20 July 2021

Recruiting Marketing Talent is Harder Than Ever - Here’s How to Get the Best

Robert Stead
Written by Robert Stead

Robert is a highly skilled Business to Business marketing director with over 13 years interim and part time experience. A believer in the “if you cannot measure the improvement it doesn’t exist” approach to marketing; completely focused, pragmatic and practical. Energetic, friendly and culturally adept, Robert has substantial European and international experience and is able to engage with the whole business, not just the marketing function. With a good strategic and operational marketing balance, Robert is always happy to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in. Marketing Centre Marketing Director of the year 2014.

Anyone who’s managed a team knows that recruitment can be a pain. Especially when the supply of talent starts to dry up.I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m currently hiring for four marketing positions across the companies that I work with and we’re struggling to find the right candidates. The end of lockdown restrictions and the accompanying surge in demand means there are fewer people actively looking, plus past uncertainty is dissuading people from switching roles without a good solid reason. (Note to recruiters: this doesn’t mean I want you to contact me!)

Thankfully, there are plenty of things business owners can do to increase their chances of landing in-demand talent. But before we get into that, let’s look at why it’s important to hire proven marketing talent - and not just go for the cheapest you can find.

Why is it important to hire proven marketing talent?

Marketing isn’t like other fields like accounting, law or programming. There are no mandatory certifications and relatively few ‘hard skills’ that you can quickly and easily assess from a list of qualifications on a CV.

There is also a massive difference between someone who knows what to do, and someone who knows how to do it really well and has done so plenty of times in the past. The basic principles of B2B marketing are fairly straightforward. Sadly, the execution is not.

Hiring a top-flight marketer has a huge impact on your business but marketers with a proven track record will know their worth. Hiring an inexperienced marketer in a key role in the name of saving money brings significant opportunity costs. In marketing, as in life; you will get exactly what you pay for.

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How can you attract top talent?

Show that you value marketing

This is really important. No marketer worth their salt wants to work inside a business that doesn’t understand or appreciate marketing.

One way to do this is to be specific about what the role will entail. If you put out a job spec that says ‘do the marketing’, that sends the wrong signal straight away. Listing out the specific tasks, responsibilities and KPIs for the role will give candidates confidence that you understand why marketing is important and what it involves.

Build your employer brand

Marketers and business owners think a lot about their customer-facing brand. But your employer brand is also important. If you’re unsure what an employer brand is, we covered it in some depth here.

People want to work for a company that’s growing, that treats its staff well and that has a culture they can fit into. Your employer brand should reflect these things.

Potential candidates will look at your website, social feeds, LinkedIn reviews, Google reviews, Glassdoor and Trustpilot. So make sure that all of your online presences show you at your best.


Use up-to-date tools

Modern marketers rely on a wide range of tools to get the job done. Potential hires will want to work with a quality set of marketing platforms.

Outdated, ‘freemium’ or low-quality tools are frustrating and don’t give marketers the opportunity to learn the latest techniques. They also suggest that the business doesn’t take marketing too seriously.

Hire for the right skills

Some tasks are more likely to be done ‘in-house’ than others.

For instance, specialist skills like managing paid media, creating content, building your website and graphic design can often be done by freelancers or agencies. As a result, trying to hire an in-house marketer with these skills may be harder.

Tasks like defining the brand, setting tone of voice, rolling out campaigns, managing your pipeline, getting feedback from customers and measuring return on investment are best completed by in-house staff.

As a sidenote, if you’re looking for advice on working with agencies, we’ve written some great posts on finding the right agency, briefing them and getting maximum value from them in the past.

Be realistic

All too often I see job specs looking for a junior marketer on a graduate salary who can create imagery, record and edit video, write copy, manage a website and handle marketing campaigns. That’s a wide range of skills, some of which take years to hone.

You should also be wary of CVs that list every possible combination of skills and tools a marketer might need. No one is good at everything. Look for the skills that you most need in your business and ask for examples of when they’ve done them well.

Asking candidates to complete a quick task can help here. For instance, a lot of marketing involves writing, so I often ask for a short piece of written work on a relevant topic. This is a great way of screening talent before the interview stage.

What areas of your marketing do you need to focus on?

Our Marketing 360 Assessment takes just 10 minutes to complete and will give you an objective view of what’s going well and what areas you should focus on. It may also help you define the roles and responsibilities you want any new marketing hires to take on.

To find out how your marketing compares, check out our Marketing 360 Assessment.

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