The hiring process for a new role in any company can be challenging and at times frustrating.
And sometimes, companies can end up hiring the wrong candidates which can lead to loss of time and money.
There is no perfect system but there are proven steps that can make your hiring process as perfect as it can be.
In this article, you will learn the different ways to weed out self-proclaimed “digital marketing managers and experts” who are just faking it from the ones who are actually halfway decent at marketing in your hiring process.
You’ll also learn how to vet a good marketing hire once you find a potential candidate during your hiring process.
Hiring Process: 31 Essential Steps to Vet a Marketing Manager
1. Google them to see how long they’ve been active.
Look for evidence of past successes (and failures). Make sure that they’re not a fly-by-night “guru” who just took a Marketing 101 course and is now a self-proclaimed expert.
2. Find someone who is in the trenches getting traction for companies in the same or a similar vertical as your business.
The best marketers are usually already working for someone else (and bringing them results).
3. Ask people in your network for referrals and recommendations.
And make sure that these recommendations aren’t just, “oh I’ve heard of them before” — make sure that they’ve directly worked with this individual in some capacity.
4. Look for the ones who aren’t posing next to celebrities or influencers at every given opportunity.
One or two photos is okay, but if their entire Facebook photos section is filled with them standing next to supercars and GaryVee, run.
The more they peacock, the less likely they are to actually know what they’re doing.
More than likely, they’ll just outsource it to someone else who does.
5. When interviewing candidates, don’t just look at the results.
Ask them in detail about the process that led to those results. It’s much harder to fake in-depth knowledge of systems and processes.
6. Find out if they have any proof of results for a client or project other than marketing themselves.
It’s easy for digital marketers to generate $10,000 in a fluke launch, then extrapolate that into, “I run a 6-figure company.”
Be wary of people like this.
7. Make sure that you’re hiring someone who specializes in a specific vertical or channel.
If someone claims they can do everything under the sun for every niche imaginable, they’re one of two things. A complete beginner, or a fraud.
8. Ask them for a lot of their time.
The best marketers are usually busy and won’t have a lot of free time to dole out personalized marketing help.
The novices will do whatever it takes to try to get you as a client.
9. Prod them a little with questions that only an expert would be able to answer.
Ask them what they know about your industry.
Find out if they offer any guarantees that sound like complete snake oil.
10. Stalk businesses that are doing well in your vertical and figure out who the marketing puppetmaster is, then reach out.
This is a good way to figure out who the behind-the-scenes A-Players are.
11. Bring them on for a test project.
If they can get you good results with this, or if they’ve already given you massive value for free (in terms of content or during the discovery call), chances are they’ll continue to deliver decent value if you onboard them for a larger project.
12. Throw different problems at them and have them walk through on how they would solve it.
Make sure that they aren’t giving you a single solution to different business problems.
If they say that Facebook Ads is the guaranteed answer to every single one of your marketing problems, they probably aren’t very good.
13. Try to understand more marketing yourself.
The more you understand how marketing work, the more likely you are to determine if the marketing candidate has the skills necessary to complete the task at hand.
14. Stalk them and follow their content over a period of time.
Figure out if they’re genuinely breaking new ground with their content, or if they’re just regurgitating someone else’s content.
15. Ask about how much money they’ve managed in ad spend, as well as total years of experience.
This usually isn’t a very good indicator of skill, but it helps to figure out if their years of experience is congruent with their perceived skill.
16. Question them about their lead scoring process.
17. If they have a personal brand, figure out what they’re doing to grow.
How much traction do they have? How large is their email list? How polished are their social profiles?
How are they differentiating themselves from their own competition? What have they done to grow their own brand?
18. Figure out whether they genuinely care about your company, or just your money.
There are so many fly-by-night marketers out there who are just trying to close you, then outsource the work to another white-label agency.
These people usually care less about you than someone who actually lives and breathes marketing.
19. Check their recommendations and testimonials on LinkedIn.
And see what colleagues and clients have said about them.
If they have zero presence at all on LinkedIn, this is a red flag.
20. Ask them about the mistakes they’ve made in the past and how they managed to fix them.
Snake oil marketers are notoriously good at selling themselves and outlandish claims, but they’ll struggle when they have to dig deeper into their weaknesses and shortcomings.
21. Ask them about their typical marketing stack when it comes to tackling a given growth experiment or campaign.
Then, ask them to walk you through the process at a high-level, step by step.
You should be able to easily spot if they’re legitimately good or just faking it at this point.
22. Read their website copy, check out their social profiles, and get a feel for their general vibe and marketing message.
It may be easy to fake one aspect of their online presence, but as a whole, it’s difficult to be congruent with their entire brand if they’re not a real professional.
Look for signs that they may not be as good as they claim.
23. Listen to what they say.
If they’re continually talking about how they can 10x your revenue or try to convince you that they have 20+ years of marketing experience because they’ve been marketing since the day they were born, they’re usually faking it.
The more they talk about metrics, demographics, and how to reach those people with the right message, the more they probably know about marketing.
24. Give them quick thought experiments and/or quick assignments.
Have them break down another company’s marketing strategy. Have them do brief customer research.
Have them find out how a company’s competitor’s rank. Have them plan out a Facebook Ads campaign at a high-level.
25. Ask them how they personally keep up with digital marketing.
There’s a lot of candidates who may look good on paper but are dated in terms of actual experience.
Find out what blogs they’re reading, what websites they’re browsing, and what conferences they’ve attended.
Make sure they’re up to date on the latest industry innovations.
26. Inquire about what their favorite marketing email newsletter is.
Ask them not just what they read, but why they read it. This will give you a lot of insight into what makes them tick.
27. Learn more about their core competencies.
Inquire about their strongest marketing channel.
When hiring for a high-level marketing position, you need to understand what they think about different channels.
Not only will this tell you how relevant their experience is to your company, but it’ll also help you figure out how they’ll fit in your business.
28. Figure out their strengths and weaknesses by having them fill out a T-shared marketer outline (via Buffer).
Get to know their strengths and weaknesses so that they are in alignment with what your company needs.
29. Ask them what business models they have experience working in.
Make sure that they have relevant experience working with a similar business model, as marketing best practices differ not only from vertical but from the model as well.
30. Look into their sales background, and ask them if they’ve had sales experience.
In the modern age, marketers can’t just be marketers.
You’ll have to work cross-functionally with sales, product, support, and leadership to actually grow a business.
Look for marketers who have at least some experience in sales.
31. Find out how they would spend a set marketing budget.
Now, someone in a lower-level position might not have the best answer, but it’s still a good idea to get a sense of their thought processes.
A higher-level candidate should be able to give a detailed breakdown of what they would do.
And that concludes this list.
Award-winning growth marketing consultant and digital strategist with over half a decade of experience building brands, growing communities, and directing marketing strategy for hundreds of venture-backed startups, creatives, and companies worldwide. I help tech and ecom companies scale with growth strategy, copywriting, and CRO.