I Can Hire you Based on Looking at your iPad – Candidate Attitudes to Marketing

Hiring a Search Marketing Candidate

I was having a conversation with a colleague the other day when I mentioned the old adage “Hire for attitude and train for skill.”

It is something I subscribe to. I would never hire someone with the wrong attitude. Skills can be learned, attitudes influenced but they would take a great deal of effort to change. Rather than over-invest time here, better to find a more suitable candidate.

I reflected on my hiring history and while I am methodical and professional in my judgment of candidates’ experience (lower those accusatory glares HR professionals) there is nothing like having a general chat to test the personal interest level.

They always say you can never be over prepared for an interview and researching the company is a hygiene requirement that is easily, and should be, tested in the interview. “Why are interested in working for us?” “What are your observations on our company?”

However, when you have a general conversation around the job subject area the wheat and chaff soon divide like polar opposites. When hiring anyone who is interested in digital marketing – be that social, content, search, or mobile – their online profile speaks volumes about their personal interest in this area.

So you are interested in becoming our social media manager

  • “Have you signed up to Vines?”
  • “Who are your favorite Tweeters?”
  • “What do you think of Path?”

So you are interested in becoming our search manager

  • “What do you think the impact of Graph search will be?”
  • “What do you search for on your phone?”
  • “What blogs do you follow to read about search developments?”

At its nub, modern marketers need to demonstrate a natural curiosity to learn. I guess I am saying if you do not display any personal interest in the subject, not only are you not the best candidate, but why are you applying for that role?

Would you choose the MBA candidate who has registered a Twitter profile but only tweeted “Test” in 2011 or the fresh faced intern who can talk manically about what they are using and demo Snapchat to you in the interview?

Back to those iPads. Have a look at a few tablets and see how reflective they are of people’s personal interests. Business related or otherwise.

Just think about the time I am saving HR in vetting candidates.

Author Bio

With over 15 years of experience in Sales and Marketing, Ben has worked extensively in local and global marketing roles across different areas of Telecommunications and Financial Services, supporting the agenda of the Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, he was the Global Vice President at Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) and Marketing Director for their UK and Ireland business. Most recently, Ben was Barclaycard’s first Global Digital Director.

You can follow Ben on Twitter @benpadley and read his blog at All opinions expressed in articles are Ben’s own.

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