9 Steps to Hiring a Remote Marketing Leader
CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer Studio will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.Test every headline before you publish. Try Headline Studio »
Managing a company-wide marketing strategy and a fully remote/hybrid team of marketers requires different skills than the one needed for office work. While marketing managers would normally deliver their goals in the office environment, some of them can find it difficult to achieve this as a remote marketing leader.
If you are looking to hire a remote marketing leader for a remote-first or remote-friendly company, you should structure your recruitment process differently compared to a traditional business. To check for the right skills and culture fit, you should look for specific marketing qualities that would come in handy when working and managing a remote or hybrid marketing team.
What are these qualities, and how can you find the right person to manage your marketing from anywhere in the world?
Let’s explore these steps to hiring an effective marketing leader who can deliver on the promises and — at the same time — feel like a fish in water managing a remote or hybrid team of marketing professionals.
Master Your Interview Process
If you’re getting tired of asking the same old interview questions, try to spice up your interviews for hiring a remote marketing leader with some outside-the-box inquiries. This can make your interviews a lot more fun, and you’ll learn a lot more about the personality of your potential hire!
We’ve also included a helpful template that can help you keep track of your interviewee’s responses.
Define Top Qualities of a Marketing Candidate
A previous experience in working and managing teams remotely should be a requirement as your ideal candidate should be familiar with remote work tools, communication, and project management.
Let’s take a look at some of the skills that you can mention in your job description.
1. Being a Doer, Not a Dreamer
While some of your marketing candidates may have a bunch of great ideas and show themselves as great strategists, execution could be their weakness. In a remote environment, there is a higher risk of going off track with tasks. For a marketing manager, this can result in multiple projects not being delivered on time.
Since a marketing manager is the one who is coordinating the work of the whole team, team members who don’t understand their responsibilities and goals can result in roadblocks and total chaos.
To understand how your marketing candidate would deliver on their promises, try to find out their approach to task and team management. Ask your candidates about how they manage their backlog and how they coordinate projects with other team members (e.g. developers, designers, copywriters, and other marketing professionals). Test the best candidates in the trenches during a trial day as well.
Among one of the top qualities of your marketing leader should be responsiveness and quick instincts. A digital marketing expert, Ricky Wang, claims:
When you’re trying to find someone to oversee your marketing and outreach team, the main sign to look for would be the response time of the candidate. You could argue that a potential marketing manager is justified in delaying a reply since they might not end up getting the job, but then you’ve got to think about it this way: would you want a manager that doesn’t try to reach out to prospects simply because he/she doesn’t think they’ll bite? This pretty much falls in line with any other position. A good candidate that’ll walk the talk is one with ‘hustle’.
2. Exceptional Writing Skills
A marketing manager who works remotely and manages a distributed or hybrid team of marketers should be a great communicator. The team will communicate mostly through writing, either on communication tools or cloud documents, so clear and concise writing is mandatory.
Check out this example from Doist. You can compare the two situations — in the first one, a marketing leader is creating a roadblock by hesitating to provide the suggestions on the next steps; in the second case, the next steps are clearly stated, so a team member takes immediate action.
3. Ability to Work Asynchronously
If you work in the same time zones in a hybrid team, things are easy; you can structure work according to a similar time schedule. When working from different parts of the world, your marketing hires need to be familiar and comfortable working asynchronously.
A marketing manager should not expect other team members to respond right away. If you are working with a distributed team, asynchronous work is the only way to collaborate.
Undisrupted and focused work is another positive aspect to asynchronous communication. If your team is scattered all around the globe, make sure your top marketing candidate is willing to stick to asynchronous work. This also applies to situations where your marketing manager is based in a different time zone while the rest of the marketing team works from the office, or vice versa.
4. Delivering on Strategic Objectives
In a remote environment, sticking to the goals and daily tasks is more challenging because of all the distractions. Often, people can feel a lack of motivation when the team isn’t around in the office. One can’t simply approach a colleague at a water cooler or have a coffee together.
For marketing leaders, a lack of face-to-face communication can result in more difficulties at communicating marketing objectives and making sure that the team is executing the marketing strategy effectively. Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant, explains that a talented manager should be clear about their strategic objectives and try to achieve them in a smart way.
For these reasons, you should be looking for someone who is a great communicator and has an intrinsic motivation to stick to the goals without being in the office.
5. Data-Driven Approaches
While this is the quality you would normally expect from any marketing employee, in a remote setting, this trait is especially important. You can’t really control the time your employees are spending on delivering the tasks — actual results are the thing that matters.
Your remote marketing leader should be able to quickly report on progress. They should also be proficient at creating analytics dashboards and check to see if things are on track every day.
6. Proficiency at Remote Work Tools
Make sure your candidates are familiar with the tools that your team has been using. Prepare a list of the tools that you are using on a daily basis and include the information about them in your job description; they can be mentioned under requirements for the job or as nice-to-haves. You can also mention the tools that are widely used for remote communication and project management.
Here are some of the marketing specific tools that you might want to include on your list:
- Communication tools: Slack, Jira, Twist
- Video conferencing tools: Zoom, Clickmeeting
- Work management tools: Notion, Asana, Trello, Coschedule
- Automation tools: Zapier, Integromat, Automate
- Productivity tools: Asana, Trello, ActiveCollab
7. Experience With Managing People Remotely
Planning and executing campaigns is one aspect of a marketer’s role. However, if you are planning to hire someone who would later take over a role of managing other marketing professionals, your marketing manager should have previous experience in mentoring marketers and being an open communicator.
Not every great marketer is a great team leader. Ensure your manager has the leadership qualities needed to effectively move your team forward.
8. A T-Shaped Skill Set
When looking for the first employee in your marketing team who will later lead the whole marketing department, you need a diverse skill set and experience. Your top candidate should be a t-shaped marketer who has some skills and experience in multiple domains and strong skills in one or two other domains.
A t-shaped marketer is a professional who is well-versed in multiple marketing domains such as SEO, analytics, strategy, copywriting, UX design, and more. While knowing quite a lot about most of the marketing areas, a strong point of a t-shaped marketer lies in one or two domains (e.g. PPC ads).
Look for marketers who stand out and always have a drive to achieve more in their professional lives. Their interests should not be limited to local events or conferences. On the contrary, they should prefer to attend international conferences and are often invited as speakers. They should enjoy contributing their knowledge to marketing blogs as experts and building their personal image.
Write a Job Description
Once you have defined who your perfect candidate is, this is the time to prepare a job description and post it on job boards and your personal network.
A job description for a remote marketing manager has its own peculiarities, and it’s different from regular job descriptions.
When preparing a job description for a remote marketing manager you should account for:
- Making “remote” stand out in a job description: Think of how your job title accounts for a remote factor of a marketing position. Include expressions, such as “remote marketing manager” or “home-based position”.
Here are some more words you can consistently mention throughout your job description: work at (or from) home, home office, distributed, work from anywhere, digital nomad lifestyle, flexible working hours.
- Remote communication requirements: Mention what tools your candidate should be able to use, what way you communicate with your team, and how often you are holding remote meetings (i.e. Monday planning, daily standups, or Friday virtual beer).
- Remote work requirements: Include information stating the locations you can hire from, the requirement on the need for overlapping work hours, or occasional travel.
- State “remote” perks: Make sure to include the benefits all hires can use: co-working allowance, home office budget, vacation days, or learning budget.
Make your perks inclusive — no matter where a candidate lives, they should be able to use the perks.
Check out this example of how perks can be presented in a job description.
- Mention equipment: If you are providing the equipment for your hire, make sure to mention it. If you want to be more specific, you can include the information of whether you offer a budget for the employees to purchase the equipment with their own funds, a corporate purchasing card, or if you will ship the equipment to their location.
Mention software and technical requirements, like Internet speed, security measures, or VPN setup. If you expect your employee to have their own licenses or equipment, make sure to write about it as well.
A job offer should include:
- A short company background
- Job requirements (i.e. skills, tools, requirements)
- Benefits (i.e. expected salary, equity if applicable, social care, learning budget, etc.)
- The steps in the recruitment process
- A clear CTA to apply (like email or submitting a cv)
Post on Job Boards and LinkedIn
When posting a job offer on LinkedIn, reach out to a couple colleagues asking to reshare and engage under your original post. Encourage tagging relevant candidates or simply leave some comment to boost social media reach.
Recruiters are also using the portals that are well-known among remote marketers.
Sawaram Suthar, a Director of Operations and Marketing at Acquire, advises to post job offers on the portals that are popular among remote work professionals.
If you are like me, you might have already exhausted the usual suspects: Career Builder, Craigslist, and even Monster for searching for a great marketing manager. Now what? Don’t worry; you can search for a great marketing manager using the mentioned tools below, which are more like inbound marketing:
Mashable Jobs: Ideal for jobs sorted by employer
Job.com: Perfect for jobs and candidates sorted by qualifications
Angellist: Ideal for jobs at startups
LinkedIn Jobs: Perfect for jobs and candidates sorted by industry
Search in Your Network
Get back to your colleagues and ask if they know someone looking for a job position as a marketing manager, and if they could recommend a few people who could be a good fit. You can expect your colleagues and “industry friends” to recommend the people they worked with in the past.
This way, you can get a bunch of candidates who have already been tested in the trenches.
However, it’s also possible that the people you are asking for LinkedIn recommendations won’t be able to offer you any options. Even though they don’t not have someone to recommend to you right away, they will remember your request and probably get back to you — once they come across a good candidate in their network.
Make Your Hiring Process Concise
Your hiring process should not be too long, but, at the same time, check for the most important qualities and skills you are looking for among your candidates. Include a few steps in your recruitment process.
While closing a position for a managing role can take over a month, it should not take more than two weeks for your candidates to go through the recruitment process.
Check for References
When checking for the candidate’s references, don’t be too critical about what the previous co-workers are saying about your candidate — their comments can be exaggerated in either sharing more critical or favorable feedback. There is definitely a human factor to it.
You can still refer to personal opinions to help you in the decision-making process.
When analyzing them, try to understand what people value the most in your candidate and attempt to spot weaknesses. If you have time for a longer due-diligence process, you can consider reaching out to the people that the candidate worked with and ask for their opinions.
Make a Wise Decision
Once you have preselected top candidates who have made it to the end, this is the time for a final decision. Weigh out pros and cons and strengths and weaknesses of all candidates, then reach out with an offer to your top choice.
Make sure you don’t close the doors for the other candidates because your top choice can decline an offer or change their plans. You can also offer the other candidate a similar position, in case you are planning to hire more people to your team in the future.
Natalie Luneva, a SaaS consultant, shows the way on how to test candidates with some trial period.
Regardless of what position you are hiring for, I always tell people who I’d like to hire that I can’t work with them until I work with them. What I mean by it is that you should think about a project that can take 5–20 hours and test how well you work together, responsiveness, attention to the details, how resourceful the candidate is and whether the deadlines will be met. The key here is for you to come up with a project and description that will test what you’d like to know.
For example, you can omit some information that can be easily found in your product documentation and see if your candidate will come to you for help or try to find on their own.
Good Luck on Your Next Hire!
I hope that, with the article, you got a few valuable ideas that will help you structure the recruitment process for the position of a remote marketing manager and find the right candidates.
Now, it’s time to apply these tips in practice when writing a job offer and interviewing your candidates. Good luck with finding an effective remote marketing manager!
February 11, 2021