them. Take care in the hiring process and do your best to dig deep to determine if they’re the right fit for the job, the team, and the company as a whole. Every hiring decision is an important one as it will help shape what your marketing department is capable of. Give the decision the care it deserves and you’ll see the results in your marketing programs.

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Topics: Hive9, Marketers, B2B, hiring