How to Attract and Interview All-Star Talent: Digital Roundtable Recap

When looking for all-star talent, marketers need to slow down, ask the tough questions and hire for personality. CMOs share how they find their next hire...

Here’s a thought from our recent Digital Roundtable moderator and CMO Club member, Yoni Ben-Yehuda, CMO at medCPU: “You should always hire people that are better and smarter than you.”

That takes a little while to sink in, but here at The CMO Club, we tend to agree. Why? Because we know the power of a power team. The CMOs that participated in our Digital Roundtable know it, too.

Finding that all-star talent is easier said than done, though. When looking for the next member of their team, busy marketers need to slow down, ask the tough questions and hire for personality.

Here, some of our top CMOs share how they hire:

How To Attract Great Talent

It’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size fits all for brands and their recruiting process.

Large companies and startups, like Google and Airbnb, may have 1,000s of highly qualified applicants for each position, just from simply announcing an opening. And for these companies, new hires are coming to them to learn a specific job and be associated with that brand name.

For smaller companies with less brand recognition, however, the focus is more on creating a great environment with interesting work for each individual. Our CMOs said they promote a balanced, flexible work environment where employees are encouraged to succeed – and even fail – together.

As a CMO, you have the ability to improve your employer brand. Show your brand’s personality through a blog and social media. Let new hires know that they can make an impact every day. Paint a picture of what it looks like and means to be a part of YOUR team.

Our CMOs said they were always looking for talent, too, regardless of whether or not they are hiring. This allows companies to forge relationships with people who have the right skills for the job.

Then, when there is an opening, you already have a list of qualified applicants who have taken the time to start a conversation with you.

What To Ask In The Interview

Don’t get hung up on resumes and work history – because the best talent isn’t always the right talent. Instead, look for intellectual curiosity, resourcefulness and an ability to handle the many curveballs that come with being a marketer.

How do you screen for that? By asking questions. Here’s some personal favorites our CMOs ask in an interview:

  • Tell me something that you believe in that most people disagree with?
  • Tell me a company’s whose marketing you admire?
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • What do you know about me?
  • Number the Answers: In my next job, I need to _________.
    1. Learn more
    2. Be more challenged
    3. Make more of an impact

CMOs said that it’s not about right or wrong answers, but seeing how that person thinks about marketing, the company and even themselves. At the end of the day, you want someone who will fit into the existing team culture.

Lead By Example

Hiring a dream team of all-stars doesn’t end with “you’re hired.” Retaining talent has a lot to do with you, the CMO.

It’s important to lead your marketing team as a visionary that helps bring to life new ideas and communicates effectively with each team member. Other qualities great CMOs possess include empathy, self-awareness, adaptability, accountability and – yes – transparency.

Our CMOs all agreed that having 100% transparency with your marketing team in terms of strategy, budget, plans and goals is a must. It allows everyone to take ownership and work together as a team, especially in small companies.

Some CMOs even said they are open about commissions with their employees, saying it takes away the need for competition between co-workers.

Whether your company decides to take that leap or not, there’s no denying that communication is key.

When talking to and evaluating your team members, be open. Let them know their contributions matter. Ask them how they think they are doing, and how they think you think they are doing.

This will open the door to a solid relationship and will help you keep your marketing team working toward the same goals.

More insights from your CMO peers can be found within the Solutions Clubhouse. If you would like to join a future Digital Roundtable, please contact Sandra Zoratti (sandra@thecmoclub.com) or Mariah Courtney (mariah@thecmoclub.com).