Recently, Moz published an article remarking that the future looks bright for inbound marketers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for marketing managers, in general, will increase by 13% between 2012-2022.
Great news, right? Well, not so fast.
Despite the high demand for candidates, it looks like it’s hard to find the necessary talent. The fast pace of emerging marketing tools and strategies has made it hard to keep up.
With each new year, inbound marketers are expected to expand their skill set to include a broad range of new competencies – technical, creative, analytical, and much more.
Before you hire an inbound marketer for your team, take a look at the 15 skills you should be looking out for during the interview process. In the past, it might have been enough to know about content marketing and social media, but a great inbound marketer’s knowledge spans well beyond this.
1. Ability To Conduct Market Research
It’s imperative that the candidate vying for a spot on your marketing team be a stone-cold researcher. Why? Here are just a few examples of the sort of research that are part and parcel of the job:
- Competitive Intelligence: Keeping tabs on the top competitors’ websites, blogs and social.
- Trend Research: Does he or she use tools such as BuzzSumo, Google Trends, and subreddits?
- Monitoring Tools And Platforms: An inbound marketer can’t live without an arsenal of tools – being in the know about new tools on the market for SEO, content, automation and social is vital.
HubSpot’s research shows that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. If you want your inbound marketer to ensure your company’s content appears front and center, you’ll need to hire a tenacious researcher.
2. Basic Graphic Design Skills
It’s no secret that attention-grabbing visuals are effective – whether creating a great image to post to Facebook or a SlideShare for your next blog post.
Not every company has the budget for an in-house graphic designer – and often, in-house graphic designers are strapped for time and resources. Hiring an inbound marketer with even minimal graphic design skills can be an incredible asset.
With a good eye and the confidence to use tools such as Canva, (Photoshop skills are a bonus!) your company will be able to quickly dish out eye-catching visuals.
3. Knack For Anticipating Marketing Trends
Does the candidate pay close enough attention to predict future trends? If signs point to “yes,” you’re on the right track. With issues such as content shock potentially on the horizon, having someone onboard who’s always looking to the next differentiation technique, (including marketing growth hacking strategies) is key.
4. Networking Skills
One of the most effective ways to acquire many of the other skills and much of the know-how mentioned in this list is through networking. Anyone who you hire should already be subscribed to notifications about local, free marketing events from Meetup.com and Eventbrite – and actually be interested in attending them, taking careful notes, and implementing any takeaways on the job.
The benefit of participating in such events isn’t just to gain more knowledge; it’s also to ensure that word spreads about your company’s name and offerings – which extends your brand’s reach.
5. Public Speaking Abilities
On the topic of hiring an outgoing charmer – finding someone who is comfortable with public speaking doesn’t hurt either. Not only does it help when presenting content or plans within your company, but there are also outside opportunities to harness.
Attending events isn’t just for networking; if you hire an inbound marketer who’s a great public speaker, you increase the chances of boosting your company’s exposure by seeking out speaking opportunities at conferences, meetups or even webinars.
6. Educational Aptitude
Building a dynamic team, rich with talent, is what every manager strives for. What’s even better is when your employees cross-train, fostering constant learning opportunities.
Inbound marketing candidates that are comfortable wearing the hat of a teacher will pay rapid dividends – especially if they’re good communicators who can get other marketers on board with new tools and tactics.
7. Quick Reactions
Inbound marketing is extremely dynamic – and that constant gear shift isn’t for everyone. Savvy inbound marketers are constantly following analytics and know when it’s time to stop an under-performing campaign, identify and invest more effort in successful tactics, and move on from tools that just don’t deliver effective results. A decisive person will make a choice (often quickly) and stand by it.
8. Video Management Skills
In 2014, 52% of marketing professionals worldwide named video as the type of content with the best ROI. YouTube, Vimeo and Vine are quickly becoming popular platforms for marketers to publish on.
Look for a candidate who not only knows how to publish on these platforms, but also has basic video editing skills, is familiar with a wealth of different uploading sites, and knows how to promote video content. In other words, he or she needs to know how to harness the power of new content formats such as video to increase engagement and ROI.
9. Fundamental HTML Knowledge
Inbound marketers aren’t expected to be web developers (yet!), but a basic knowledge of HTML can be extremely helpful, particularly when it comes to formatting blog posts on WordPress or other platforms.
If we’re realistic, you probably aren’t going to find someone who is an expert in everything, but chances are the person you hire will need to be able to understand and write a bit of code. Whether it’s embedding a link to that recent video interview with your company’s CEO, or simply managing the formatting of your email newsletter, it’s helpful to know how to do that without calling for backup.
10. Sense Of Humor
Let’s face it. Inbound marketing can be stressful, demanding, and require long hours of work. Between writing blog posts, creating social campaigns, developing email nurture streams, and designing landing pages – it can get a little hectic!
As a result, sourcing a candidate with a sense of humor will help get make tough times a little more pleasant. You don’t want to hire someone who is easily dragged down, especially when you need him or her to be in GSD (Get Stuff Done) mode.
11. Excel Knowledge
Marketing as a whole has become increasingly data-driven. When you consider the landing pages, blogs, social media posts and more that inbound marketers deal with, there’s a lot of data to parse through.
Excel makes it easy to sort and filter massive amounts of data. If your candidate is totally unfamiliar with Excel, you’ll likely encounter a lot of unnecessary friction. Be sure he or she is a pivot table master, so you can get results fast for your next presentation to the CMO.
12. Promotional Flair
Any overachieving inbound marketer knows the importance of building a personal brand. Your ideal candidate should have an all-star LinkedIn profile, (Recommendations and Endorsements included) active Twitter handle, and at least a few guest posts to his or her name in relevant industry publications.
Look for someone who self-promotes in a manner that you’d want for your company – and who’s willing to go the extra mile to make sure your brand is promoted in a similar fashion.
At the same time, it’s important that the candidate manage promotionalism without forcing the issue. It should seem natural. No one trusts a used car salesman!
13. Data Mindedness
This one goes hand in hand with #11. In the past, before everything could be measured, inbound marketers were mostly expected to produce tons of content – but never knew how well it performed. In today’s data-driven world, marketers need to know exactly how to navigate analytics reports – whether it’s blog post views, social media engagement metrics, landing page conversions, etcetera.
14. Evergreen Is Top-Of-Mind
Keeping up with creating well-performing content is a challenge, and hiring a candidate that has a track record of developing evergreen content is a boon. Being current is great, but if all of your content is trendy you may render your entire repository irrelevant.
Thinking beyond the fad of the moment will allow you to reuse and repurpose the same content repeatedly. It’s a matter of efficiency.
15. Cultural Fluency
Inbound marketers often need to work with multiple departments – sales, IT, business development (just to name a few). Whomever you hire needs to be a complete team player, easily get along with a range of personalities, and never be afraid to reach out to others in the organization to brainstorm, get ideas or ask questions.
Even if your candidate possesses all of the other 14 skills on this list, if you don’t feel that he or she is a good fit for your company culture, it’s probably not a good hire.
Now you’re ready to find your next inbound marketer! If only that pesky job description would write itself…