Your Next Digital Marketing Hire Should Have These Traits and Skills

If you are looking for a digital marketing strategist, do you know what skills will matter the most? Digital marketing is a broad category, encompassing content, digital advertising, search, email, and social media. It may be unlikely to find a “unicorn” that can do all these things effectively. But there are digital marketing skills you should focus on that can ensure you find the right match, and that your new hire will be set up for success in his/her new role. Learn which digital marketing skills to look for and what questions to ask.

Digital Marketing Skills – A Fundamental Foundation

A digital marketer isn’t going to be an expert at every concept. However, they do need to have a foundation of knowledge on all the fundamentals. Their experience or education should reflect they have experience with content marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media, paid search, content management systems, analysis, and metrics. You’ll find that the best candidates will be really strong in two or three of these and also have intermediate skills in all the others. Digital marketing positions aren’t a one size fits all. Beware of a candidate that says he/she can do it all, as you might find they’re not very good at anything. This is also a time to reflect on what your hard requirements are. So many times, brands get too focused on if a person has specific experience with a marketing software platform. Platforms can be learned quickly; a drive to deliver exceptional work cannot.

Test their digital marketing skills

  • Define the fundamentals of digital marketing.
  • Ask for examples of how they used at least two of the fundamentals.

Metric Must-Haves

While marketing is a creative field, it’s also an analytical one. You’ll want to find an applicant that has a bit of both. Metrics are the way marketers learn. Campaigns are launched then measured. It’s not just that your new hire should know what click-through-rate is, they should understand what metrics matter. If you want to really learn from the data, your new hire needs to know what to measure and how. For example, in social media, what’s true engagement? Engagement should be in context with total reach. Without context, engagement doesn’t mean anything. Find someone who understands more than just the general venacular of marketing metrics.

Test their digital marketing skills

  • What metrics do you think matter the most in digital marketing?
  • Explain why impressions or CTR mean nothing without context.

Analytical & Creative

If your candidate has a good handle on metrics, they more than likely have the ability to then analyze data and draw conclusions. Data doesn’t mean much unless you derive insights from it, and act on them. On the other side of analytical is creativity. It is possible to find someone with both. A creative mind can act on a vision while the analytical part can determine how to execute it and what success looks like. When you are interviewing possible hires, ask them about how they were able to deliver an end-to-end campaign, which must have both analytical and creative components.

Test their digital marketing skills

  • Describe a time when analytical and creative thinking were required to launch a campaign.

Point of View

If you ask a candidate what their point of view (POV) is on marketing, there’s not right or wrong answer. No answer would be the red flag here. You can ask them about their philosophy on marketing. Maybe they’re all in with content, or believe that concentrating on voice search is best for SEO. Having a POV indicates someone has the ability to think critically. It’s a sign of a desire to learn continuously about all the parts of digital marketing.

Test their digital marketing skills

  • What is your philosophy on marketing? Why?

Proof Points

Talking all day about digital marketing in theory is great. You’re going to need to see proof that demonstrates their expertise. He/she should have a portfolio of work that can be viewed as well as supplying you with concrete examples. Talking in theoretical terms isn’t the same as providing real experiences in digital marketing. The story he/she tells doesn’t have to end with the company’s profits soaring. If a campaign wasn’t a success, a smart applicant would tell it failed and why, some of which was probably outside of their control. This shows an instinct to learn and grow.

Test their digital marketing skills

  • Tell me about a campaign that was successful or unsuccessful and why.

Socially Active

Social media marketing is a major part of digital marketing. It works as a channel to distribute content, highlight products or services, and start conversations with users. That’s why you should check out their social media profiles. In fact, they should have them on their resume. Any clever digital marketer will have an optimized and active social media account. This doesn’t mean they need to have 50,000 followers. It’s not advised to make decisions based on a candidate’s social media profiles, as the lines between personal and professional blend. However, you should pay attention to how often they post, share, or engage on professional topics. If a digital marketer can promote him/herself on social media, how will they promote your brand?

Test their digital marketing skills

  • How active are you on social media?
  • What are the basics of social media marketing?

Healthy Collaboration

Digital marketing isn’t a one person show. It takes a team, all with different strengths, to launch campaigns. If your team is three or 300, there will be collaboration. This is not the same cliched “team player” interview question. Instead take time to discuss how he/she has worked with peers and what the outcomes were. Working well together is a lot of about communication. Try to assess those in your time with him/her. You’ll want someone who is ready to speak up and help, not sit passively and wait for something to happen.

Test their digital marketing skills

  • Share an example of a collaborative project and how it turned out. What were the lessons learned?

Reduce Turnover

By focusing on these digital marketing skills, you can find the right fit, for your company and for the new hire. Because turnover costs money. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), research reveals that replacing workers can reach as high as 50 to 60 percent of each employee’s annual salary, with total costs from turnover ranging from 90 to 100 percent of the annual salary.

Turnover does more than cost you, both directly and indirectly. It also reduces productivity and can cause big gaps in your marketing executions because when someone leaves their activities may be forgotten so blogs don’t get written and social media grows cold. That’s why you want to make the best choice and find someone you think can grow and evolve as the business does.

The Best Fit

Digital marketing skills aren’t exactly hard to come by when you set out to find a new hire. There are many applicants out there that would call him/herself a digital marketer. But saying you’re something and having the knowledge, experience, and portfolio to prove it, is a bit harder. Asking the right questions and looking for the qualities described above will help you in your search and a better fit for both you and the candidate.