Time to Hire Digital Marketers Again

It’s getting difficult to hire again.

There is still a lot of mediocre talent (and some good talent) on the market, but demand for the top digital marketers is growing significantly. It’s not quite what it  was four years ago, but I’m starting to see headhunters and recuriters in droves at conferences and industry events. Have a lecture series or a user group? Now is a great time to hit up your local sourcing company to be a sponsor.

This post may seem a bit callous since it comes only a couple of days after Yahoo lays off 2,000 people, but demand for digital marketers is on the upswing. If you were planning to wait six more months or a year to hire a developer, a creative or a strategist, be careful, the market is only going to be tighter and costs for good talent will start to rise in the coming months.

Assuming you are hiring, below are some tips I’ve picked up for interviewing candidates.  I always look for candidates, regardless of discipline who are great at problem solving, can interpret even the vaguest directions, know how to read a client  and are good at developing creative alternatives. I find these attributes to be more valuable than hard skills. You have to have these skills to be a world-class designer, developer, or strategist. Without them, you’re just someone who can write some code, or push some pixels around a screen.

Interviewer Tips:

  • Pick 4-5 topics you want to focus on and build questions around those topics.
  • Avoid Yes /No questions – you want the candidate to demonstrate their thinking.
  • Don’t answer the question for the candidate — you’d be amazed how often this is done.
  • Ask them to solve a problem or brainstorm on a topic with you.
  • A little uncomfortable silence is okay. If a candidate gets stuck, let them ask you to reframe the question or let them find their way. It’s a great way to gauge social skills and the candidate’s ability to give conversation direction
  • Make sure the candidate has a good experience. Even if the person is not a good fit for your role at this time, you want them to have a good experience and a good impression of your company. Chances are that candidate could end up being a client, have a lot of influence in the community or know someone who would be a good fit.

Some examples of less desirable questions I’ve heard  and their better alternatives:

Question Example of a Better Alternative
Are you good at counseling clients? Tell me about your approach to helping steer a client in a   particular direction.
How do you Resolve Conflict? Provide an example where you had a conflict with a   coworker and how that conflict was resolved?
Are you good under pressure? What would you do if you had three competing priorities   all under the same deadline, and there was no way you could get it all done   yourself?
Do you know PPT? What tools do you use to convey complex ideas to clients?
Tell me about NNN project (on your resume). Tell me about the biggest challenge you had to overcome on NNN project.  What made that project successful?
Are you a thinker or a doer? When a client comes to you with an idea, walk me through   your process you use to turn that request into a program.
Tell me something about yourself. What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done.
Are you flexible in your work style? Tell me about a project that was going horribly wrong and how you fixed it (or didn’t).
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