Quick Tips for Identifying a Proven Marketing Professional

At Smart Savvy, we’ve interviewed thousands of people and we maintain that no one has the potential to pull the wool over your eyes like a marketer.

When evaluating candidates, we adhere to the 20-60-20 rule. In the workplace, there is generally a top 20%, a middle 60%, and, unfortunately, a bottom 20%. With each interview, we are always looking to identify individuals who fall squarely within the top 20% of their field. Those talented people who truly stand apart.

In the world of marketing, where creativity, strategy, and adaptability are paramount, it’s crucial to pinpoint individuals who not only possess the right skills and experience but also demonstrate a unique spark and a genuine passion for what they do. Our commitment to identifying and connecting with this top-tier talent is what sets Smart Savvy apart, and it’s a testament to our dedication to helping you build the exceptional marketing teams your company deserves.

To find proven marketing professionals, start by looking beyond first impressions and performing a deep dive through their careers. For the bulk of our interviewing, we focus squarely on contribution and results. Look for evidence of growth and professional proof to support claims of greatness. When you spot a pattern of concrete, quantifiable accomplishments, you will know that you are zeroing in on a strong candidate.

Marketing is a field where the rubber meets the road through tangible outcomes. Exceptional candidates can not only talk the talk but walk the walk, consistently delivering results that make a meaningful impact on their organizations. By scrutinizing their track record and seeking out those individuals whose achievements speak volumes, you’re more likely to assemble a marketing dream team that can drive your business forward with confidence.

Midway through our interviews, we reach a section we often refer to as “The Humbling” where we ask two questions:

  1. What have you done that made the most dramatic impact on your employer’s bottom line? How have you done that has increased revenue, streamlined efficiencies, or decreased expenses for your employer(s)?
  2. What have you done throughout your career that helps you to stand apart from other candidates who will be applying for similar roles?

Interviewees inevitably slip into describing character traits that differentiate them from the pack. Although we are keen to learn who people are, at this stage of the interview we must remain focused on their accomplishments. You’d be surprised at how many “marketers” have a difficult time articulating (much less quantifying) their contributions.

While character and personality traits are undoubtedly important, it’s crucial to remember that in the world of marketing, actions speak louder than words. Effective marketers are defined by the impact they’ve made, the campaigns they’ve led to success, the revenue they’ve generated, and the metrics they’ve improved. By staying diligent in our pursuit of quantifiable achievements, we can ensure that the professionals we bring on board are not just talkers but true movers and shakers in the field.

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Here are a few signs that you are dealing with a promising candidate

  • > They have been assigned difficult tasks ahead of their time (and their peers).
  • > They have led successful cross-functional teams.
  • > They have (regularly) presented to company leadership.
  • > They have been progressively promoted (and in some cases, rapidly).
  • > They are clearly identified as the “go-to” and “make it happen” person on their team.
  • > They know where they are headed and can articulate why they have changed jobs.
  • > They have been re-hired by a former manager. (People want them on their team.)
  • > They have re-hired former team members. (People want to be on their team.)

Each interview is an investment. However, the cost of a bad hire is huge. Your credibility as a leader can also be put at risk. That’s why we recommend diving deep into an individual’s tangible accomplishments and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.

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In the fast-paced world of marketing, making the right hiring decisions is not just a matter of finding someone who fits the bill on paper; it’s about identifying professionals who can drive your company’s success and contribute meaningfully to your bottom line. By prioritizing a thorough evaluation of their track record and achievements, you not only mitigate the risks associated with a bad hire but also position your team for continued growth and excellence. The dividends of this investment in talent can be immeasurable in the long run.


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Smart, Savvy + Associates is a recruitment agency that specializes in connecting companies with marketing, communications and creative professionals at all levels, from coordinators to C-suite. Based in Vancouver, B.C., our team of marketers-turned-recruiters have an in-depth understanding of the industry and work diligently to find best-in-class talent for each search. Get started today.