How to hire the best marketing graduates

How to hire the best marketing graduates

Hiring people is difficult, particularly at entry-level. Graduates often come in with similar capabilities, degrees and achievements, making it hard to tell who’s got the most potential and who is going to be the best fit for your team. And the work doesn’t stop once you give them the job, because then, you have to work on keeping them at your company.

As Head of Emerging Talent at Celerity, my job is to develop the next generation of leaders and innovators for our company. I spend a lot of time building teams, creating new processes and providing leadership and mentoring, making recruitment from the ground up a big part of my job. Here are my tips on what to look out for to make sure you hire those A players, and how to keep them once they’re on board.

The interview

One of the skills you want any marketing professional to have from the very beginning is attention to detail. That’s why, even in the initial interview stages, the first thing I look out for is how well they’ve researched our company. Do they know what we do? Do they have a favourite case study? That kind of thing.

I also like to fill assessment days with a mix of fun and practical activities to assess a candidate’s skills when faced with different scenarios. They also make the interview process more engaging, which helps to make candidates want to work for you too.

Successful candidates should then present to a diverse panel about themselves, or a topic that they’re passionate about. This gives them a chance to show off, be more in control and offers several people at your company the opportunity to meet the candidates. It also allows them to really become a part of the process. This also pays off further down the line, once the candidates are in their new role because those involved in the recruitment process become invested in the overall success of the people they helped to hire.

What to look for

At Celerity, the main thing we want to see from candidates is a genuine and thoughtful interest in technology, data and quality. These are particularly important when hiring for marketing positions because we need to see how that interest translates into digital value.

We can generally measure this by asking about their opinion on the latest developments in the industry, and asking about their interest in technology outside of work, too. You could even set some quick exercises to test their affinity for data analysis. We also like to look for problem-solving abilities, so again, we like to give them a task that they need to break down and work through.

Another essential quality for future marketers is their ability to work in a team. If your company does use assessment days for graduate hires, this provides the perfect opportunity to watch them in interaction with others.

Ensuring they’ll be a good cultural fit is also key. Talk to them about the company values to see if they’ve done their research first and foremost. You’ll also naturally pick-up a sense of whether they’d be a good fit at the business as your conversation goes on.

How to keep them

As mentioned, once you’ve hired the right marketing graduate, the next challenge is keeping them. Knowing how to keep them engaged will help their personal development and reduce recruitment overhead too – so it’s worth spending some time thinking about your strategy.

Deborah Lewis

Setting clear goals and targets from the beginning is vital to keep them on track, and helps them to know what your expectations are of them. It also helps to reinforce the context and understanding of their learning. Investing time in training and development will almost certainly pay off in the long-term, especially if you create a system that is robust and repeatable.

Give feedback

It’s also important to give constructive feedback as often as possible – it’s the best way to help people improve. The critical element here is constructive, and it needs to be delivered in the right way. You don’t want to be dampening their spirit but instead helping them to be better at the parts of the job they might already be struggling with. By having regular catch ups about progress this can also spark discussions to help us improve how we do things as a company too.

Having social events is also essential to help people enjoy their job, bond with their peers and create a team. Providing mentors helps in a similar capacity and helps candidates see what their role could look like in years to come. Mentors are also key when it comes to maintaining engagement and confidence levels.

Spending time on your marketing recruitment strategy is never time wasted. Create a robust recruitment process, and your company – and its sales funnel – will thank you for years to come.