In the last week, three of my friends who are marketing executives have reached out to see if I know of any great talent for Demand Gen, PR and Comms and Content Marketing roles. I am not a recruiter – but that’s not an unusual volume of inquiries because we marketers all talk and truly great talent is hard to find.
It’s true that in almost any role, it’s hard to find that perfect combination of skills, trustworthiness, work ethic and personality or culture fit – which is why recruiting teams put so much store (and money) towards employee referrals and why good people trust other good people.
Shift to Full Stack Marketing
In marketing, it has gotten even harder in the last 5-10 years because of a fundamental shift happening that requires more from modern marketers than ever before. You used to be able to hire people with one really strong skill like copywriting, creative design or analytics. And while there is a place for specialized skills in many large marketing teams, the leaders that rise to lead teams, divisions and companies are increasingly required to bring a lot more to the table, becoming veritable utility players who can cross domains with facility.
I’m not suggesting that every great marketer have every skill, but I do know that my last three great hires were evaluated on a combination of creativity, analytical, communications and leadership skills – and not a single one was weak in any area – they just had varying levels of strength in each.
Most important for many of these great marketers that I now refer along to others is the blend of analytical and creative skills. The ability to bring these two into balance is not taught – it’s innate – and the curiosity of today’s emerging marketing leaders makes them more likely to have this balance than most of their hiring managers who may have matured in a different age of marketing. It doesn’t help that there are a dearth of formal programs diving into the analytics of marketing – yet.
It’s Hard to Pattern Match Something New
That also means that most CMOs, VPs and even some Directors of Marketing have not had the luxury of hiring many of these full stack talents, leaving them with a bit of a blind spot when it comes to what they look like and how to validate their skills.
Today’s leaders can expand their horizons by networking with marketers who have built their skills in the last five years – meaning they’ve been exposed only to the most modern of methods and are being steeped in full stack thinking by much of what they see, hear and read about marketing. It’s also worth looking at every role from multiple angles to decide on the mix of skills needed – knowing that teams shift and change, and you’ll need your talent to adapt.
Once it comes to evaluating candidates, I’d argue that no recruiting cycle is complete without an interview project or assignment. Because, let’s face it, marketers should be great at marketing – and that extends to themselves – many people can ace an interview even if they don’t have the underlying skills to get the job done.
I think that the next ten years of marketers graduating from mid-levels to senior leaders will show us all an entirely new way to build talent, organize teams and excel at marketing – and I can’t wait to be caught up in the mix!
What’s been your hardest role to hire?