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How to Hire a Marketing Person Part 2 – Interviews Begin

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Finding a great marketing person is difficult and a key responsibility for a hiring manager.    A previous post was on what to do before the interviews begin while this post will describe the process to hire a great marketing person, once the interviews begin.

hiringpeople

Here is a typical timeline for hiring a new marketing person once top candidates have been selected:

  • Hold phone call interviews (1 week)
  • Select top candidates (up to 5) (1 day)
  • Set up face to face interviews (1 week)
  • Hold face to face interviews (1 week)
  • Make determination (1 day)
  • Make offer and send paperwork (3 days)
  • Possible new employee gives notice to previous company (2 weeks)
  • Start date of new employee and onboarding begins

Here is a suggested process to find a great marketing individual when interviews begin:

  1. Set up the phone interviews with the selected candidates.  This is done by the hiring manager who will rank the candidates against each other.    Suggest about 30 minutes for each phone interview.  But could last up to an hour so allocate an hour time slot.
  2. The interviewer should prepare a pitch about the position and the company that will start off the call.
  3. The interviewer should look up the candidate on LinkedIn.    Especially their connections to see if you know anyone in common.  Look at how complete their profile is.  A marketing person should know how to promote themselves and have a complete profile, that is written well.  Look at the groups that they are a member of.
  4. The interviewer will need to come up with a list of questions to ask each candidate (some will be the the same for all candidates while other questions will be specific to the candidate).  Here are a few items to consider when creating questions:
    • A great marketing person needs to be an excellent writer.  Ask them questions about their writing capability.
    • A great marketing person is organized.  One of your questions you ask them is to find out how they stay organized.
    • A great marketing person needs to be a good project manager.  Ask them questions on the projects they have managed and how they managed them.
  5. Hold the phone call interviews.  Take good notes on the candidates.  If it is obvious that the candidate is not a fit during the call, be considerate but cut the call short as soon as possible.
  6. Create the blank feedback form for the position to be filled out by the panelists.
  7. Create a written exercise for the candidates.  A great marketing person needs to be an excellent writer so create an exercise that job candidates must complete before the interview.  Keep it simple, maybe an email response to a situation or website content on a particular subject.  Look for the organization and grammar in the writing examples.
  8. If the position entails public speaking then determine a short presentation that the candidates can do during their interview.
  9. Select the face to face panel members who should include the hiring manager and peers in the same department, as well as others outside the department that would interface with this position.
  10. Select the candidates (up to 5) to continue on and set up the face to face interviews.  Send the written exercise to the candidates.  If speaking is part of the job, then have each candidate do a short presentation on something at the face to face interview. Notify them in advance on what is expected of them.  Notify the other candidates that were not selected and that they will no longer be considered for the position.
  11. Communicate to interview panel.  Send candidate’s resume, written exercise by candidate and blank feedback form in the interview meeting request.  Ask the panelists to be prepared with questions for the candidate.
  12. Check references of the candidates (either before interviews or right after interviews)
  13. Hold face to face interviews and have interviewers fill out feedback form.  During the interviews you are looking for expertise, energy, stamina, culture fit, personality and getting along with all members of the team (not just the hiring manager).  You probably want someone that has a specialty but you are looking for a marketing generalist as well.  And someone that can handle change and pressure.  Do a group session first with each candidate and then have them do individual sessions with each of the hiring panelists.
  14. Have a meeting with all the panelists and discuss the candidates.  This meeting should occur as soon as possible after the final interview.
  15. Make determination and send offer.  If two candidates are too close to make a definite decision then discuss other ways to decide (an interview with the President of the company, a personality test, additional reference checking, an additional written exercise, etc.).   Or if no good candidate, repeat cycle.  Notify the candidates not selected once an offer has been accepted.

Hiring is one of the most critical responsibilities of a manager.  It is not easy.  It takes time and energy.  And a bad hire is stressful for a manager and can be disastrous for an organization.  Be organized and do what is necessary to hire a great marketing person.  Also, if you haven’t done so already check out the post on what to do before the interviews begin.  Please let me know your thoughts on hiring.

Photo Credit: stocksnap.io (141)

How to Hire a Marketing Person Part 1 – Before Interviews

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

I wrote a post on onboarding a new marketing person, but realized that I haven’t posted about how to find that great new marketing person.  Finding a great person is difficult and a key responsibility for a hiring manager.  You want the hiring process (the paperwork, the job description, interviews, etc.) to be done as efficiently and accurately as possible.  This post will focus on what to do before the interviews start.

hiringpeople

Follow this process when hiring someone for your marketing team:

  1. Write up new hire request and get approval from the necessary individuals. This includes figuring out salary range and adding this cost to the budget (including the overhead).
  2. Create the hiring plan including the time line for the hiring.  Share the plan with others in the company.  The hiring process could be 10 weeks or longer from approval to new employee start.  Make sure you take consideration of company events, trade shows, vacations and holidays when creating the time line.  The time line could be something like this:
    • Get approval and create plan
    • Do the posting of the job opening to the job boards & update website (1 day)
    • Gather resumes (2 weeks)
    • Review resumes (1 week)
    • Select top candidates (up to 15) (1 day)
    • Set up phone call interviews (1 week)
    • Hold phone call interviews (1 week)
    • Select top candidates (up to 5) (1 day)
    • Set up face to face interviews (1 week)
    • Hold face to face interviews (1 week)
    • Make determination (1 day)
    • Make offer and send paperwork (3 days)
    • Possible new employee gives notice to previous company (2 weeks)
    • Start date of new employee and onboarding start
  3. Finalize the job description.   Take your time on this important task for attracting great candidates.  Watch out for corporate-speak or terminology that is only known by those in your organization or a specific industry.  Watch out for acronyms.  Candidates might get confused if they don’t understand the terminology and therefore might not apply for the position.  Look at the description from the eyes of a job candidate.  Multiple folks should review the job description before posting.  A job description contains 4 parts: title, responsibilities, requirements and company information/benefits.
    • Make sure the job title clearly states what the job is all about.  Title is the 1st thing that attracts a candidate to a job opening.
    • Determine the job responsibilities for the position.
    • Determine the skill requirements for the position.  Mark which skills are necessary and which ones are added bonus.  Include what technologies they need to know.  Mention the level of education and experience you require for the role.
    • Firm up company information and benefits such as if relocation would be paid for.  Benefits should be beneficial to all genders, races and ages.
  4. Look at your job description before you post, answer the following questions and make adjustments:
    • Will the job description turn off qualified job candidates?
    • Are there too many skills required listed and are they too stringent?
    • Is there any  company specific terminology that will confuse job candidates?
    • Are the mentioned benefits unspectacular?
  5. If new position, update your organization chart.  Be clear on who the position reports to and who reports to the new hire.
  6. Determine where to find your next employee.  Consider posting on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed and ZipRecruiter sites.  Determine if you want to use outside recruiters or not.  If you have an internal recruiter, discuss with them the hiring plan.
  7. Post on the selected job boards and contact the selected recruiters.  Put the job description on the organization’s website. Make sure your career page on your website is accurate, interesting and showing your organization’s culture.  Send out an internal announcements to staff about the opening.
  8. Determine resume submission close date.  Depends on how many resumes you have received.  When you get around 100 resumes you should consider closing down the resume submissions.  Update the job boards by removing the position.
  9. Get resumes into one place.  I suggest numbering the resumes and putting them into a spreadsheet to keep organized.  You need to select the reviewers.  Have two individuals review the resumes.  Make sure the reviewers know the due date for review completion.
  10. Review resumes and select top candidates (up to 15) for phone interviews.  I would score each candidate on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high.  Select the top ones by combining the scores but give each of the reviewers 1 to 2 candidates that they can select for the phone interview no matter what the other person thought of them.  Notify the candidates that were not selected.  And then notify the selected ones and schedule the interview call.

Feel free to read the second part of this hiring series on hiring process once the interviews start.  Hiring is one of the most critical responsibilities of a manager.  It is not easy.  It takes time and energy.  A bad hire can be stressful for a manager and possibly disastrous for an organization.  Be organized and do what is necessary to hire a great marketing person.  Please let me know your thoughts on hiring.

Photo Credit: stocksnap.io (139)

 

10 Thoughts for a New Product Manager

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

A photo by Léa Dubedout. unsplash.com/photos/N6STB5KbRUU

A Product Manager is responsible for the overall success of the product, driving the product strategy and managing the product release launches.

A product manager at one company is different from a product manager at another company.  Are they a Product Manager or a Product Marketing Manager?  Is the Product Manager also the Product Owner?  Is the company doing agile development? Are they part of the Marketing Team or they part of the Engineering Team.  Or neither?  It can be overwhelming.

I’ve been a product manager at a few companies and wanted to share some thoughts of wisdom to new Product Managers.  Here I go:

  1.  Communication is key to being successful.  Play it safe by over communicating. Over document.  Take notes at meetings and include many folks on the emails about the meeting.  You can’t keep it all in your head.  You don’t want an upset someone to come up to you after a launch and tell you that they should have been notified. Make sure that it is clear on who does what in the company about the product you are managing.
  2. The product is being built for the client’s happiness.  Keep that in mind always.  It is not for your delight, the programmer’s ego or the investors pocketbook.  When you make a change to the product, think about how it will affect clients.  Think like the end user.  Ask them for their opinion.  Go out and talk to them.  Find out what makes them happy.  Act as the voice of the customer in your company.
  3. Develop a great relationship with others in the company (quality assurance, tech publications, developers, sales, support, pre-sales support, etc.) that do affect or can affect the product.  Be friends with everyone.  Help them when they need real help (but see thought #5).  You never know when you will need a favor from them.  Understand your audience.  Don’t be too techy with members of the Sales Team.  And the engineers want to be involved.  Including the look and marketing of the product.
  4. Control the terminology.  Don’t let others change the product terminology.  Sometimes others will simplify the wording while others make it to hard to understand.  The Product Manager must be the terminology police and stop others from using incorrect terminology.  If necessary, have a glossary that is accessible explaining the terminology so that everyone is on the same page.
  5. Learn how to say no.  Not everything you will be asked to do makes sense or should be done.  Say no nicely and explain why.  Make sure your boss is in agreement on the no answer.  Not everything said to you needs to be actionable.  Everything has a cost.  Make sure you find out the why for the request before acting on it.
  6. If you have educated everyone that you need to know everything happening with the product, you will be sucked into every meeting including those with customers and presentations to prospects.  Be ready for it.  Don’t complain about it.  And of course this leads to the issue of item #7.
  7. You will need to work long hours.  Since you will need to be in a lot of meetings, you will be receiving a ton of emails that you need to review and reply back.  Communication takes time so you will need to work a lot of hours.  Be efficient and make quick decisions.  Remember to take care of yourself.  Exercise and eat right.  Pace yourself.  Try to be as happy as you can in this 7×24 responsible position.  Work on your work life balance and make sure you go to your family events.  But you will need to sneak time at night and on weekends to stay on top of your job.
  8. Be a good writer.  You will need to communicate with your writing skills whether it be a key messaging document, status emails, web content or a news release.  So the better you write and the faster you write the better.  Block out your most productive time of day to focus on writing.  Try not to get distracted by interruptions such as emails during this productive writing time.  Also remember that to be a good writer you need to be a good reader as well.
  9. Learn from others.  Being a new product manager hopefully means that you have others in the company that has been doing it longer.  Take them out to coffee and pick their brains.  If one is available, attend meetings held by the local Product Manager group.  There is a great deal of information available online.   Pragmatic Marketing has a great deal of resources at: http://pragmaticmarketing.com/.  Always be learning and reading.
  10. You are the glue for the product and the person that makes sure that everything that is necessary for product success is in place.  Don’t be too focused in any one area.  Don’t always hang with the engineers.

Hope that this helps any new Product Managers out there.  You have an important job.  It is not an easy job.  You have a lot of responsibility but little power over others.  You will get good at spinning many plates and communicating with others.  I would love to hear your thoughts for a new Product Manager.