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As someone who just kind of fell into digital marketing, I never knew how hard it would be to help find other people like me, and people that shared similar visions and values.

Through the years at SS Digital Media I’ve helped recruit, train, hire and unfortunately sometimes “let go” talent. It’s never easy when it’s time to say goodbye to teammates whether it’s a voluntary or not. Regardless, finding the right people is key to success. So, I wanted to provide some insight into what I’ve learned to look for over the years and hope that I may be able to help others who are looking to grow their teams.

Luckily, if you have some time on your hands, recruiting new talent can be easier if you have time to provide the training. There are so many great intangible skills that can help create the next wave of digital marketers. And hey, this is how we got our start. SS Digital Media created a robust internship program that gave newbies the skills they needed to successfully go into the real world of digital marketing. From this program, we found whenever we had an opportunity, we had a pool of people to recruit from, pretty much already internally.

But let’s say you don’t have as much time to train. Recruiting not from entry-level becomes much more difficult. The one thing we’ve found is that this industry is in high-demand. I’m not saying there’s not a ton of web designers, developers and marketing people out there, but those who understand user experience, marketing, working within a team, and looking to grow and coach others, all the intangibles… that’s a little bit more difficult to find.

I know that each agency has its own style, and ours is 100% fueled by growth, education and team accountability. We are learning and growing everyday in this industry. Complacency is not in our DNA, so teammates that don’t share some of those same values can have a really hard time fitting in. Let me also say that this doesn’t just mean your core skilled workers in the space. It also means your HR people, accountants, business development, and all things operations. The entire team must move together.

So when it comes to hiring, how the heck do you find that in your team members? You have to look at the intangible items. It’s more than just the work they can provide. Here are the things we look for in new candidates:

• Vision – If they never had to work, what would they be doing? What’s their long-term vision for themselves?
• Problem solving capabilities
• What types of things are they doing outside of the work?
• How much are they educating themselves on a day to day basis?
• What has their experience been working in different working environments?
• What’s their passion? Hobbies? Interests?

This is the stuff that will make all the difference in the end. It’s important to look at the potential of a candidate instead of what lies at the surface. Sure, the copywriting skills or PPC experience or design skills might be there, but what motivates them? We find that means taking more and more time to be able to recruit as we grow, because the right people are the “secret sauce” to the success of the entire team. Bad apples are bad for business, no matter how much experience they’ve had or how good their work is. The right people will enjoy what they do, collaborate well as an entire team, and deliver the most impact for partners and team members.

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