What Marketing Needs to Know to Hire Top Talent

August 30, 2018
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Use clearly defined competencies to successfully hire superstar marketing talent.

Buying a bottle of shampoo and taking a cross-country flight are two very different experiences, but the companies delivering products and services in these and other industries share a common desire and need to hire top talent that help grow the business.

Southwest Airlines uses a set of three companywide competencies (a warrior spirit, a servant’s heart and a fun-loving attitude) to guide recruiting across the entire firm. These competencies are nonnegotiable parts of the hiring process — every candidate needs to have them to come on board. The marketing team then uses behavioral interviewing techniques to assess a candidate’s fit with these three competencies.

“Modern marketing organizations necessitate dynamic and talented teams capable of adapting to changing requirements.”

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) uses a set of key competencies created for specific roles to guide hiring and promotion decisions. Their functional competencies describe technical or functional excellence in each of the major job families at J&J. The goal is to align job requirements with recruit and employee abilities across the team and company.

Both J&J and Southwest hire for key competencies that support specific marketing roles and the larger company.

“Marketing leaders should identify competencies specific to the roles for which they are hiring and standardize their assessment approaches,” says Lizzy Foo Kune, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner for Marketers.

Prioritize competency requirements

“Competencies” are a set of characteristics of an individual that are observable, measurable and predictive of superior performance in a given role. They define how people get their jobs done. Although Southwest Airlines’ core competencies are helpful to align the enterprise to a set of shared values and behaviors, the company also documents functional requirements specific to marketing that guide effective recruiting of the right talent. Examples of key marketing competencies are shown below. 

Examples of key marketing competencies: Customer centricity, adaptability, data literacy and creativity.

Follow 4 steps to identify functional competencies specific to marketing:

  1. Discuss the behavioral characteristics of solid and superior performers with your hiring team.
  2. Assess where your team currently excels and where gaps may exist.
  3. Select the top three to six competencies for the role.
  4. Solicit input from a broader group to validate and fine-tune the model.

“Dynamic, agile work competencies required in modern marketing organizations necessitate dynamic and talented teams capable of adapting to changing requirements while supporting a multitude of projects,” says Foo Kune.

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