The Most Dangerous Candidate You Need to Beware of When Recruiting New Marketing Talent

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Have you ever hired a marketer who seemed perfect during the interview process but was a flop when they actually joined your team? This happens all the time, even to experienced hiring managers and business leaders. Some professionals are better at interviewing than they are at their job, and they’re able to use their charm, professional polish and a favorable spin on their background to fool you into thinking that they’re more qualified than the reality. If you want to maintain a high-performing marketing operation, keep your employee retention rate up, and preserve your team dynamics, you need to learn how to identify and avoid these ROI-killing candidates at all costs.

A Snake in the Grass Resume Pile

If your HR team or marketing recruiter is doing their job right, you should have several candidates lined up for the vacant position you’re trying to fill.

Some of them will likely be obviously poor fits for the job. Perhaps their experience just doesn’t line up, or their personality isn’t a good fit for your workplace culture, or they bomb their interview. For the most part, you don’t really have to worry about candidates like this making their way into your organization. They’re not equipped to do the job, but they’re not dangerous. You should be able to identify and weed them out of your candidate pool with enough scrutiny, and then they won’t be a concern.

What’s far more dangerous to your marketing recruitment is the candidate who is better at getting interviewed and hired than they are at marketing.

I like to call these candidates “Professional Interviewers;” individuals that spend almost as much time looking for their next job and sitting in interviews as they do actually employed. Their resumes say all the right things. Their interview answers are immaculate. They dress and act at the perfect intersection of professional and charismatic that’s appropriate for the role. And they’re totally unqualified for your job.

Far more dangerous to your marketing recruitment is the candidate who is better at getting interviewed and hired than they are at marketing.

Like a sheep in wolves clothing, these highly skilled interviewers can be difficult to distinguish from actual talent. Indeed; they may well give you a much better impression than other candidates who are much more qualified. The typical ways a hiring manager might identify them aren’t reliable, especially if they’re not experienced, strategic marketing recruiters and don’t know what to look for.

That can be costly for your marketing, your business, and your personal reputation. Hiring a mediocre marketer can seriously hamper your productivity, team morale and ROI–especially if they’re in a key leadership position. When they fail and move on to the next job, your organization is stuck with the cost of replacing them with a new hire. And if you’re the one responsible for hiring a dud, it reflects poorly on your intuition and decision making ability. That’s why it’s so important to work with a provider of marketing recruitment management solutions who has enough experience thoroughly vetting talent that they can easily identify the fakes.

Warning Signs of a Professional Interviewer

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The ability to blend in with other candidates and look like a qualified expert is what makes these kinds of individuals so treacherous. However, there are a few red flags you can look out for that are strong indicators you’re dealing with a Professional Interviewer:

Short Tenures

Perhaps the most obvious (assuming their resume is honest) indicator of a career marketing job hunter is their work history. If you see a long series of short stints at a variety of different employers, often for two years or less each, that’s a good sign that your candidate is consistently getting pressured out of their job due to poor performance or is constantly leaving to chase a higher salary. Marketing jobs are, by nature, more uncertain than most others, so it’s not surprising to see one or two short tenures throughout a career. But if you see a consistent pattern of jobs only lasting a year or so, it’s a definite red flag.

Extreme Confidence

It’s expected that a strong, well-prepared candidate will walk into an interview with plenty of confidence and enthusiasm. But even so, interviews are still unfamiliar territory for most of the best genuine candidates. There will typically be a small but detectable level of uncertainty in their demeanor, and their answers will come off as honest but not perfectly polished.

On the other hand, the Professional Interviewer walks into the conference room like they’ve been there dozens of times before–because they have. They always tell you just what you want to hear, as if they’ve encountered your interview questions before. They are charismatic and have done the appropriate research on your business and the job. They seem too good to be true–and they are.

Weak References

The Professional Interviewer is one of the many reasons it’s important do a thorough background check on all of the candidates you’re seriously considering for a marketing job. Professional references and former colleagues can reveal a lot about how someone operates through what they say–and what they don’t say. It will be rare for a reference to directly tell you a professional was a bad worker or a disappointing hire, but you can often tell a lot by how enthusiastic and thorough they are with their responses. Strategic marketing recruiters know how to read between the lines of what a previous employer has to say about a candidate, and that can speak volumes as to their actual character and the value (or lack thereof) they bring to a business.

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