Consumers have been taking more of their shopping online for years now, prompting brands to shift an increasing amount of their marketing spend to digital channels. That makes sense. But when paired with the massive spike in unemployment due to COVID-19, it’s easy to see why many of these companies no longer have the time, resources, or expertise to develop comprehensive digital campaigns internally.
That’s not to mention the stress many retailers will soon face due to shipping bottlenecks during the holiday season. While worrying about how they’ll move merchandise between stores and cover increased delivery fees, they don’t want to wonder whether their marketing campaigns are being deployed successfully.
As a result, they’re hiring digital marketing agencies. This is welcome news for firms, but there’s a catch: some agencies lack the staff to keep up with the influx of new clients. The looming holiday season also means marketing budgets for existing clients should continue to climb—potentially even higher than in previous years due to the need to improve top-line figures.
The timing couldn’t be better for agencies to add top talent to their teams. Ramping up your recruitment efforts to handle the increased business is a smart move (even during a pandemic). You can recruit top talent who may not otherwise be available under “normal” circumstances while increasing your bandwidth to bring on additional clients.
Finding the Right Fit
Of course, recruitment involves so much more than hiring people who have marketing talent. Anyone can learn how to communicate the value of a given product or service to consumers. The focus of recruitment should be on finding people who are reliable, trustworthy, eager to learn, motivated, and, above all else, curious. Curiosity helps people better adapt to uncertainty because it allows them to think deeply and rationally about situations and arrive at more creative solutions.
But how do you find such a candidate? While recruitment isn’t a perfect science, it’s essential to make sure each step in the process helps you reach a specific goal. Recruitment can be broken down into three phases, based on fit: culture, expertise, and client-facing.
Then, during each phase, sprinkle in a handful of culture-focused questions, which will help you find the right person to join your marketing team. Each phase should take two to four weeks.
Recruiting Marketing Team Talent During Challenging Times
Finding the right fit can be a struggle even during normal times. COVID-19 has made everything more challenging, but that shouldn’t prevent you from going forward with your recruitment efforts.
Here are a few suggestions to help you adjust your hiring approach:
- Leverage employer branding with recruitment. Your company website is usually the first interaction candidates will have with your organization. Make a good impression by imbuing your brand’s personality throughout the digital realm. Start with your company website, and then expand out to other touchpoints.
- Embrace a culture-first mindset when hiring. It’s easy to be swayed by an impressive résumé. Job experience and career history are important, but personal qualities need to play a key role in your hiring decisions. Be selective in your screening process, ensuring candidates are the perfect fit for the position and the company. You can always invest in the resources necessary to help a recruit grow into the job. The same can’t be said for growing into the cultural values of your organization—that’s where hiring for culture truly matters. As such, build a few months into the hiring schedule to give yourself time to find the right all-around candidate.
- Instill a new kind of fun into the workplace. Making your workplace fun doesn’t necessarily mean buying stuff to make people feel happy. It’s more about recognition, autonomy, and an individualized approach. Gallup research found that Millennials don’t just want a job; they want a good job that values what they have to offer and allows them to bring their best selves to the workplace. To recruit the best talent to your company (and keep them there), recognize the strengths people bring to your organization. Find ways to empower your marketing team members with each new task or responsibility.
- Show your commitment with a respectable employee benefits package. A company’s benefits can make or break its recruitment and retention efforts. Establish top-of-the-line benefits that make people feel like more than just a number. Retirement plans and paid time off should be givens. You can separate your business from the competition by adding other perks, such as free health insurance, flexible work schedules, or education stipends. Be sure to find a mix of benefits that works for your company’s unique culture and values. The last thing you want to do is offer perks that do little for engagement, recruitment, or retention. It’s a delicate balance. And remember that any perk you offer has to be sustainable. Nothing kills workplace culture faster than taking away benefits that your existing team adores. Start small with what you think you, as a business, can afford—and then scale up over time.
- Get career development right. Proving your company is a great place to work shouldn’t end when a candidate decides to join the marketing team. Invest in your employees on an ongoing basis. When you create a system that allows people to succeed, they’re more inclined to stick around. Provide opportunities for development while setting radically honest expectations for new and current employees. Millennials, for example, want more feedback than an annual review; they favor ongoing conversations about their performance.
The uncertainty of the current environment may have you questioning whether it’s a good time to add to your marketing team, but as brands move more and more of their marketing focus to digital channels, employees can be your greatest asset. You just need to be sure you have enough of the right people for the job.