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Whether you’re a dedicated HR representative at your company or an industry leader specializing in the vast, creative and consumer-centric world of marketing, scouting the best employees is likely at the forefront of your mind.
In these unprecedented times — from COVID-19 to the Great Resignation — a simple bachelor’s degree likely isn’t the only criteria that’ll jump up with jazz hands from a candidate’s resume to catch an employer’s eye.
Not to mention, in a sea of candidates (literally: collegiates nationwide are still staying afloat while juggling a rigorous course load, part-time work and passion projects), employers may not know where to start recruiting.
Aside from in-house referrals via a company-wide email or Slack message, it’s in an employer’s best interest to use a job-posting site like ZipRecruiter.
With ZipRecruiter, companies can hire employees for free (which is one of the best ways to find employees)! Plus, employers can curate their job postings effectively to target the exact candidate they’re seeking.
But, back to marketing. Candidates come in a Cheesecake Factory-size menu of personalities, expertise and qualifications, each one baked differently. Some may be more interested in the creative side — the brand strategy, the campaigns — while others may be more sales-driven, analytical and trend-forecasting. Some may be both.
We turned to Stacy Schwartz, MBA, assistant professor of digital practice at Rutgers Business School and the founding director of the university’s Master of Science program in Digital Marketing, to discuss what employers can look for in hiring the best candidate for them.
Schwartz told The Post she’s been working in the digital marketing industry, “since its birth” — when she was hired as the eleventh employee at internet advertising pioneer DoubleClick back in 1996.
Ahead, find all the considerations to keep in mind if you’re currently scouting a marketing candidate for your team, or are amid researching if opening a new position is a possibility. Plus, don’t forget to check out ZipRecruiter as a board for your job posting.
You’ve heard it before — “the customer’s always right.” However, for a marketing employee, this is a crucial trait: Keeping your brand’s holistic values in mind. Whether you work for a social media agency or a sales division of a global brand, building and maintaining those relationships is essential.
“Marketing majors are fiercely customer-centric; they’re taught that sustainable company growth and long-term success requires an unrelenting focus on customer needs and wants,” Schwartz told the Post. “They stay attuned to the marketplace to anticipate shifts in those needs and wants, so that the company has an opportunity to shift market offerings accordingly.”
Without a doubt, marketing is an ever-evolving field. Just look at social media alone: vertical videos perform better than traditional, horizontal ones on social media nowadays, tapping into micro-influencers as a key marketing vessel. That said, the employee you hire must be equally vigilant about both the science and the art of marketing.
What’s more, the undergrad marketing curriculum is both quantitative and qualitative, so those with a tangible marketing degree may be coming to your company with a 360-lens at the industry at large. “Students learn the ‘science’ of marketing, including topics related to marketing analytics, customer insights, consumer behavior, pricing and artificial intelligence,” Schwartz said. “They also learn the ‘art’ of marketing through classes related to advertising, social media, and multicultural marketing approaches.”
Interestingly, the science and art “come together” in courses related to marketing strategy and brand management, according to Schwartz. “Coming from a business school, they’re required to take core business classes like finance, accounting, supply chain, management and business analytics.”
OK, while Excel may be, at times, the bane of our existence, having a good working knowledge is a crucial benchmark to consider when hiring a marketing candidate, per Schwartz.
“In our increasingly digital world, the volume and variety of customer data collection possibilities can be overwhelming,” Schwartz said. “Marketing majors are taught to measure what matters, and how to develop meaningful customer insights in a noisy environment.”
With an eye on trends, Schwartz believes staying attuned to new devices and new ways of planning, sharing and expediting content and your brand’s vision is ideal.
Not to mention, creativity and data capabilities work hand in hand. “They use data to solve problems but creativity to cut through the clutter and make their message heard,” Schwartz said.
When thumbing through a tower of applications, even entry-level candidates should be able to demonstrate some level of hands-on marketing experience, according to Schwartz. This can be accomplished through a formal internship, co-op or part-time job, though those aren’t the only means for candidates to market themselves.
“Students can showcase a marketing plan they developed for a real-world client as part of a class project, or perhaps results of their marketing efforts to sell tickets to an on-campus event or sign-ups for a student club,” Schwartz said. “Students can also earn industry certifications (free or low-cost) from leading digital marketing companies, such as Google, Meta, HubSpot and Hootsuite.”
Most of these virtual certifications are coupled with free online coursework that prepares them to use these tools in the real world, too, and can be highlighted on a candidate’s resume when uploaded to a job-posting site like ZipRecruiter.
Though this tidbit is great across a wealth of industries, Schwartz believes it’s especially applicable in the field of marketing.
“Beyond this, a good salesperson should be passionate about building collaborative relationships with their prospects and resilient when faced with rejection,” Schwartz said. “Like any strategic marketer, a sales-driven position needs to pivot (with enthusiasm!) when faced with an obstacle.”
What’s more, a good salesperson should understand not only the product they are selling, but the whole ecosystem in which they are selling. “If the prospect does not buy from you, what else might they do with that budget?” Schwartz pointed out. “It might not go to your most direct competitor, but a different solution entirely.”
To fully empathize with your customer, your marketing employee needs to have a baseline knowledge about potential solutions to meet your brand’s needs.
In our transcending digital world, creative marketing positions require a deep understanding of data and targeting, not just content and design. After all, what’s a good creative design without an audience?
Today, media consumption is fragmented and controlled by the customer. “Viewers allow themselves to be marketed to, and it is harder than ever for marketers to develop compelling, relevant content that sufficiently captures even 15 seconds of their audience’s attention,” Schwartz said. “So, marketers should spend as much time producing high-quality content as they spend deciding where it will live and how it will rise to the surface to be seen.”
If you’re a commerce journalist with an organized spreadsheet of brand contacts and emails, you’re golden. If you’re a wedding planning company that receives annual reports on the latest bridal trends, you’re also a diamond in the rough.
“It’s a great idea to network and maintain an active contact list because the industry is constantly changing,” Schwartz said. “Creative partnerships between media companies and vendor platforms abound, and help our marketing programs succeed.” Plus, companies are merging and acquiring, and you may end up working with unexpected people you have met before.
That said, having a Rolodex of connections isn’t a major dealbreaker, especially in an entry-level candidate. “We use sponsored stories and advertorials to ensure our content has the chance to be seen,” she added. “We also use tactics like brand ambassadors and influencer marketing programs to generate ‘earned” media’ (fueled by paid) that cuts through the clutter.”
Marketing candidates are some of the most intrinsically motivated industry leaders you can hire. From creative to analytical, your next candidate certainly will wear many hats. To maximize your pool of quality soon-to-be-hires, check out ZipRecruiter to begin drafting your job posting.
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