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4 Criteria to Screen for Modern Marketing Talent

With the economy starting to show signs of life , marketers may be getting a bit more flexibility and budget to hire full time or even contract marketing talent. Here at HubSpot, we've been doing a lot of that lately. We just hired two new marketers last week, and that means we've been getting a lot of resumes online, via referrals, and more. With a job market flooded with eager candidates, how does a marketing leader sort through the noise to find those marketing diamonds in the rough that might add serious impact to your team? describe the image

Pre-Screening Candidates for Inbound Marketing Success

Sure, we've written posts about the characteristics to look for in a candidate: Hiring in the DARC ages , which highlights the needs for Digital Natives, Analytical Chops, Reach, and Content Creation Skills. But before you even get in a room to ask questions about these traits, how can you go about narrowing that pile of 100 resumes to the 10 you'll get on the phone with and the three you'll bring in for an interview?

Most companies do some form of resume pre-screening followed by a phone screen before they invest any face-to-face time. We've come up with some specific criteria to screen for that we think helps stellar marketing talent rise to the top.

4 Criteria to Screen for at the Resume Stage

Resume Basics

There are certain things that go without saying: if there are typos, the resume is hard to comprehend, or doesn't show any sort of logical work or training progression, let it go. If your candidate can't even take the care to create quality content about the 'product' they know best, then it'll probably be hard for them to do it for your product or service.

Career Focus

This element varies depending on how senior the role is as well as the candidate in question. Even in the case of a recent college grad, we look for evidence of an interest in marketing before they even threw their cap into the air. What internships has this candidate participated in? Have they shown interest and drive to act on their passion for marketing? Can they point to coursework that is relevant to the role they are seeking? If they are a liberal arts candidate whose summer job was lifeguarding, that's not a strong indicator of interest, and they usually won't pass our sniff test.

Digital Footprint

Modern marketers have to be digitally inclined, whether they are part of Gen Y or they're seasoned professionals who have proven their mettle. If you want your candidate to take to inbound marketing, start by Google'ing them. How many of the top listings are truly about them? Do they have a LinkedIn profile? If yes, how complete is it, and have others written recommendations about them? Do they have a Twitter handle? Are they active with it? What about a blog?  

Google & Social Digital Footprint

Today's 'marketing portfolio' can often be comprised of publicly available content created by your candidate. It's always a great sign when one of our candidates is not only active socially, but has engaged in forums or blogs about the industry or marketing on a topic they are passionate about.

Quirky Talents

You can only learn so much from a resume and via search. But we've found that candidates who share or show an affinity for something other than just school or work often bring a really fresh perspective to the marketing world.  Examples might include:

  • Candidates with a communications or marketing degree who ALSO happen to code their own mini-mobile apps tend to have good analytical and logical thinking skills.
  • Seasoned marketers who also happen to be in a band or run a non-profit are exercising other parts of their brain and often bring creative ideas and people together.

While your new marketer might not use these skills or hobbies directly on the job, they are going to provide a valuable perspective and of course have that benefit of being very 'real' as people -- what team doesn't like that?

Tip: How to Screen 100 Resumes in 1 Hour

So maybe you like these criteria, and maybe you don't. Fine. Make up your own, or modify these. Once you have them, screening 100 resumes is still a mammoth task.  Here's what we did this spring.

A party. Well, ok, a resume screening pizza party.

Ten marketers, 4 pizzas, 1 hour.

We batched up the resumes and paired our marketers into teams. Each team received 20 resumes, and between them, were allowed to 'put forward' 2 for a phone screen. Using a combination of the criteria above plus talking it out between them, we were able to narrow the field in a very consistent fashion, super fast. Bonus: all the marketers in the room felt pretty bought in to the talent we might be bringing aboard!

Narrowed the Playing Field: Now What?

Your next step will be to decide what your company wants to learn during the phone call. Whatever these decisions are, be sure to be consistent in your questions so you get a good picture of how candidates might succeed, and you obtain enough information to make the right selection for a next step.

If you're building a marketing team today, consider checking out our whole kit about using Agile in marketing and some of the tools to build a powerhouse marketing organization .

What are your key indicators of candidate excellence?


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