I remember way back in 2008 when I was a freshie and working in a couple of startups as their social media lead (social media was so new then that there was hardly any ‘experienced’ help available). My then boss would often mention how hard it was to hire for digital roles. Putting job requirements on traditional platforms like Naukri.com would lead to 100s of CVs and very few of them would be of decent quality and relevance.
Since then as I worked with more startups for their digital requirements, there were many occasions to hire digital marketing folks to grow their team. And over the years, despite a growing number of niche job sites, I feel that hiring for digital marketing roles remains a challenge even today.
Startups & SMEs tend to have a bandwidth problem. Who is going to sift through so many CVs?
Bigger companies have a different problem. Their recruitment agencies often use old school hiring methods (like print ads) which won’t attract the right digital-savvy applications.
I can relate because I struggled with this a lot in my early years. But finally, I found the solution (with help from Aditya Mishra, the CEO at SwitchMe.in, where I was working at that time). The solution is to create an efficient recruitment process keeping in mind that 100s of applications have to be filtered through it.
Creating your Recruitment Process for Marketing Teams
Step 1: THINK Through The Activity In Detail
What are the job tasks? What kind of candidate would be good for these tasks? Where can we find these candidates? Where would they be looking for a job, so we can post our vacancy?
These few basic Qs seem obvious but when you consciously think about it, a lot of new and creative alternatives present themselves. Moreover, these Qs are only the beginning, there are many more matters to elaborate on.
Step 2: Identify ACTIONS
These actions will convert these thoughts into tangible outcomes
What are the job tasks? What kind of candidate would be good for these tasks?
Action: create a job description for the role
Where can we find these candidates? Where would they be looking for a job, so we can post our vacancy?
Action: talk to your contacts who are working in this field. You could also research your competition and see where they hire from. One key activity here is to post on relevant social media groups. You can also publish your JD on social channels and tag relevant influencers, who are usually happy to share the requirement around.
Step 3: Address The Pain Points
I see two key pain points here,
Shifting Through The Huge Number Of Applications
The best way to manage this with minimal effort suitable even for bootstrapped startups is to set up really smart tests to evaluate and filter out candidates. And one of the key tests is a basic application form.
Even today businesses ask for CVs and a cover letter to test candidates. That is a fairly time-consuming process. Moreover, it tests the candidate based on the skills they choose to put forth. If you create a customized test form through which candidates have to apply for the job – you can test for the skills that you need!
Moreover, the sheer task of downloading and opening the CV is a time-consuming task when there are 100s of applications to get through. Instead, an application test could provide data in a spreadsheet. Thus, the evaluator has to sift through the data in one spreadsheet, a much quicker task.
Depending on the role, this application test process could be largely automated too.
Setting Up Smart Tests
Identify and list out the essential skills you want to test candidates for. Figure out smart tests for each of these skills and create your customized evaluation process. These tests can be written, verbal or hands-on. The specific tests would depend on your role requirements.
For example, usually most digital marketing roles require a written test to check for language and communication strength. This can be tested by asking for a simple 300 word write up on a topic suited for your brand. But writing long-form is different from short social media updates.
So if the role requires different kinds of content creation then you need to check for all the different skills. You can ask for social media updates to promote that 300-word article. Depending on the role, the tests vary in complexity and depth.
Keep your initial tests most simple and basic, so they can quickly remove a lot of largely unsuited applicants. This way you can spend more time evaluating the applicants in the higher rounds.
Once this process of evaluation has been set up, stick to it! A lot of entrepreneurs and hiring managers get frustrated when a lot of applications are unsuitable. Hence, they lower the bar and end up with a bad hire.
As per a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report, the cost of a bad hire is 5 times their annual salary!
Hence, establish your recruitment process and stick to it!
Here’s the recruitment process that I used to hire digital marketing candidates for multiple startups and SMEs. You can use it as a base to create your process!