Most companies can benefit from a savvy marketer.  Whether you're a start-up in desperate need of a competitive strategy or a growing company just looking for someone to coordinate your existing programs, you want to hire an A-player highly capable of identifying insights and managing projects that kill your competition. The best marketers help you attract customers predisposed to buy, and at a premium price.

But if you're not actually a marketer yourself, it's difficult to assess from a resume and interview if a candidate truly has what it takes to bring scalable efficiency to your sales process.  Below are the hiring steps I use for my clients so they can bring greatness to their marketing team.

Step 1--The Ad

Your ad posting should be a little puzzle.  You don't want to make it easy for just anybody to apply. Marketers need to use critical thinking and pay attention to detail, so this is the first way to weed out those who will never be successful at your company.

Start with a brief description of your company, its core values, and a short list of job duties. Then put the following:

We are looking for someone who can investigate, learn and execute. Before you submit your cover letter and resume, please read the following short PDF.

Then please submit your cover letter in the form of a compelling value proposition and include a joke.  Send it with your resume to: (Your email).

(Note:  For the PDF, I use 2 Chapters from my book ROAR!, since it's consistent with my process. You may want to use the same, or a provide a process of your own.)

You will learn a lot about candidates in this first step:

  1. Can they read or follow directions? (Did they include the joke?)
  2. Are they professional? (Was the joke appropriate?)
  3. Can they put their own thoughts into a marketing approach?
  4. Can they write in a correct and compelling manner?
  5. Are they empathetic, clever and entertaining in their approach?

Take the best of the submissions and move them on to...

Step 2--The Interview

In-person interviews are helpful for determining a culture fit.  You want to find people you like, but the hiring process should also test a marketer's practical capability as well. In addition to the regular corporate interview where you assess a culture and personality fit, assess their skills by giving them the following instructions a week before they show up in person.

Congratulations on being selected for an interview. Before you arrive at our company, please research all our public and online materials as well as our competition, and prepare an oral presentation on the following topic: How I believe I can grow (Your Company).

 Include at least 3 of the following in your presentation:

 1.     A video of 3 minutes or less
2.     A white paper between 850--1500 words
3.     An infographic
4.     A PowerPoint deck
5.     A printed brochure

Through this presentation you will learn:

  1. Do they have basic marketing skills?
  2. Do they have the ability to coordinate various materials?
  3. Can they use their resources?
  4. Are they clever and creative?
  5. Are they highly motivated?

Now you have comparative demonstrations for your selection process, and you are also showing candidates that you expect them to think and act in a well-constructed, compelling manner. Pick the best from the interviews and move on to...

Step 3--The Project

Your finalists should be ready to demonstrate a high level of motivation and capability. The best way to find those who are worthy is with a real project. Identify a small project for your company that should take approximately 2 weeks. It should be something that requires collaboration with the leader hiring the marketer as well as members of the existing team. Prepare the team to treat the final candidates as if they are independent contractors. Make sure team members know that this process is a priority and deserves their time and attention. Then tell the candidates the following:

You have been selected for final consideration as our marketer. We would like to hire you for a 2-week project to assess how we work together. We are willing to pay you $(X) for your time. You will be the project manager. We expect you to do the following:

 1. Provide a well thought out project plan including objectives, action steps, milestones, calendar and required resources.
2.     Provide external research supporting your approach to the project.
3.     Manage people and resources to complete your project on time and on budget.
4.     Provide ongoing communication as to the progress of the project.
5.     Document any new observations and/or conclusions that may help the company.

The project is to: Create an integrated social media plan targeting new customers.
(This of course is an example of a project. Pick something relevant to your needs.)

Through this project you will learn:

  1. Do they have project management skills?
  2. Do they have the ability to coordinate and motivate people?
  3. Can they integrate outside learning with existing resources?
  4. Are they organized and autonomous?
  5. Can they deliver when it counts?

This process works well for new marketers just out of school as well as seasoned veterans, since the evaluations will be relative to your needs and the applicant pool. You can adjust the size and scope of the projects to fit the appropriate skill level required for the position.

This extensive process will weed out many prospective applicants, but the finalists at the end will surely be amazing employees.

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