Your team will only be as good as the quality of candidates you are capable of attracting.

The better the talent you can attract the better your team.

In this piece, I will try to give you important advice on how to source the best candidates.

We will explore the 2 ways you can source candidates: the outbound way and the inbound way. In other words, the active hunting way and the passive fishing way (not so passive though).

This article is most relevant, of course, if you are doing most of the recruitment yourself without an agency.

By the way, a quick note about working with agencies.

I found them very useful if you have an urgent hire, the cash to pay for it, and you are combining the agency with your own channels as well.

Enough about agencies.

Let's explore sourcing tactics together!

Hiring Marketers Through Outbound Channels

Advice #1: How To Target The Best Candidates

Outbound sourcing means that you are outreaching to potential candidates and asking them for a meeting.

The great thing about this is that you have total control over who you will be talking to. You can be very selective.

The question now is who should you target?

My advice is to start by targeting the marketers who are already successful in your industry.

What I mean here are select candidates already familiar with your audience and who already have shown a track record working with that audience.

Yes, that could mean poaching someone from the competition but not necessarily.

Advice #2: Take Your Time & Focus On Leadership Roles

If this is an urgent hire, outbound sourcing is probably not your best option.

You are targeting people who are not necessarily looking for a job right now and it is very time-consuming to be doing outbound in general.

So if you do outbound take your time.

This is why this approach is best suited for leadership roles. You will invest time in this so make it worthwhile by recruiting someone who would be hard to touch with an inbound campaign and expensive to hire with an agency.

This is why you should also focus on building a relationship first with these candidates.

If they don't join your team now they could join it later.

So invest in the relationship before anything else and don't rush it.

Advice #3: How you should invite candidates to an interview.

First of all, you should not invite outbound candidates to an interview. :)

Remember they are not looking for a job.

You are the one coming to them.

So asking them for an interview could come off as presumptuous.

Instead, start by praising them for their achievements. And try to do it sincerely by actually looking at their career path.

Once you have their attention, ask for a meeting.

You could frame this as a casual meeting to explore potential collaboration or exchanging best practices.

Having a connection in common here can really help accelerate the meeting setup.

Asking for the meeting can be done by email or LinkedIn. It doesn't matter as long as they do see the invite.

Once you are in the meeting try mentioning the opening and seeing if this sparks any interest.

If it does then you can move on to the next step.

If it doesn't you can always ask if they would know someone who would be a good fit.

And in any case, you've won a new connection with a like-minded professional and that's great. :)

Hiring Marketers Through Inbound Channels

Advice #1: Your success is your employer branding

Good marketers tend to want to work for successful companies.

Their skills would probably be needed more in less successful companies but this is not how it works.

So the more successful your marketing efforts the more/better talent you'll attract.

Why does it work this way? I don't know. Maybe, good marketers want to become better so they want to learn from the best and be able to reproduce that success later.

In other words, show that you are successful as a company.

If you have good results with a project make a case study out of it and publish it on your personal LinkedIn for example.

It's not about being the most successful it's about showing what you are capable of doing.

Advice #2: The Job Posting is The Gateway - Invest In It.  

Too many times have I seen job postings botched.

Job postings that looked like they were written at the last minute; even worse, that looked like they were copy-pasted from an older posting or another company.

How do you expect good candidates to react to a poorly written job post?

First of all, if possible have the marketing team write the posting, not the HR nor someone who doesn't know anything about marketing.

It's important that the ad is not a cold list of "skills" that doesn't spark any flame within the candidates.

Your job posting needs to be warm, fun. Show your true colors. This is how you differentiate your postings from all the others.

And it works (from experience) a posting with a few jokes, well-written, punchy, will work much better.

Once the posting is done with, you should advertise it everywhere possible (and free).

Start with your own channels: blog, social media, email list, website...

Then move to all the free platforms where you can just post your ad: LinkedIn Jobs, Job Board Websites, Facebook Groups, etc...

If possible have a link on the ad that sends to a landing page where you talk more about your team, your work environment with pictures and videos.

Advice #3: Screening Process - What To Pay Attention To.

Once you start receiving applications, you will spend a lot of time reviewing them. So it's important to have a screening process that is rock-solid.

From experience, in an inbound process, less than 10% of the applications will be worth going to the next step.

You need to thank the remaining 90% who applied.

You should do this fast, it's more respectful for the candidate.

Now how do you identify those 10%?

First of all, if you have a lot of candidates, divide the screening work with a teammate.

And before doing that, define a set of clear criteria you will both be screening for.

It could be:

  • Industry experience
  • # of years of experience
  • Leadership experience

Focus purely on the experience here do not try to evaluate their skills yet at this stage.

Once you have filtered your first list this way it is time to move on to the phone screening. Keep it short (usually 30 minutes).

You can use that time to confirm a few things, ask questions, have a first impression.

That's all you can do.

From experience, you will keep from 1/3 to 2/3 of the candidates after this stage.  

Once you have finished the screening process, you can move to the interviews or a case study.

This is why we built a Compilation of Interview Questions & Case Studies to Hire Marketers.

You can download it here.