Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring in Marketing and Communications
In building a marketing and communications program, as Jim Collins says, it needs to be “First Who, Then What.” It’s vital that I get the right people on the bus and in the right seats.
Fortunately, over the course of my professional career I’ve been able to do just that with teams that came together and made it happen producing significant results and multiple lifelong friendships. I now have another one brewing.
It’s a joy to work with my marketing and communications team. They’re talented, they have winning and differing personalities, they’re producing excellent work, and they’re making a difference at Concordia University Irvine while developing further professionally.
The challenge for us is to sustain the momentum we’re experiencing as we add new talent. Making a mistake in hiring is not an option. Thus, I’m asking myself these five questions while reviewing candidates:
- Do you have talent and are you motivated to get better? There’s absolutely no substitution for talent. We’ll be mediocre without it at each position. But you need both talent and the motivation to keep learning and developing your skill set. For a marketing and communications organization moving forward, there’s no neutral gear. The market continues to evolve. Your talent needs to as well.
- Are you a team player? If you’re talented but not a team player, you may bring us some wins but you’ll miss other collaborative opportunities. As one of our team members said this week–it’s tough for anyone to take credit for an idea on our team because of how collaborative we are in shaping the idea. You need to be able to thrive in that type of creative environment.
- Do you have integrity? Building a team is building a community and a culture. Without trust, there is no community, and the resulting culture doesn’t promote collaboration and teamwork.
- Are you active in social media? In hiring our second communications director, we had three finalists, all with differing but impressive professional backgrounds. But in looking at Lindy Neubauer’s tweets and blog posts, by her style, tone, and content, I could tell that she’d fit on our team and that she clearly understood Social–an important factor since Social is integrated across our team. However, your personal Facebook activity doesn’t really count. I want to see how you’ve been building a brand or your brand as a professional. And while the importance of being active on social media depends on the position you’re seeking, no matter your role on our team, you’ll be participating in our professional dialogue about market and media developments. You need to be current.
- Do you have a healthy sense of humor? I believe God gave us the gift of humor to enjoy life and deal with stress. We all need to laugh sometimes. And think about it, how can you do communications, social media, web design, PR, etc. for a brand without having a good sense of humor? Like creativity, humor uses both sides of the brain. A healthy sense of humor is a good sign.
Building marketing strategies for higher education requires building a sustainable marketing and communications program, which requires a talented team to produce results day in and day out. I’m blessed to have one. I hope the same for you.