When introducing a new member to your content marketing team, you may feel a rush of excitement. New blood, new ideas and new attitudes can completely re-energize your team, your strategy and even you.
But when faced with a stack of all-too-similar looking resumés, all from candidates lured in by the trendy title of “content marketer,” hiring can seem like a challenge — especially when you are tasked with deciding among a crop of equally well-read, well-educated and eager professionals.
A Modern Love Story
This is not that dissimilar from how I felt when I was recently single.
Thanks to online dating, proactive singles can now search for, filter through and target hundreds of potential love interests, based on appearance, income, height, music taste, mutual hate of mayonnaise — you name it. Forget data-driven marketing, it is all about data-driven dating.
But I was unlucky in the world of Internet love. While I was all too familiar with the success stories (both from my own friends, as well as eHarmony’s marketing campaigns dead set on convincing me I may as well give up and become a crazy cat lady), it was not working out. No matter how I searched, or how many keywords I sought according to my defined list of preferences, I would get to date one and it would inevitability end up the same: no chemistry. Date over.
I would often hear a chorus of advice from my well-meaning, but annoying, friends:
“Stop looking and you’ll find the one.”
“Maybe you’re trying too hard.”
“Quit trying to find the perfect fit, you’ll just know when it’s right.”
Turns out my busybody friends were right. I only was able to find love when I stopped looking. Cliché? Sure. But there’s a reason clichés exist — they often ring true.
Finding the Perfect Match
Hiring is not that different.
I am lucky enough to have an absolutely incredible, rock star team, but when I was interviewing, it was sometimes challenging. I would look for a very specific skill set — a very defined type of experience I thought I wanted — and I would come up empty handed. The reality is there is no secret ingredient to hiring, regardless of how many “magic bullet” posts you may read on how to best staff your team. You can drive toward certain skills or hope for a level of experience, but, beyond that, it really comes down to timing, talent and, to a large extent, luck.
So how do you hire the right people? Interview a lot and seek out the right personality traits and chemistry. Here are some of the things that I looked for when making my perfect matches:
Talent over experience. Do not get too caught up in someone’s track record — both dating- and employment-wise. While a resumé is important, potential is, too. A solid writing portfolio can be the differentiator between your just OK and your very best candidates.
A cultural fit. In dating, you want to know if your potential partner will hit it off with your family and friends. This is also relevant in hiring: Will this candidate be the right cultural fit? Will the person fit with the team dynamic? This is often more important than an encyclopedia-length resumé.
Creative and curious drive. Forget the same old dinner and movie dates — you want the person who takes you bungee jumping. Seek out team members who bring new ideas to the table, approach your brand with fresh eyes and are always looking to learn more.
Diverse skill sets. Don't you want a partner who can cook you a gourmet meal and dazzle you with knowledge of a foreign language? While specialists can be great for certain needs, finding someone with other unique, relevant skills beyond content creation — graphic design, SEO, analytics, etc. — can help make your team more comprehensive and flexible.
Big picture thinkers. Looking at the big picture is essential for a successful relationship, both in love and in content. Not only do you want someone who is passionate about content, but also someone who can understand how that content supports larger team and business goals.
Roll with the punches. “Change is a fact of life,” said every marketer ever. Change is inevitable in both business and life; being able to openly accept it and adapt quickly are markers of a successful partner and content marketer.
And not to brag, but lucky me — I already have an awesome team of content marketers bubbling over with these traits.
How did you find the right content marketers to bring on board? Let us know in the comments.