June 24, 2018

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Tips and Strategies for Hiring Marketing Professionals

Hiring the right marketing professional can mean the difference between sinking and survival to your business.

Hiring the wrong marketing professional can be worse for your business than hiring NO marketing professional!

Many sales professional résumés say "Sales and Marketing," but in reality they have done only sales and perhaps designed a brochure or two. It’s important for you to understand the difference between sales and marketing:

  • Sales is everything you do to get the prospect to buy your service or product. Sales usually involves tactics and logistics, and involves the prospects actual decision-making process.

  • Marketing is everything you do to find and position the prospects for a sale—to get them to that decision-making point. Marketing is more strategy than tactics.
  • The following tips should help you to determine whether a job seeker is truly a "marketing" professional.

    Resume Pre-qualifying

    In screening résumés for marketing professionals, some things should send up a red flare if you see them:

    1. Short periods of employment. Less than a year at a company can mean nothing in today’s world of "dot-bombs," but seeing several short periods could be cause for concern. Many candidates thrive in the fast-paced world of the start-up, and will accept positions with them again and again in spite of a setback with their previous employer.

    2. Titles that don’t reflect growth. Was the candidate a VP in one period and then Marketing Manager in the next? Many start-up companies use titles that don’t reflect the true responsibilities held by the employee. Or perhaps they found after hiring that the person didn’t have the expertise needed for the job, and so demoted him or her to a lesser job. A candidate that has moved from company to company with the same job title may be jumping ship just to get more money.

    3. Responsibilities that seem more administrative than managerial. Look for more things like target market analysis, ad tracking, results reporting, branding, advertising and public relations experience.
  • Interview Questions

    Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish by hiring a marketing manager is the first step in developing the right interview questions. If you want to brand your company, look for a person who has done this successfully in the past.

    A few questions you might ask:

    • How do you prepare a marketing campaign? (The answer should contain specifics about how they determined the target market, what type of campaign they decided on and why.)

    • How do you determine whether the campaign was successful or not? (How did they measure success? What was the cost per customer lead? How much did sales increase as a result of the campaign?)

    • Tell me about a project that you brought in on time and under budget.

    • What sort of experience do you have in public relations? (PR covers much more than press releases!) •What associations do you belong to related to marketing?

    • If we wanted to add "X" to our product line, give me an outline of how you could best introduce it to the marketplace.

    Since the marketing manager works closely with (or, in some cases, is in charge of) the sales department, his or her leadership qualities will be important as well. Ask the following:

    • What are three effective leadership qualities you think are important? How have you demonstrated these qualities in your past/current position?

    • Describe a leadership situation that you would handle differently if you had it to do over again.

    More suggestions for selecting the right person and staying within the law during the interview can be found at

    Online or Offline Experience

    A candidate with over 10 years experience in traditional marketing could fail miserably at marketing online. While a direct mail campaign could help to deliver visitors to your company Web site, the site must in turn deliver your message effectively to get the sales. Traditional marketing uses seminars, press releases, print advertising, direct response, events and trade shows that might not work for an online marketing campaign.

    If your purpose for hiring a marketing professional is to increase your Internet presence, you need someone with proven success in search engine tactics, click-through advertising, copy writing for the Web, designing for usability (or working with a designer and being able to direct that process), developing affiliations with other complementary Web sites, and ad tracking to measure the success of campaigns online. Ideally you will hire someone with experience in both online and offline marketing.

    Requesting Samples

    Marketing professionals do a lot of designing for their employers; from brochures to Web sites and catalogs to letterhead. They must make sure the identity and image of the company is consistent throughout. Ask candidates to show you any brochures or catalogs they designed. In addition, perhaps they developed a tracking program for sales reporting that they can show you (or describe to you). Were they responsible for launching a Web site? Ask for the URL so that you can see it. What role did they play in the launch? Do they have any samples of sales support material they have created? Did they develop seminars for major clients? Ask to see advertising they created.

    Using these tips and strategies in your search for a marketing professional will help you to make the right hire—the one that could make your business the Coca-Cola of your industry!

    Terri Robinson, President - Robinson & Associates, recruiting company that specializes in sales and marketing professionals. Terri Robinson has been published in Arizona Women's News, Arizona Reporter Online News,interviewed by Recruiting Trends' Newsletter for their Extreme Recruiting column, by SmartMoney Magazine, and by Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Surf to Recruit2Hire or E-mail Terri (

    Copyright © 2001-2013 by Terri Robinson