The advent of digital media has made the task of recruiting for large marketing organizations much more challenging. Marketing execs used to have the luxury of taking weeks or months to lovingly hone a brand mark or new campaign, nowadays, one of the key qualifications we look for is an ability to not only react to a fast-moving, social-media driven news cycle but to capitalize on it.
From old media to Kylie Jenner and Popeye’s Chicken
Old media is being jettisoned for low-key Twitter wars between competing purveyors of fried chicken sandwiches. Celebrities are eschewed for younger “digital native” influencers. To wit: Kylie Jenner makes a million dollars per paid Instagram post, making her not only the most highly paid “influencer” but also a billionaire at the ripe old age of 22.
How corporations are becoming more “digitally literate”
These changes have naturally disrupted the marketing operations of big brands, especially in image-driven industries like beauty, fashion, fast moving consumer goods, food and beverage. To deal with the challenge, AOL even created the executive role of “digital prophet,” filled with much fanfare by the wildly coifed, sneaker-wearing David “Shingy” Shing until late last year.
We also see big beauty brands acquiring small, homespun outfits that have founders who run wildly successful social media campaigns in a bid to break out in a marketplace crowded with legacy brands that are losing their sheen in favor of Instagram curated “spontaneity.”
In this environment, the coin of the realm is authenticity, an ability to interact and create stories for social media that break through and resonate with a fickle audience of young consumers.
On a more quotidian level, marketing organizations need to be able to bring on hires who are digitally literate, creative, and able to learn and adapt. Since there is no traditional route to proficiency in this world, it takes some creativity in looking at hires. Here are the best practices and things to avoid:
Research Candidate’s Social Media Profiles
Take some time to take a critical look at the digital “footprint” your candidate has carved out for him- or herself. Some things to look for:
- They participate: they have populated social media channels, they post interesting content and interact with other users
- Point of view: They present a coherent narrative about themselves and the things they are interested in; they have a unique voice or point of view
- Creativity: they show an understanding of the moment and post images and videos that reflect that knowledge
Craft a smarter job interview
We’ve written previously about how important it is to use the interview strategically. In the case of finding digitally literate hires, as it is with any “nontraditional” path, it’s all the more the case. You need to suss out the candidates flexibility, how they learn, and how trainable they are.
In addition to the strategy we’ve outlined here, questions we normally ask would probe:
- Projects they have worked on that intersect with social/digital media and new technology
- How they keep current, what they read
- How they’d solve problems that are presented by fast-changing news or trends
Think beyond the “digital native”
“Digital native” is a big buzzword in the industry, but it’s important to note that innovative thinkers may come from outside of the ranks of Millennials or Gen Z. Far more important, we find, are candidates who are adaptable, creative and have great instincts. By deploying the strategies above, you will be well positioned to enhance the digital literacy of your marketing organizations with the kind of hires that will set you out from the pack.
Need more help finding digitally literate hires? Contact us.
Edouard Thoumyre is a seasoned executive recruiter with over 17 years of experience in executive search, as the Founder and Managing Partner of ACCUR Recruiting Services. Specializing in the Consumer and Luxury Goods industries, he has a proven track record of placing senior level and C-level executives in family, private equity-backed, and Fortune 500 companies in the beauty, wine & spirits, watch & jewelry, home goods, and tobacco industries, among others. Edouard Thoumyre holds a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris (#1 European Business School, Financial Times rankings) and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Centrale Lille (a top 10 French engineering school). ACCUR Recruiting Services has been recognized as a Forbes Top 100 executive search firm since 2018.
Edouard Thoumyre and his firm, ACCUR Recruiting Services, have been featured in numerous publications such as WWD, Business Insider, Newsweek, CPG Specialist, Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq.com, Marketplace by NPR, Business of Fashion…