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Beyond Interviews: Using Your Content Strategy to Hire

Finding the right person for the job is a consistent hurdle for any business. Finding the right person in a newer field such as digital content marketing can be that much harder. You’re not alone; research by the Content Marketing Institute highlights this quandary, citing a 320 percent increase in businesses struggling to find trained content marketing professionals.

In an emerging field, how do you find the right content marketing professional for your business? The good news: If you’re at the stage where you’re looking to hire a content marketer, it means you have a content strategy, and you can use that strategy as a guide in answering this question. And if you don’t have a content strategy, hiring a content marketer is the least of your concerns — you need to find a new CMO.

In an ideal world (not the one you’re in), your content marketing hire would have an interdisciplinary mastery of skills and knowledge. An effective content marketer should:

a) Know how to write, edit and identify quality content

b) Understand basics and some advanced principles of SEO

c) Be able to manage content production and possibly a team of contributors, and

d) Strategically plan content initiatives while using the three previous skills

People with all four of these proficiencies exist, but the chances of you finding and being able to afford them are pretty slim. More likely, the average candidate for content marketing is strong in at least one of these areas. The conversation regarding the “ideal” candidate then becomes more centered around an honest account of the resources you have available and the goals you have for content marketing.

Hiring a new member to your content team is the perfect time to assess the direction and strategy of your content marketing efforts. Your current processes, technologies and goals will help you define the skills and experience a new hire should have to make an impact at your company. To find your ideal hire, break it down into the following steps:

1. Ask: How do you think a new hire would enhance and/or fill the gaps in your content strategy?

2. Use Data to analyze where your company is dropping the ball. Look at KPIs, owned and paid media, existing content and overall content performance.

3. Work with stakeholders in the company to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of your content strategy.

4. Determine which quadrant of your SWOT analysis is most important for you to address with the new employee. You’ll find yourself asking questions like: Is it more important for us to address this weakness or tackle this opportunity? What mix of skills and knowledge will have the greatest impact?

5. Rank which skills are most important and therefore, what you’re looking for in your content marketer hire. If you know your team is strong in their overall  approach to leveraging SEO in the content, you can look for content marketers who are stronger in other areas, such as writing and project management.

6. Write an idyllic job description that matches core skills and desired character traits that support the future of your content strategy. Then, cut until you are only identifying immediate needs.

7. Interview candidates, asking questions that enable the prospective employee to highlight past work and overall know-how. Ask for samples of past projects.

8. Hire for skill, knowledge and culture fit.

When evaluating people for the job, re-evaluate your content strategy to hire the top candidate for your team. Assess the direction and tactics you have at hand and how a new hire can help you get to where you want to go. Any strategy can benefit from scrutiny; use the opportunity of hiring a new content marketer to gain a fresh perspective into your content marketing efforts.

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