Are You Discouraging Top Talent From Joining Your Team?

Many companies think that recruiting top marketing talent is an easy task. Just write a job description, forward it to human resources, and post the job description online.

Typically, individuals screen incoming profiles based on keywords given to them by senior leadership. However, the screeners lack context to what the keywords really mean. Do we expect someone outside of marketing to understand CRM, CMS, CLV, CAC, UX etc.? At this point, resumes are discarded based on the wrong key words or a lack of the right key words.

Many qualified profiles never get to the hiring executive. Not due to lack of qualifications but rather a lack of understanding about what success in the role looks like.

Available talent does not necessarily equal the best talent

Further, these resumes are from those seeking new positions. They may or may not be currently employed but ‘passive’ candidates, aka those not looking, are not in this batch of profiles. The talent pool that is being considered is, by this process, totally limited to those actively seeking new jobs.

There certainly are talented individuals actively seeking jobs, that’s not the argument here. But you’ve limited your talent pool exponentially by not searching among ALL qualified talent (both active and passive candidates). Let’s face it, internal human resources teams aren’t set up to proactively recruit based on target profiles, target companies, or other requirements. This is a reactive approach based on who responds to the job postings.

Your interview process speaks volumes about your brand

Another common thing we see as executive marketing recruiters is when top marketing talent is intrigued by an opportunity but totally turned off by the process. These are individuals who aren’t necessarily active in the job market, but something catches their eye, so they start the application process.

Is the process you are putting an executive hire through representative of your employment brand?

Recently a candidate told us of company advertising for a Chief Marketing Officer and one of the job requirements including using standard office equipment that included “filing cabinets and fax machines.”

What does it say about your organization when you ask outdated questions?

Anything that goes beyond uploading a resume as a first step has the potential to turn off top talent.

Is Your Recruiting Process Attracting Top Talent?

Some things we have heard corporations ask for on first contact that discourage top qualified candidates include:

  • Requiring references (why would a candidate want to supply references if they don’t have enough information about the job yet?)
  • Personality tests
  • Salary requirements – savvy executive marketers would not answer this question without fully understanding the scope of the job responsibilities
  • Open ended questions such as “why do you feel this job is the best fit for you?” before the candidate has a full understanding of the role
  • Overly focused on the exact marketing tech stack tools you are using. For executives, is it critical that they know the CRM brand you are using or do they need to know how CRM platforms work and how to use technology to engage customers?

There is a time and place for these questions but having a candidate answer these prior to having any in-depth information about the role or opportunity is not the time. While it may seem convenient to get this information upfront, how many quality candidates are you eliminating based on your process?

Ultimately, busy successful executives, those who are really TOP talent, will exit the process at this point and you’ll never see their profile. How many qualified candidates are you missing out on because your process isn’t relevant to the current talent landscape?

As consumers, we expect brands to know us and our preferences. Brands that don’t make it easy for us to engage with them don’t get our business. The same is true in recruiting top level executive marketing talent.

Streamline your recruiting process to attract top marketing talent

Our recommendations for attracting top marketing talent:

  • HR leadership needs to add a consumer-facing filter on all questions and insert themselves into the recruiting process candidate journey. They should ensure that written materials reflect the true culture of the team, organizational vision, and mission in order to attract and not discourage top talent.
  • Streamline the initial application process so that only critical inputs are required from the candidate.
  • Those with deep marketing knowledge need to screen candidate profiles and the first interview should be with the executive hiring manager, allowing for human resources to focus on culture fit in round two.

Outsourcing this entire process flips the approach to a pro-active process. This would allow you to target individuals who possess the specific skillset to dramatically impact your business.

As the leading high end marketing executive search firm, MarketPro has been securing top level talent for more than 26 years. It’s that reputation and track record that results in us being able to engage candidates who aren’t actively looking but could be very attracted to the opportunity your firm presents.


MarketPro Inc. is the leading high-end marketing executive search firm delivering top-performing innovative marketers. As a team of former marketing professionals, we are uniquely qualified to separate “A” players from everyone else. Celebrating our 26th year, we are a certified woman-owned business with headquarters in Atlanta and clients nationwide. Visit us on LinkedIn.

Author: Rob Collins, Principal, MarketPro