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How to Hire a Digital Marketer: What To Look For & Avoid

how to hire digital marketers

Digital marketing is one of the most in-demand skills at the moment. It’s only natural then that knowing how to hire a digital marketer is just as vital a skill to have. If you’ve never hired an online marketer before, or even if you’re just a little rusty, read on, this one’s for you.

What is a digital marketer

Hiring a digital marketing manager can be tricky when you’re unsure of what the role entails. A digital marketer is a person in charge of growing a company’s online presence through digital channels, both paid and free.

They generate leads and increase brand awareness through a variety of channels, including social media, SEO, the company website, email marketing, content marketing and other contemporary marketing channels. A digital marketer sets and tracks digital marketing KPIs. They can work in-house, or freelance, as a marketing consultant.

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So, why is it important to know how to hire a digital marketer? In essence, your digital marketing strategy determines the way your customers perceive you. In other words, your marketing campaigns could literally make or break your success as a company.

Hire a Marketer: Skills to look for

Marketers are typically “jack-of-all-trades” types, with a bit of knowledge about a lot of topics. You also get specialist marketers who are experts in their given field (and marketing is a huge field).

Recently, there has been talk of the “T-shaped marketer” – someone who is a generalist but also has some deeper knowledge about one particular area.

Depending on the kind of role you’re hiring for, you’ll need to look out for some or all of these skills when evaluating candidates.

1. They’re highly analytical

The biggest part of a digital marketer’s job is staring at numbers on their screen and figuring out the story that they’re telling. From Google Analytics to dashboards on social media platforms, a digital marketer (or a digital marketing agency) should be good at finding the right numbers, interpreting them and making strategies to improve their KPIs. It’s also great to have a solid knowledge of Excel because they will need to work with sheets, regardless of their specialty.

2. They’re great writers

Even if their primary job is not writing copy, every digital marketer needs to have a talent for the written word. From writing captions for social media to writing copy for PPC ads to writing SEO-optimized content for your blog, your digital marketer needs to have proper writing chops to do their job well.

3. They know their SEO

Even if they’re not an SEO specialist, every digital marketer should have some knowledge of SEO basics. Some examples include how to do basic keyword research, how to optimize for a specific keyword, what on-page signals are important for ranking, the difference between white-hat and black-hat SEO, and more. Also, it’s good to have the knowledge of at least one major SEO tool such as Moz, Screaming Frog, or Ahrefs / SEMrush.  

4. They write emails you actually open

Your marketer needs to write great emails but also know what happens once those emails are sent. They need a solid grasp of email marketing metrics, as well as the knowledge on how to improve them.

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5. They’re superb communicators

A digital marketer is someone who is the face of your company. They interact with your customers through the content they create and they need to be comfortable communicating on a variety of platforms with different kinds of stakeholders. Moreover, they need to be comfortable making partnerships with other marketers, business owners, contractors, website editors, and anyone else that can help them and the business perform better.

How to hire a digital marketer

So, you have a bunch of candidates for a job opening and now you need to whittle them down to find the best person for the job. Here are some 5 steps we’ve found to be very helpful when hiring marketing managers.

These tips will help you identify your top-quality digital marketer quickly and with minimal effort (and some tips on creative sourcing strategies if you need to boost your candidate numbers).

1. Screen candidates with a skills test

There’s no better way to start shortlisting candidates than by putting their skills to the test. Instantly, the best ones will rise to the top. Toggl Hire is a pre-employment testing tool that allows you to generate a skills test in just 2 clicks from a database of 1500+ questions, and then sort candidates based on their performance. 

Simply select either the Digital Marketing or SEO & Content Specialist roles, and we will instantly create a skills test for you from our library of 3500+ questions.

Check out the video below to see how it works!

For example, the test could ask them to come up with a caption for an image for social media, to calculate the conversion rate of a page or to correctly answer a technical question about SEO or Google Ads. It also has the added benefit that hiring managers who are not technical marketing experts can still generate tests and evaluate candidates with full confidence. Toggl Hire can help you go from 100s to a few dozen candidates, making the next stages of your hiring process more manageable.

2. Google them

A good online marketer has a track record of published guest posts, quotes, entries in roundup posts, preferably their own website and blog. Dive deeper into your shortlisted bunch of marketing candidates by googling their name and seeing what comes up. It will help you get a feel for their past work and experience, which you can use in addition to their skills test results to determine who you’ll invite to interview.  

3. Seek out their social media presence

Most digital marketing experts maintain a great presence on social media platforms.

Check out their LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps even Facebook profiles to get a feeling of the kind of content they post, how active they are, what kind of communities they’ve built, and what kind of engagement they get. 

Also, see who they are connected with. Is their LinkedIn network filled with people they can learn from? If you have mutual connections, you can potentially ask them for honest feedback about the marketer’s work. Which brings us to our next point…

4. Ask for testimonials 

Testimonials, reviews and recommendations from past clients are powerful tools in our arsenal when it comes to hiring digital marketers. Check out what people have said about working with your candidates on their LinkedIn profile.

You can always reach out to the original poster of the LinkedIn review and ask directly for more detailed info on their performance and what they were like to work with. The more specific the recommendation, the better.

5. Conduct a few, high-value interviews

Since they completed their skills test, you now have all the info you need about the candidates to schedule a meeting and conduct a great interview. You can discuss the results of their tests in the interview, but we find it more useful to spend time getting to know the candidate as a person.

Ask about past experiences and what they learned from them, their leadership style, situational judgment, and career ambitions. This is a great way to find out how your candidate thinks, and whether they’ll make a good cultural fit. Moreover, you can ask additional questions related to the questions from the test.

Wrapping up

Even though it may sound complicated, knowing how to hire a digital marketer isn’t too hard once you do your homework. Take some time to learn the most important aspects of a digital marketer’s job, think about what you want them to do for your business, and you’ll have no problems finding the right person for the job.

August 4, 2020