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How to Hire a Marketer: 4 Tips for Creating a Job Description [Plus 7 Interview Questions]

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You handle everything as the CEO or owner of your company. Marketing, sales, and admin work all fall under your belt, but you’re struggling for time as you grow.

It’s probably time to hand off one of those tasks—starting with marketing.

But should you hire someone with experience? Opt for an agency? Or take a chance on the recent graduate who’s looking to cut their teeth?

There are so many things to consider when hiring a marketer, so we’ve put together a guide on how to find the best match for your small business.

We’ll talk about:

  • The benefits of hiring an agency vs. an in-house marketer
  • Whether you need a manager or executive
  • How to create a marketing job description
  • Marketing interview questions you need to ask
  • Things you should look for in your candidates

Should you hire an in-house marketer or an agency?

You’ve decided you need a hand with your marketing campaigns.

The first thing you need to determine is whether you’ll opt for a traditional member of staff that works for your company or a marketing agency. And like all big decisions, both options have pros and cons.

Here are some deciding factors that will help you choose between each.

Hiring an in-house marketer.

In-house marketers work alongside you in your office (unless you offer remote working). This direct line of communication is just one of the many advantages of hiring them.

1. In-house marketers are (usually) cheaper.

Hiring an in-house marketer for your business is often cheaper than paying for an agency.

The average SEO agency charges anywhere from $500 to more than $20,000 per month (or anywhere from $40 to $200 per hour), and that might not even cover email, content marketing, or advertising—meaning you may still need to find someone to cover those other channels.

In comparison, a Marketing Manager’s salary is about $5,000 per month.

It’s worth considering hiring an agency, but it’s not essential—especially if your marketing budgets are tight.

2. You “own” their talent.

When you hire an in-house employee, you’re investing time into a person and (hopefully) getting that back in the future because their skills grow and they become loyal to your company.

You’re able to harness their development and watch them grow—which can be satisfying for all parties.

On the other hand, working with marketing agencies means you don’t own their talent, and they can cancel your contract at any time. Perhaps even worse, they can agree to work with your competitors and potentially undo the hard work they’ve done for you.

Hiring a marketing agency.

Another way to bring marketing expertise into your small business is to hire an agency. Here are some reasons you might want to go this route.

PC: Report Garden

1. Agency teams have a wealth of experience.

When you opt for an agency to do your marketing, you can rest assured the people you’re hiring are experts. They work with lots of different clients so they will likely know what works best for your industry, and they usually are masters of their craft.

Not only that, but they’re less prone to risks (because of their experience), and you can often benefit from their industry contacts—which could be beneficial for things like PR campaigns.

2. You could save time and money.

Although hiring a marketing agency can be a big investment, it can sometimes work out as the more economical option.

That’s because there’s no in-house salary to pay—which is particularly appealing if your marketing activity scales to need a team, rather than just one person.

And don’t forget about the time you’ll save. When hiring an agency, you don’t need to worry about investing time into training and developing in-house talent.

That leaves you with more time to build your business, and to do the things that matter most.

Do you need a marketing manager or a marketing executive?

The next stage in your hiring process is to determine whether you need a manager or an executive.

In some cases, it’s better to hire someone to do a job and fulfill the day-to-day marketing tasks.

Yet in other situations—perhaps when you’re growing rapidly and looking to bring in a wider marketing team—you might look to hire someone who can make decisions and think strategically. You can then use freelancers, interns, or agencies to complete the work itself.

In truth, it will often be a case of budget.

If you’re able to stretch to a wider marketing budget, consider a self-starting manager who can drive your strategy forward. But if your wallet is tight, an up-and-coming marketing executive can help take some of the laborious and time-consuming tasks away from your desk.

How to Create a Marketing Job Description

You’ve weighed up your options, and decided it makes most sense to hire a marketer for your business. Now what?

It’s time to begin the hunt for your newest recruit, and you need to get the word out! You also need to make sure you attract the right kind of applicants.

Here’s how to create a killer job description for your newly-opened position.

Introduce your company.

You matter to your candidates just as much as they matter to you.

That’s why you should use your marketing job description as an opportunity to tell people who they’re going to work for by answering key questions candidates may have, like:

  • What do you do?
  • Who do you help?
  • What are you doing that’s not working?
  • Why are you looking to hire a marketer?

PC: Buffer

Establish job responsibilities.

The next section of your job description should explain what the new hire will do in their daily role. (Think of it like their chance to peek into their daily routine as a marketer, working for you.)

Figure this out by writing down the marketing tasks you’re currently taking care of, the goals you have, and the tasks that need to be done in order to reach them. And if you don't have all the answers, or need your new hire to do a lot of "figuring it out," tell them.

Remember, it's always better to use plain English rather than buzz words or "professional" jargon. 

PC: Doubledot Media

You could also use this section as your chance to win potential candidates over—especially if you can make it sound fun and exciting!

List your requirements and desirables.

Any job requires certain skills, and marketing is no different.

Your job description should make it clear what you’re expecting from candidates.

For example:

  • Do your staff need a degree?
  • Are additional marketing certifications (like HubSpot or Google) essential?
  • How much experience is necessary?

Bear in mind that a more experienced candidate may be able to hit the ground running, but will command a higher salary. On the other hand, a graduate looking for their first marketing role may need to be shown patience as the train and learn, but won’t need as high of a salary.

Spell out what skills and attributes your candidates need to have—and the qualities you’d like, but that aren’t essential.

People can self-qualify using this criteria, which allows you to vet the applicants more easily.

Include the perks.

Salary isn’t the be all and end all of a job.

Many workers value other perks just as highly, so make sure your job description mentions those you offer.

Along with a competitive salary, think about additional benefits that make you appealing.

PC: Buffer

So, what perks will attract top candidates? A recent study found these top five benefits are what employees look for:

  • Pension scheme – trust or contract-based
  • Paid leave for losses
  • Training and career development
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Occupational sick pay

However, employees may be attracted by remote working, flexible hours, paid time off, autonomy to do their work, an unlimited vacation policy, and casual dress codes. Making your office a cool and pleasant place to be is also a great way to attract applicants.

7 Marketing Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Once your job description is out, it’s time to sift through the applications.

You’ll start by arranging interviews with the candidates who stand out. But how can you effectively use the interview process to find the perfect marketer for your small business?

Learn more about the people who’ve applied for your job by asking them these interview questions.

1. If we didn’t have any budget available (just time), what would you focus on?

This will give you an idea of how your candidate can work under pressure and with limited budgets—two things you might be struggling with when it comes to planning (and executing) marketing campaigns.

2. Which marketing channel is your favorite and why?

It’s good to understand what makes your candidates tick and to get a feel for their enthusiasm.

Plus, by asking this question, you may find the person has the skills to unlock the potential of a channel you’re not currently exploiting.

3. Are there any marketing skills you’re looking to improve on? Why? How would you like to do that?

Any employee you bring on board should be constantly looking to improve.

This question will help you understand your candidate’s weaknesses, and identify ways to support their development as they progress with your company.

You can also prove you’re committed to employee development by asking this question—something a quarter of Gen Z and Millennial staff say keeps them loyal to their employer.

PC: LinkedIn Learning

4. Tell me about your best “win” as a marketer.

This question allows your candidate to sell themselves and share their biggest successes in marketing. Have they achieved something out of the ordinary? Would you like to replicate one of their success stories?

You could also ask candidates to include this in their application before the interview process.

5. Have you managed a team of staff before? Would you be open to this as we grow as a business?

Your first marketing hire will manage every strategy that falls within that activity. But, chances are, you’ll need to hire future marketing team members as your business grows, and demand for marketing campaigns skyrocket.

If you have lofty growth ambitions, leaders are required. Use this marketing interview question to determine whether they have those future-proof qualities.

6. Which marketing platforms, tools, or software do you have experience with? What did you accomplish through them?

Marketers use a range of tools and software, which means it’s good to have someone experienced with the tools you’re already using so they can hit the ground running.

This question helps you understand how and why your candidate has used different tools to support their role, and could open your eyes to several marketing tools that could make their day more productive.

7. How familiar are you with our industry?

Often, a marketer will require a firm understanding of your industry or niche in order to be successful. But this can be tricky if you don’t require tons of experience from the people applying.

If they don’t have knowledge of a particular sector, try to understand what their marketing knowledge is like. For example, you could ask whether they prefer:

  • B2B or B2C
  • Products or services
  • Local or digital marketing

PC: The Balance

These are all very different types of marketing that require different skills. Try to narrow down candidates who match your small business’s marketing style.

6 Crucial Things to Look for in a Marketing Candidate

You’ve read through a stack of resumes and interviewed those who piqued your interest. But you’re still not sure which marketer should be added to your payroll.

When reviewing your candidates’ job applications and carrying out interviews with those on your shortlist, pay close attention to their skills, experience, and enthusiasm for the role.

But this will only take you so far, because you might find several candidates that tick those boxes.

You can use this six-point checklist to pick the right marketing hire.

1. Know if they're tech-savvy.

Marketing is a digital world—especially with online marketing overtaking traditional channels like TV, radio, or print. (Not to mention that digital transformation is taking over, and there will be four devices per person by the time we reach 2020.)

That’s why you should look for candidates who’ve shown their tech skills during the application process.

They might have submitted their resume in a quiz format, done some research of their own, or run their own Facebook Ads campaign, for example.

Regardless of what it is, candidates with a proven skill or ability to use technology should advance to the top of your list.

2. Ask about their personal experience.

There’s a long-standing debate in the marketing world that argues whether or not marketers actually need professional qualifications to succeed in their industry.

When hiring your first marketer, think about whether it matters if your candidate has a marketing degree.

If the answer is “no” and a marketing qualification isn’t essential for you, look for people who’ve got marketing side projects. That might be:

  • They have their own blog
  • They’ve built up an impressive Instagram following
  • They run their own forum website for people who share their hobby

PC: Databox

These people choose to do marketing in their own time, so their passion is there to see. They’re not just doing it to get a well-paying job—they genuinely enjoy marketing!

3. See if they have a willingness to experiment.

The most successful marketers do general experimentation.

Test this throughout your hiring process by searching for a “test and measure” approach from your candidates. For example:

  • Are they willing to try a different marketing channel?
  • Would they change their approach to try and improve return on investment?
  • Have they got any experience running A/B tests?

(The answers to our marketing interview questions above could help spot this.)

Employing a perfectionist as your first marketing hire might seem like a good idea, but they may not be willing to run experiments—which could mean it takes longer to see growth. Instead, try to hire a marketing executive who is willing to test.

4. Recognize if they have a drive to figure things out.

Similar to a willingness to experiment, your perfect candidate should be one that has the desire to try and figure things out for themselves.

This could work to your advantage when they’re working on your marketing campaigns.

For example, say they’re signed into your Google Analytics account and spot a spike in traffic on one particular day. Your ideal candidate shouldn’t pass this off, they should dig further and figure out why.

No one has all the answers—especially your small/medium business. But hiring a marketer who can problem-solve is a great way to move your marketing campaigns (and business as a whole) forward.

5. Pay attention to their interest in your customers.

Marketing is all about getting your message in front of your target customer.

So, take special notice of marketing candidates who ask about your audience, or show they’ve done their research.

For example: “I took a look at your blog comments and found someone called Joe Bloggs. It looks like they live in North Carolina. Is this where most of your traffic comes from?”

Your marketing team will need to work from buyer personas to create their campaigns. That means an interest in your customer is essential.

After all, they’re the people your marketer will be trying to reach.

PC: Itsma

6. Look for a blend of creativity and analytical skills.

Your first marketing hire needs to be creative to think of new ideas, but also back those up with analytical skills to determine whether their campaigns are a success.

You need to know what the impact of your marketing activity is, right?

To test that your candidates have these skills, you could run a test or activity that asks them to present a marketing campaign idea. Include a requirement that their work also needs to showcase a reporting template and the key goals and metrics for success.

This is a great way to spot whether your marketers have the analytical skills back up their creativity.

Finalize Your Choice

Hiring someone to take your company’s marketing strategy to the next level is a big decision—especially when companies spend over 10% of their revenue on marketing.

Look to experienced strategists to drive you forward if budget allows, and consider an agency (or a mix of specialist agencies) to deliver results from their high levels of experience.

But regardless of which option you choose, hiring a marketer for your small business is bound to free up some of your own time—and take your marketing campaigns to the next level.

Related: Which Online Recruiting Platform is Best for Your Business?