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7 Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Marketing Leaders — And How To Avoid Them

7 Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Marketing Leaders — And How to Avoid Them

Recently MOCCA NYC gathered for a spirited discussion on “What you need to know to hire a great marketing leader in 2017… or if you want to be that hire.”

Here’s the deal. Marketers– especially technical, quantitative, analytical marketers – are in great demand. The need for these unicorns often exceeds the supply.

If you’re like many executives, you shake your head wondering why your recruiting process takes so long, and why you can’t find enough top-caliber unicorns. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make some tweaks to your recruiting practices, by treating the recruiting process like the sales and marketing initiative it really is.

Here are some common mistakes and tips for you to try instead, based on several years of experience recruiting senior marketing leaders.

1. Describe the person that you’re looking for: “This person has an MBA and started their career in B2C marketing and is in their mid-30s.”

Try this instead:

Realize that the picture in your head of a particular candidate can be limiting. Instead, clarify what ‘good’ looks like and ensure the entire hiring team shares that clarity.

Also, describe the outcomes you are looking for: “We’re looking for revenue growth of 20%, and a new martech stack to support a scaling organization.

2. Post and pray.

Instead, try to scout and sell.

3. Write a long boring job spec and look for someone that matches “11 out of 10 requirements.”

Alternatively, try crafting a job description like it’s a marketing document. Show what the new leader will learn and become in the role. Show what’s cool about the role.

4. Say what the culture is like in a bland way. “We value risk-taking.”

Rather, show what the culture is like in an exciting way, so candidates can picture themselves immersed in it. “You’ll be goaled on doing two risky things each quarter.”

5. Dive right in and start interviewing people.

Try conducting some market research with your target market first. You wouldn’t go to market with a product without testing it first; why would you start selling a job without some initial market feedback?

6. Trust interviews as the only way of evaluating fit.

Realize that interviews are not predictive. Instead, build in a realistic job preview. Ask your candidates to show the work that they are proud of, and give them an opportunity to test drive the job.

Here’s how one company does this: “Here’s a computer. You can see all the marketing technology tools we use to manage our funnel. Check it out; how could we optimize?” Interviews are plain not predictive.

7. Absent yourself from the recruiting process.

Recognize that if recruiting is important to the growth of your business, your calendar should reflect that. The executives with the most success in hiring tend to take a lot of networking meetings. They also welcome the opportunity to lob a call and close the deal with a candidate.

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