It can be tough to find the perfect person for a job. When it comes to inbound marketing, the process is even tougher. Our industry is so new, fluid, and fast-paced that many are scrambling to keep up – let alone establish concrete hiring practices. Consequently, it’s no surprise that few agencies have a go-to strategy when it comes to seeking out and nailing down a killer inbound marketing consultant.
I’ve talked to a few company managers who have completely stopped checking resumes or cover letters; possibly based on their limited time to do so, possibly because they’re basing their hiring practises on portfolio work. LinkedIn also provides some good insight when surveying candidates for some positions – but at times can be misleading, especially when we’re hiring for something like inbound marketing.
If you’re looking to hire any type of marketer, you have to face the reality: marketing has changed. Rather than staying specialized in one specific area, a successful inbound marketer today needs to wear multiple hats and acquire various skills. This isn’t due to any one change in particular, like technology. Yes, that has contributed, however the primary reason is the changing face of consumers.
HubSpot indicates that agencies must be holistic in their hiring approaches. Keep in mind, although you might not feel entirely confident seeking out the perfect employee, the employee getting interviewed is just as unsure as to what you might be looking for. The fresh, consumer-centric mentality is new both for seasoned marketers and young inbound strategists who might be new to the game.
There are an increasing number of things to take into consideration when hiring an inbound marketing consultant or strategist for your business, but here are three that you simply can’t afford to overlook as compiled by Matt Sullivan at HubSpot:
1. Define your business goals and let the candidate explain how his/her techniques will get you there. Be specific (e.g. 6X as many leads in 6 months, 10% increase of revenue from Internet leads, etc.). Without a good definition of success, it will be difficult for you to hold your consultants or employees to your standards. Because you have the destination picked, a good expert will be able to put together a roadmap for you.
2. Ask to see behind the curtain. If a candidate won’t allow you or your staff to participate in any of their inbound marketing efforts, you need to be suspicious. The worst thing that can happen to you is that your expert is using black-hat techniques to artificially accelerate the results. The long-term side-effect can be devastating to your efforts. Your expert should also be giving you an education. Moreover, you should set up a weekly or semi-weekly agenda of meetings with this candidate to survey their progress; keep the lines of communication open.
3. Get references and case studies. This is your opportunity to find out what they’ve done in the past. Even if the candidate is your cousin or neighbor’s son and has no previous experience, you need to make sure that your resource has legs to stand-on. Don’t simply rely on their pretty website or number of Twitter followers. That said, what you can do (if your schedule permits) is do a quick survey of their personality online. Are they quick to respond to issues with their following?
The hiring process isn’t easy for any job, particularly for inbound marketing where the field is so new and few marketers even fully grasp the methodology. That said, hiring an inbound marketing consultant is not a waste of money, it’s an investment. Considering the number of daily tasks and challenges, possible mistakes in every campaign, and the pace of this industry, you don’t have much of a choice. Just be sure to approach the process with attention to detail.