Growth

Nov 7

How to find, screen, and hire top marketers

Trevor Sookraj

You’ve just finished your ‘Growth Marketing Manager’ job posting and syndicated it across LinkedIn, AngelList, and several jobs boards. The applications are flowing in and you’re taking 1st interviews, but something isn’t clicking — was there an issue with the description? Are you asking the right questions? How do you find, attract, and hire the right talent for your posting?

At Divisional, we’ve hired over 50 marketers in the past year and interviewed hundreds of them, so we understand the challenges of recruiting top 1% growth talent at start-ups. In this article, we’ll share how to identify the right profile, entice a candidate to start the interview process, and check for a fit on both sides (employer and potential employee).

In order to learn more about the Divisional tried-and-true recruitment process, we sat down for a quick conversation with Divisional’s People & Culture Manager, Penny Manzouri.

How do you find the right talent for a startup, and what tips can you share?

Before we start reaching out to potential candidates, we work with founders to rank the responsibilities of the role. Is experience targeting the right audience (i.e. construction foreman) most important? Maybe it’s the business model (i.e. marketplace)? Or do you need someone who can own the growth hunches that you already have (i.e. SEO/Content strategy)?

By figuring this out before you start your outreach, we can prioritize what we’re looking for in a potential hire and determine where to find them. From working with many founders, we’ve realized that everyone is different — so we’ve outlined some practical steps for each scenario:

1. For target audience

Start by shortlisting companies who are in your industry and targeting the same audience, preferably non-competitive. To do this, it’s easiest to get a Crunchbase account ($39/mo) and filter by industry. You can also use LinkedIn Sales Navigator ($70/mo) to screen for companies.

Example search in Crunchbase for US Dev Tooling companies, yielding 3,417 results.

Next, you’ll want to include a filter on LinkedIn Search to discover marketers who have these as their past company. This increases the likelihood that you can work with them, as it won’t be competitive with their current role, so there is less poaching/conflict of interest in the interview process. It might be easiest to have a VA help with some of this process, as it does require a bit of manual work.

2. For business model

This is a broader approach than target audience, which means you don’t need to start with a list of companies. Instead, you can look at titles and filter by industry, or specific keywords in their title.

For example, you could use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and look for titles of “Growth Marketing Manager” or “Growth Marketer” with the business criteria of B2B to ensure you’re looking at the right people.

3. For skillset

This is, in many ways, the most challenging way to recruit. Many marketers don’t have a title that reflects their role — i.e. the best growth marketer in the world could have “Senior Product Marketing Manager” as their title, so you wouldn’t look at them if you were sourcing for a new hire.

Instead, think of all the adjacent titles of this skillset, and add it to your Sales Navigator criteria. If you are looking for someone with experience leading an SEO/Content strategy, you might look at:

  • Head of Content
  • VP of SEO Marketing
  • Content Marketing Manager

How do you get marketers to take an interview?

The reason we are able to attract top talent is because we offer them a model that allows them to remain comfortable in their full-time role while getting to explore new industries, problem sets, etc. We provide them with flexibility and because that is a key priority for top talent, they are interested in what we have to offer.

And while finding a top candidate is one thing, getting them to agree for an interview is very different. Is the ideal candidate actively looking for a new job? Perhaps, they’re dealing with circumstances in their personal life that delay the job search. Getting the timing perfect with a good hire is very important.

How many marketers do you need to reach out to?

Most recruiters that look for a new hire are laser-focused on volume: Find 100 candidates, reach out to all of them, get 5 interviews, and repeat. The issue is that you are only tapping into a very small pool of candidates, whilst having a very specific list of needs. If you are OK with having a hire that only checks some boxes, you will find a candidate quicker; otherwise it’ll take you 6+ months of effort to find the perfect hire.

Instead, optimize for getting good candidates on the phone. Be transparent about what you expect from the role. Many candidates will be skeptical at first, but will warm up as you continue the conversation. In the case that they are genuinely uninterested, still ask for their input on the role, who they think might be a good fit, and any other general thoughts. You can tap into their perspective and how to think about hiring for the position, and you may even come out with a qualified referral from their network. We typically see 20% of candidates respond to our outreach and take a 1st interview, which is on the higher end of even experienced recruiters like Greenhouse ATS.

Remember that good hires don’t come overnight — the best fits for your company are people you meet today and may not hire full-time for 8-12 months. Keeping them up to date on your business and finding ways to work together (even project-based or part-time) are ways to vet who is a good fit for your business, while de-risking the move on both sides.

How do you screen for the right marketer?

When you have minimal time to take interviews, and a short time (i.e. 45 mins) to ask questions when they take the interview, you need to be targeted. We ensure that the marketer’s skillset matches the growth goal of the client. For example, if the client needs help starting and scaling a specific channel, such as outbound email, we will look for channel experience and dig deep into the results the candidate achieved with that channel in their other roles.

If the client needs someone to manage a “blank slate” growth problem where the marketer coming in would have to figure out what’s the most important growth priority, we will look for a more holistic marketer who has demonstrated success with ambiguity and early-stage start-ups in the past. These are two different angles (hard skills VS situational), but both will inform whether that marketer is successful at the startup.

To learn more about the specific template of questions you can use to hire for growth at your start-up, check out this article we wrote outlining examples of how we do it at Divisional.

How do you screen for a fit with company culture?

We focus on understanding the narrative of the marketer and how it has been shaped by their career choices. Marketers should be able to describe the results they’ve achieved and provide specific examples, demonstrating that they really understand the space they’re in.

Additionally, we also try to flush out the working style of the marketer. Not every marketer works with every type of team — some prefer  founders who have clear goals, while others are OK with founders that are earlier on. As with most question on ‘culture fit’, it will come down to gut feel and who we think will mesh well with the startup.

How does Divisional attract the right marketers?

The final step of recruitment is having a candidate take the offer, and for Divisional marketers, that’s usually an easy decision. By following the process above, candidates who enter our recruiting funnel are typically very strong fits for our startups, and have the work environment that enables them to work fractionally.

Fractional employment is the key term — we provide marketers with flexibility, autonomy, and of course, extra income, as they look to make an impact at a startup. They can work on unique and challenging projects outside their regular 9-5, while interacting with a community of other likeminded marketers and learning from each other.

Working fractionally often opens the eyes of marketers to see different perspectives and solutions that they can bring into other areas, including their full time job. The experience helps their knowledge and skills, making them more competitive in the job market and overall, furthering their career.

Interested in hiring a marketer from Divisional or working with us fractionally? Get in touch with us today!

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