What 20 years of recruiting leaders in the marketing industry has taught me

Dene Gambotto

Recruiting Great Leaders

At iknowho, we know how important it is to hire the best leaders into your marketing teams. Below I've shared some advice from what I've learnt during my years working in the marketing recruitment industry where I've had the pleasure to work with clients to find great marketing leaders for their businesses.

The first and most valuable step of any recruitment process is to develop a solid brief – starting with the ‘who’ you are looking for.  What skills, background and style will candidates have?  Then work to develop the ‘how’ you are going to recruit them… as not all searches are alike. 

When recruiting leaders into your business the ‘how’ is crucial!  How will you search and attract this talent – what are they looking for in their next role?  

Then how will you screen them?  It’s this part of the process that I love the most… it’s the getting to know someone to ensure that the ‘fit’ is right.  I often say to hiring managers… we both know that candidate X can do the role BUT is it the right move for them?  Will it engage them, are the company values aligned with their personal values?  

What I know works when hiring leaders into a business

Hire slowly

If you’re looking to recruit a leader within your business take your time to get to know the person.  Meet them in multiple environments and involve your peers in the process.

In a talk I recently attended Simon Sinek likened it to inviting a new member to your family…. he suggested to take the time to share a meal.  Do something social together so that you can get to know them as a human being.  Everyone will put on their ‘best’ in a workplace interview scenario… but you want to get to know who they really are. 

This will allow you to gain an insight into their personal values.  Are their values aligned to yours and that of the organisation?  If not, then do not proceed.  Whilst they may have the right CV or skills – if they are not aligned to your values it will not work out in the long term.

Always look for EQ and EI over IQ

I know it makes sense but it’s easy to be swayed by a brilliant mind!  We all know that truly great leaders have high EQ and EI… and we need to look for this during the interview process.  EQ relates to how well they can build rapport and trust, as well as how well they understand people.  

Pay attention to how the candidate treats people ‘who do not matter’ in the interview process such as receptionist or those support staff who manage the process. During the interview look for their ability to listen instead of waiting to speak.

Don't just ask the generic interview questions!

And some of my favourite interview questions from some rather clever people;

- “I hate surprises… tell me about something could happen so I’m not surprised…” Simon Sinek

- “Who is on your team?  Tell me about them…” Jim Ayres, Amway.  It may seem odd, but if you’re a leader and you know [the answers], it’s a good indicator that you have emotional intelligence.

- “What didn't you get a chance to include on your résumé?” Richard Branson, Virgin Group.  This will help you to get to know them, what makes them tick and who they are outside of work.

For more advice on how to recruit at all levels of your business, or if you are looking for help to find top talent, feel free to reach out to me anytime for a confidential chat dene@iknowho.com.au

Are you looking for a new agency or client-side marketing role? Check out our jobs page to see our available roles.