Why Hiring a Marketing Department Has Changed—5 Subjects a Business Owner Must Now Consider in Every Interview

This is a guest post by Amanda DiSilvestro.

Many current CEOs and business owners often have more to worry about than the 50 ways social media can drive traffic to a website or the 100 ways to help improve a website’s page ranking. In other words, they have more to worry about than trying to keep up with the latest and greatest marketing tactics. However, CEOs and business owners do have to worry about hiring new employees.

As early as seven years ago, hiring a marketing department was fairly simple. You first get a background check, then you ask about their past experiences, how they plan to use commercials and newspapers to advertise, how they plan to measure success, etc., and the interview was over. Today, there are many new marketing outlets that a CEO has to take into consideration when trying to find a marketing professional who can keep up. In some cases, a good candidate may not have much experience with the latest tactics simply because they are so incredibly new. Marketing in today’s world is a little bit like being on a roller coaster. Everyone, no matter what age or point in their career, is along for the ride. This interviewing process has, therefore, become very tricky.  To make matters worse, many CEOs and business owners are not up on the latest best practices themselves, so how can an interview go successfully?

If you’re worried you won’t be able to tell who to hire, don’t sweat it (there are many in your shoes). Consider a few of the newer things that now must be mentioned in an interview to make sure you hire the right person to help you utilize every marketing tool available:

5 Tips to Help the Unsure CEO Hire the Right Marketing Professional

Social Media—When looking to hire someone in a marketing department, test their knowledge of social media. Even if you do not know much about it yourself, check for these qualities and these answers:

  • At the very least, someone hoping to get a job with your company should have a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account. Be sure to ask the candidate if they have these accounts, and then check to see if they have these accounts by logging into the sites and searching for their names. This can sometimes be tricky, so do not hesitate to ask for a Twitter name or a nickname they may use on these accounts.
  • If they can manage their personal sites, they have a much better chance of managing your company’s sites. Check to see how many followers and connections they have on Twitter and LinkedIn (the more the better), and look to see if others participate on their pages.
  • Ask them if they are familiar with StumbleUpon, Digg, Quora, and Google+. Chances are if they know a little bit of information about these sites, they’re pretty fluent in social media.

Understanding of SEO and Analytics—Getting your company online is no doubt crucial to the success of a business. According to Internet World Stats, 77.3% of the U.S. population regularly used the Internet last year. If someone was going to use the Internet to search for your company, SEO becomes very important. Ask the candidate about how they plan to increase organic search rates as well as utilize pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. If a candidate does not know how search engines work, your company’s marketing efforts will suffer greatly. If you are unsure about SEO yourself, it might be a good idea to do a little bit of research or find someone in your company who is more familiar to sit in on the interview.

Marketing Offline—On a completely different spectrum, make sure your candidate knows how to effectively market a product or service using offline mediums. If you find someone who is very Internet savvy, they may have been ignoring the importance of more traditional marketing. Knowing how to communicate effectively through mediums other than the Internet is still an important part of a marketing department, so make sure you’re candidate isn’t too tangled in the web.

Communication—Marketing employees used to be focused on creativity, and then the marketing director or sales department would worry about communication with other businesses and consumers. Today, there are more outlets for communication than ever before. This means that everyone in your marketing department has to be good with words both in person and on paper.

Experience—Experience in a marketing department is always helpful; however it is not quite as important in today’s world. Marketing is evolving quicker than most sectors of the workforce, so it will not be uncommon to find a candidate who hasn’t come in contact with everything mentioned above. Because of this, it is important that you find someone who is willing to learn and willing to change, not someone who is stuck in their old marketing ways.

Effective marketing is about using as many mediums as successfully as possible. This becomes impossible when you have someone working in your marketing department who does not possess the latest qualities that are now required. Chances are these marketing tactics will change with time, so the most important quality of all for your future employees to possess is an ability to roll with the punches. If you have someone who knows a little bit more than the basics, but has a curiosity to follow the changing demands of the industry, your new department will be in good shape.

Also remember that there is nothing wrong with having someone a little bit more experienced in marketing sit in on the interview with you. Many CEOs and business owners are a little unsure about the latest cutting edge tactics, but this is to be expected. You pretty much have to live and breathe marketing in order to keep up these days, and let’s face it, a business owner has other things to worry about. After all, isn’t this why you’re hiring in the first place?

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to business phone systems. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including business insurance to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading B2B Directory, Business.com.

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