— November 7, 2017
When recruiting marketing talent, the interview process is your opportunity to learn about a candidate’s qualifications and evaluate their fit for your organization. But just as you’re scrutinizing them, top candidates will also be observing your organization, process, and people with a critical eye. If you want to consistently attract the best candidates to your business, it’s important that they get excited about the role and your organization.
It only takes one weak interview experience to turn off top talent. Just as you carefully promote your product and design messaging for your ideal customer, you should also be marketing your opportunities, team, and workplace to professionals who have the ability to bring your organization forward. We’re in candidate’s market right now; talented marketers with a proven track record and an in-demand skillset can afford to be picky.
Many businesses have a weak interview experience and don’t even realize it.
Are Your Interviewers Accountable?
In general, you should aim to provide an interview experience that is so compelling, positive and memorable that all your interviewees leave wanting the job. This gives you the power when you are selecting who you want.
Overall, organizations generally have a strong interview strategy but fail in the execution.
Top talent is in demand, so in order to consistently make great marketing, digital and e-commerce hires, you need an interview process that is as fast as it is decisive. Too often one interviewer goes rogue with their questions or worse says something negative about the company because they are having a bad day. Far too often companies push interviews out weeks or a month and end up losing top talent to competitors who move more quickly. Your strategy needs to include timelines and expectations of interviewers and just like every other area of company performance, it needs to be measured and people held accountable.
This gives you the best possible chance to hire an “A” player.
By going out of your way to positively engage all your candidates and sell them on the position, you increase the odds that your first choice is as interested in you as you are them. And if for whatever reason you’re not able to reach an arrangement with that top marketer, you’ll know the next most qualified individual will likely be receptive. If you have to start the recruiting process over for an opening this costs the company a lot in the way of time, money and lost opportunity cost. Much better to get the right hire the first time through the process.
Auditing Your Candidate Experience
One bad interview can outweigh five positive ones. Candidates are determining if this is a place they want to work and if the culture is a good fit.
If you want to improve your interview experience, you first need to take a long, honest look at where it is now. In an active business environment where you’re constantly bringing in new talent and engaging in innumerable other business activities, it’s easy to lose sight on the state of your candidate experience and how your brand stands up in the eyes of top talent.
One hard truth that many businesses need to understand, accept, and learn to work around is that, at least at first glance, their organization and brand aren’t necessarily the most exciting. YOU might know that your business is a great place to work–but that’s not always apparent to outsiders.
You don’t to have a popular brand or trendy name to be a successful business with an excellent workplace. But it does mean that your interview process and other parts of the candidate experience are even more important in attracting the best marketers available.
Best way to audit the experience is to sit in on all the interviews and take time to train your team on interviewing best practices.
Choose Your Interview Panel Wisely
Marketers these days like to talk about the importance of customer experience and brand consistency. That kind of consideration and focus needs to be extended to your interview and hiring process as well.
That applies to a lot of little things: updating your application systems and technology, maintaining a punctual interview schedule, and keeping all the basic boxes checked for a professional interview.
It also means carefully selecting who, exactly, will be directly interacting with your candidates.
Your interviewers will be the human faces candidates attach to your company as an employer. If candidates can’t make a meaningful connection with those personalities and don’t sense any enthusiasm, they’re unlikely to walk away from their interviews with a positive impression.
So what makes for a quality interviewer for an important marketing position? Ideally, it will be someone who has:
- Deep understanding of marketing in general and the demands of the role in particular
- Apparent, noticeable passion for your company and desire to work with extremely talented professionals
- Having an executive two levels up, the boss’s boss, in on the process really communicates that this role is important to the organization.
- HR staff and internal recruitment are also very important to assess culture fit and leadership ability.
Unfortunately, it can be harder than you might think to find people with all those qualities.
Other Key Considerations for Your Interview Experience
The people responsible for actually interviewing your top marketing candidates will probably make the biggest and most important impression on potential additions to you team. But the interview experience doesn’t begin or end there, and many people throughout your organization can contribute to making it better. Every person who interacts with the candidate, even if they are just scheduling interviews speaks to who you are as an organization.
Finally, choose your marketing headhunter or executive search partner carefully. When selecting marketing recruitment agencies, ensure you partner with someone who has a long track record of success engaging marketers, who fully understand your needs, and has the same passion for marketing that you expect out of your new hire.