Guest post by Matt Gill
Matt Gill, is the Managing Partner and a founding member of MICA Consulting Group, a retained recruiting and consulting firm specializing in connecting people in marketing, interactive, creative and advertising disciplines. Matt has been a key participant in the recruiting industry for the past 17 years. He is also a certified Behavioral Interview Trainer.
Marketing teams have been re-orged and RIF’ed - some of them multiple times over the past few years. As the tide rises, slowly but it is rising, companies are approving headcount additions to their marketing teams. Good news. Unfortunately, the hiring managers are hesitant to pull the trigger.
I’ve consulted with a number of CMO’s over the past couple of quarters on how to get the most out of their precious few hires. The conversation usually starts out with the CMO trying to figure out how to get all the skills and capabilities from three hires that are approved when he really needs seven people to get everything done. For example, they may have a position approved with a list of requirements that looks like this:
· 12+ years mobile, Ecommerce experience – (one of my absolute favorites)
· 10+ years in consumer goods marketing with expertise in channel development with major retailers
· Brand planning expertise with products for the baby boomer demographic
· Social and digital media expertise for new product launch in the infant care category with significant experience managing a co- branded product launch
· 5-7 years managing a global PR campaign
· One horn protruding no less than 12” from the middle of the forehead
I know CMOs and marketing folks fancy themselves able to solve difficult problems, but no matter what the impact of the recent economy, it hasn’t changed the rules of common sense. Unfortunately, the apprehension about making the wrong hire and the hope that this person exists is drastically impacting the length of our jobs recovery and why hiring managers will pass over great candidates.
To combat the Unicorn Hunter you have to start early on in the interview process. Work very hard at uncovering what the priorities are for the job. These will vary based on who you ask during the interview process, not only do you have to prioritize for the position but you have to assess the influence of the person you are asking. For example if the CEO ranks “Brand planning expertise with products for the baby boomer demographic” as #1 and the junior team member ranks it as #6 you can estimate where it sits on the overall list. If you make uncovering the “experience priorities” part of your interview process from the very first contact and all of your research you may be able to coach and consult your potential new employer in the direction of your strengths. At the very least it will allow you to self-select out if you don’t fit so you can focus your time in higher potential opportunities.