4 Signs You Hired the Wrong Marketer (and How to Avoid it)

Hiring the wrong marketer can be devastating for any business or team, especially a small one. Worse, it may take up to 6 months for the effects of a bad marketing to show and by then it’s hard to replace them.

Here are 4 signs to look for during the probation period or better yet at interview:

No empathy with Sales

Your marketer needs a healthy respect for the pressure of quotas that sales people feel. When this respect is missing, the seeds of the marketing/sales conflict begin and will eventually cause resentment and definitely affect your pipeline.

Interview questions:

  • Describe the worst sales person you ever worked with. How did you deal with them?
  • What aspects of marketing do you think sales people don’t understand?
  • What is the most unreasonable thing Sales has ever asked you?

The goal of these questions is to encourage the marketer to reveal their negative feelings towards sales – thus revealing their lack of empathy.

Old-school Mindset

Marketing has changed radically in the past few years due to the explosion of digital. As soon as marketing became linked to software, the need to constantly retrain became mandatory.

It’s not just technology, the behavior of consumers has changed and marketing strategies like inbound and social are now mandatory skills. An old-school mindset will slow your marketing efforts significantly.

Interview questions:

  • What was the last book you read on marketing? What did you learn? How long ago was that?
  • What was the last article you read on SEO? What did you learn? When was that? (repeat for PPC, Marketing Automation, Inbound Marketing, Social, Content Creation
  • )
  • How has buyer behavior changed in the last 5 years and how has marketing changed in response?

Here, we want to see that the marketer has retrained and is updating their knowledge constantly. Their mindset is more important than the answers.

Lacking technology skills

With new social networks and marketing technologies popping up every month, a good marketer needs to be comfortable with adopting new technologies.

A marketer who struggles to learn new technology is just not suited to modern marketing and a liability to your company.

Interview questions:

  • Which social networks are you active on? How often do you post? What do you try to achieve?
  • What’s the last marketing tool you learnt? Was it hard to learn?
  • What new technology did you get your team to adopt in your last job? How did it go?

A good marketer will not only be an early adopter of technology but also be the driver who pushes new technology into the team.

Too conservative

A marketer who is too conservative will not be able to cope with the speed that modern marketing requires.

New strategies such as inbound, social and agile marketing require risk-taking, as it will often be the first time the company tries these. A marketer that is too risk-adverse will slow or stop the adoption of the latest and most effective strategies.

Interview questions:

  • Do you blog? Do you publish any content? If not, what would you blog about if you had time?
  • Give me examples of risks you took in your marketing? How did you mitigate those risks?
  • Tell me about your biggest marketing failures?

The goal of these questions is to ascertain the risk profile of the marketer. You want a risk taker, or your marketing will be stuck in the dark ages.

The key to hiring a good marketer boils down to passion, personality and mindset. You are unlikely to find a person with all the right skills, but it doesn’t matter as the skill set is changing daily. The best investment for the future is the right attitude.

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