Hiring Mistakes That Leave You in the Dust: 4 Must-Don’ts

Posted on by Rich Pearson

man-job-hunt-hiring-career-runningCritical hiring mistakes. The website revamp that leads to plummeting conversion rates. The ill-conceived logo redesign. The poorly executed marketing campaign that doesn’t quite hit the mark.

When these situations occur, they can leave companies wondering if they have the tools and talent they need to adapt to constantly changing customer demands.

Building a forward-thinking team with the talent needed to create innovative, cutting-edge campaigns that deliver results is no small feat. Eighty-one percent of marketers expect their roles to evolve in the next three years, according to Adobe’s Digital Roadblock report. Amid mounting customer demands, today’s marketing leaders have important decisions to make about how they build and structure their teams.

Whether restructuring your team or building a team from scratch to meet changing marketing initiatives, here are four hiring mistakes that can hold your business back.

  1. Taking a one-size fits all approach to hiring

When it comes to building and structuring your marketing team, less is not always more. It can be tempting to hire a jack-or-jill of all trades, and while that might suffice for some projects, other projects may require more specialization and technical expertise. It’s important to take into consideration the stage of your company and the requirements needed to move ahead.

An emerging startup might not have the budget allocated to bring in specialists and instead benefit from a marketing generalist who can handle many essential functions such as event planning, social media and content writing. On the other hand, enterprise level companies will benefit from leveraging the heightened talents of specialists. According to CareerBuilder, marketing jobs are expected to grow 21% by 2019, with demand increasing for marketing automation, video production, graphic design, content marketing and A/B testing specialists.

Take content marketing, for example. Many companies are heavily investing in creating content to promote their brands online. While they can leverage a marketing generalist to write some of their content, it often requires a specialist to help ensure the content is maximized across all marketing channels. This growth in demand is reflected in the numbers. Since 2011, the number of job listings on Indeed.com containing “content marketing” or “content strategy” have grown nearly 350%.

  1. Underestimating the need for speed

In today’s constantly changing digital world, time is a luxury marketing teams can no longer afford. To remain effective and meet corporate objectives, marketers must quickly adapt and respond to changing customer needs. Adaptability is crucial. Agile companies grow revenue 37% and generate profits that are 30% higher than non-agile companies, according to MIT research. Agile marketing brings process to the marketing function in a way that maximizes resources, provides focus and promotes productivity. Sixty-three percent of marketing leaders consider agility to be a high priority, yet only 40% rate themselves as agile.

Take a look at your existing team and ask yourself: is your company able to adapt to changing customer demands? Can your team shift priorities to ensure key metrics are hit? Are you leveraging new channels or geographies?  If the answer to these questions is no: it might be time to re-evaluate your team structure. Making the move to agile involves hiring teams that can launch campaigns, test for results and make quick pivots based on those results. Developing small, cross-functional teams with a team leader that has a clear set of goals and objectives will help put you on the path to success.

  1. Limiting your team to local hires

Marketers are under increasing pressure to get more done faster. If you don’t have access to the skills you need to support marketing initiatives, you risk falling behind the competition. However, many companies only consider traditional methods of hiring, limiting themselves to full-time local hires. Failure to look outside of local markets and consider freelance workers limits your ability to access the skills you need to innovate and grow.

With top talent scattered across the globe, the skills required for success may not be found locally. This may explain why 38% of global organizations have reported difficulties in filling vacant positions due to talent shortages, according to a 2015 survey by Manpower Group. Freelancers can help teams scale to meet marketing initiatives by providing access to skills you might not be able to access locally.

  1. Not planning ahead for future needs

When building or restructuring a marketing team, it’s important to keep in mind the goals you wish to set for the future. Often times, marketing teams stay lean waiting until there’s a strong business need that warrants bringing on new team members. By the time this need is determined, it may be too late. The skilled talent you seek may not be available when and where you need them. You could lose a month or more interviewing candidates, and even once you’ve made the hire you have to take into consideration onboarding and ramp-up time. This can stifle your team’s momentum and hamper its ability to innovate.

Is your team looking for designers that can quickly knock out logos or content writers who can help write a series of pieces for a marketing campaign? In these instances, it might not make sense to invest in hiring a marketing agency. The division of labor might be better suited for freelancers. Building a bench of freelance marketing talent allows you to respond to opportunities with more agility, giving you cost-efficient access to needed skills and expertise as marketing demands require.

As you forecast for future needs, it’s important to take into consideration where your marketing team is currently and what’s coming ahead. Whether it’s launching new products or introducing new programs, keeping track of these important milestones will help you anticipate future needs before you actually need them.

As you strategically plan your marketing initiatives for the coming year, now is the time to evaluate the resources your team will need to get there. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial to ensuring strategic goals are met. By building upon the knowledge and skills of your team you can quickly adapt to market demands allowing you to stay ahead if the curve. With the right talent in place, you can set the stage for marketing success in 2016.

Rich Pearson is senior vice president of Upwork.

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