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Why marketing has become the hardest position to hire for

Posted by Penquin on May 11, 2017 at 8:00 PM
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Finding the right candidate for your marketing department can be a long and tricky process. Here’s a few tips to help you weed out the talent from the crowd.

A talented marketing team can help to transform your bottom line – but finding and hiring the right mix of marketers is a tough challenge.

As pointed out in an article by Benji Hyam on Grow and Convert, the field is flooded with enthusiastic job seekers but it can be a nightmare sifting out the ones who bring expertise, energy and flair to the table. The trouble is that someone who seems picture perfect on paper may not pan out so well in real life.

So, why is finding good marketing talent so tricky? Here are some of the traps:

  • Befuddling buzzwords and confusing CVs
    Marketers are famously good at spinning a story, which means that all the achievements listed on someone’s CV might be misleading, or they may just be throwing out catchphrases in order to sound more qualified. Dig deep during an interview: if a candidate claims to have increased social media presence, for example, ask them to provide detailed information on how they made it happen.
  • Education doesn’t equal excellence
    It’s tempting to assume that someone with a degree also has a pedigree. However, don’t underestimate the power of hands-on experience. A university education focuses on theory, but can’t make up for time spent on the job.
  • The ever-shifting marketing landscape
    One of the reasons that it’s tricky to teach marketing theoretically is that the field changes at the click of a mouse. As new digital platforms unfold, so do the possibilities. As the world gets smaller and technology booms, so do the ways that you can talk to your customer base. Your potential hire needs to have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening – and what is about to happen – in the world of marketing.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of passion
    Some people just really love what they do. That zest and energy overflows into their work and generates top-notch results. One of the most challenging aspects of making a marketing hire is seeing beyond the face people present to how they truly feel about their work. Marketing requires someone with a special touch and if you hire someone who wants to clock in, clock out and earn a paycheck, the magic will never happen.

As Hyam points out in his article, there are a few ways to screen and evaluate job seekers to find the perfect pick amongst a slew of job seekers. This includes giving them a project or exercise to complete, making sure that marketers interview marketers and using the “Five Hows” technique. You could go a completely different route though – one that other companies are using with great success. Traditional in-house marketing departments are being replaced with agencies, for a number of reasons: 


Firstly, for a marketing department that makes the grade, you need a combination of diverse skills and talents. Strategic thinking, management ability, design skills, writing ability, technological know-how… and that’s just to name a few.


You could try and find a few rare gems who have multiple skill sets, or spend a fortune hiring a department that has a person in each role. Or, you could turn to an agency where all of these services are at your disposal, depending on your needs at the time. And, as this post from international agency, Calypso, explains, you don’t have to fork out for software licences or specialised equipment because the agency will have these issues in hand. Agencies can also keep up with you when your business grows – which means that you can avoid the inconvenience and difficulty of having to interview people when it’s time to expand your marketing campaigns. A switched-on agency (which is the only type you should be hiring) will invest in keeping their staff trained, ahead of the trends and in the know – which means that you don’t have to stress about upskilling your employees. Plus, it frees up your schedule so that you can focus on your core business, instead of having to grow, manage and administrate yet another department.


Ultimately, the right agency should offer you a tailored solution that syncs neatly with your business needs. If you are thinking about taking the plunge, why not check out Penquin?

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