It can’t be overstated: finding good employees in the digital marketing sector is becoming increasingly more difficult. There is a noticeable and prevalent skills gap between entry level job requirements and entry level candidate’s knowledge and experience. According to Marketing Dive, “Separate research conducted by Fractl and Moz (in which they mined over 75,000 job listings posted on Indeed.com during June 2015) found that marketing skills are in fact in high demand—but hiring managers are struggling to find talent.”
Why is it that digital marketing companies are having trouble-finding employees given the increasing number of fresh college graduates and record unemployment rates?
Joshua Behr, President of Wearable Technology at Maxima Group Ltd., had the following to say on the subject. “It’s certainly true that college and University curriculums have not caught up to the technological landscape in which digital marketers work today. But that’s only half the problem. The other problem is that many digital marketing teams are small to medium-sized and place high emphasis on finding not only the right candidate for the job, but the right candidate for their team. This makes the hiring process more sluggish than in other areas.”
Nevertheless, these high standards are there for good reason, namely avoiding turnover. For example, if you’ve got a marketing manager making 40k a year, it could cost your company $20-30k if there’s turnover. This is why it pays to get hiring decisions done right the first time.
So what kinds of qualities does one of these “golden employees” have?
For the digital marketers we hire here at Groupe8A, I like to break these down into two sets of skills: Humanities and Technologies.
As you might have guessed, Humanities are a lot like what you might have learned in your humanities classes: empathy, curiosity, etc. Technologies are a little bit more nuanced. They’re the day-to-day skills that digital marketers need to stay at the top of their game.
Let’s dive right in and learn a little more about each skill.
- Empathy: Recently, empathy has been sort of renamed “emotional intelligence” by most HR professionals. Basically, an employee with a high level of empathy or emotional intelligence can read emotional cues in your coworkers and clients to better understand them and therefore better work with or for them.
- Culture Fit: This is a big skill for so many businesses right now as companies are becoming less like faceless corporations and more like big personalities. You have to find an employee who values your personal brand ideals and can become a steward for those ideals. An office works best when everyone is on the same page and working toward the same shared goals.
- Curiosity: Companies need curious employees to be bold and to challenge the status quo. We love employees who are interested in how things work, right? It’s great when you can analyze data and tell me why our targeted marketing to a certain age demographic is killing it daily. But we also need employees who want to know why our methods work and then go beyond the data to find the answers.
- Worth Ethic: Although you might be able to teach someone about empathy, squeeze a round peg into your square hole culture, or get someone’s curiosity to bloom on one project or another, changing someone’s work ethic is a whole other cup of tea. Work ethic might be the number one Humanities Skill there is and it’s also the one that can’t be faked no matter how hard someone might try. Some say it can be learned or instilled later in life, but I’m inclined to think it’s ingrained at birth.
- Analytics: Your digital marketing employees should be surveying clients and customers, finding out what they liked, what they didn’t like and how your business can make their experience better. And all this is achieved by—you guessed it—analytics! It goes without saying that any digital marketing employee you hire should be absolutely nuts about numbers or, at the very least, not afraid of getting their hands dirty with percentages and numerators.
- SEO/SEM: After knowing what they’re dealing with, your digital marketers should know how to attack it, and one of the best ways to do this is still good ol’ SEO and SEM. In that same 2015 survey, 70% of digital marketers said they were creating more content than ever. You can bet that they’ve got content creators who can regularly churn out top-notch content.
- Reading, Writing and Editing: You can’t have the aforementioned content without having digital marketing employees who are well versed in reading, writing and editing. That’s right, despite what all of the naysayers are constantly chiming in about, there’s room in the corporate world for English majors after all. Being able to read a glut of information, synthesize it, write it all down and then edit it to be readable is an invaluable skill in the world of digital marketing.
- Sales: Not everyone on your team is going to be a crack salesman and not everyone needs to be. You’re not going to be parading your entire department through the meeting with the client. But, at the very least, good employees should be able to sell themselves, and this will become very apparent in the interview phase. If potential employees can’t sell their own skills and work ethic, they’re going to have a heck of a time selling anything else.
When you go to do the next round of interview for your potential digital marketing employees, consider these two diverse skills sets. A good employee will have a little bit of both, but a great employee will hit all of the right notes.
Alternately, if you’re a potential employee yourself, take a good look at these eight qualities and decide if you’ve got the skills. Getting a job in the fast-paced world of digital marketing will be a lot easier if you do!