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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.

To find proven marketing professionals, start by looking beyond first impressions and performing a deep dive through their career. 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.

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.

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. 

Peter Reek

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