Marketing is what drives today’s business success; drawing in new customers, bringing old ones back, and fighting off competition. But in order to drive growth, you need exceptional marketing strategy and leadership. Which is what makes utilizing marketing executive search such a smart investment.
Marketing executive search is an incredibly important process for any company that needs to compete or grow. However the process is not easy without the right support. As a business process, marketing executive search is best left to the experts who have access to and know how to communicate properly with the top talent.
Note: This is a comprehensive A-Z guide to marketing executive search, designed to help those unfamiliar with the concept. Experienced users should read our more advanced marketing executive search information.
What is Executive Search?
In the most basic sense, executive search is the identification, recruitment, and hiring of an executive-level business leader. Typically this term is used for only the most senior-level management positions; Vice Presidents, SVPs, EVPs, Presidents and “C-Suite” positions like Chief Executive Officer or Chief Marketing Officer.
This process is much more complex and sophisticated than the hiring process of a lower-level employee. Executives can singlehandedly wield tremendous influence over the success and growth of an organization. That’s something that has only grown over time as the global marketplace has gotten more intricate and executive responsibilities have grown.
Because it’s so important to bring the right leadership and expertise into the organization at the right time, companies are willing to invest more time, capital, and resources to make a good hire. This process has become a formalized discipline exercise with the help of a top executive search firm that has access, reach and determination to get to top talent.
Did you know? Some like to point to Thorndike Deland specifically as the “father of executive search.” Deland served a U.S. soldier in WW2 in Italy. He would go on to graduate from Yale, then begin the first specialized executive search consulting agency with his father in New York. Since then, the executive search industry has grown to a global field drawing revenues of over $12 billion worldwide. Read more on Deland’s life here
A key component of effective executive search is what is commonly called “headhunting.” This term is used to describe instances where a company tries to recruit a quality candidate that is already employed at another organization. Properly recruiting top talent away from a place where they are happily employed is both a science and an art. Top executive search professionals understand how to discretely approach the candidate, get their interest, and draw them away from their current employer.
What makes marketing executive search so valuable to clients is the return on investment from the process. How much more value does an “A” player add to your business over a “B” or “C” player? At this level the difference is millions of dollars per year. This is in contrast to more junior positions where the influence of each individual is more limited.
Internal and Outsourced Executive Search
Executive search can theoretically be executed by the organization desiring the new leader. They may alternatively take the safer route and partner with an marketing executive search consultant or marketing executive search agency.
Some organizations try to recruit and hire executive leaders on their own using internal resources, typically as an extended function of their Human Resources department. A very large business may even have one or more individuals internally who focus exclusively on finding and hiring senior leadership for various business functions. However, this comes with some risks. HR pros typically lack specific vertical expertise (in Finance, Operations, or Marketing, for instance) that makes it hard for them to know what kind of talent is needed. Additionally, the best candidates for a given executive position are often already employed at a competitor; directly approaching and headhunting them from a rival business is a very awkward endeavor.
Alternatively, businesses can enlist the assistance of a third party executive search specialist to find candidates and help choose the new hire. A top marketing executive search firm will have more experience pursuing and engaging top talent. They will have powerful networks of strong candidates and robust talent pipelines that speed the search process. And since they can protect the anonymity of their clients, they have more ability to directly engage great talent at competing enterprises.
What to Look for in an Executive Search Partner
Many organizations rely on a combination of internal and outsourced marketing executive search solutions, depending on the difficulty and sensitivity of the hire, the importance of success, the level of the position and the availability of talent. Based on how quickly the world of marketing and digital in changing, it is critical to have the right partner when bringing in a modern marketing executive.
Video Transcript: If you are going out to look for an executive search partner the top things you need to be looking for are most importantly they need to have expertise in the area that your searching out, right, so if I’m looking for a chief marketing officer does the person that’s going to be calling the talent understand and have marketing expertise? Have they done that in their background or have they been a recruiter all their life who’s a really good recruiter but doesn’t understand marketing because in today’s world as fast as marketing is changing you have to be able to engage the candidate in a meaningful discussion about their career and to do that you have to understand what marketing is today.
One of the things you will see today in top executive search firms and firms that are really good at recruiting the best talent is that the talent that is working for them has been there for a long period of time. If you’ve got recruiters and professionals with in their office that have been there for five plus, seven plus, ten plus years, then you’re talking to a firm that’s completed a lot of searchers and done so in a quality way. If you look and find that most of the people inside the firm have been there 18 months or less what is it you’re really investing in as it relates to your search and how do you know those people have had time to be successful and time to build a track record of success. Within the specific firm that you’re getting ready to engage, longevity is very important.
I think one of the big questions you’ve got to ask is your talking to an executive search professional about this being potentially the right partner for you to work with to find top talent and it really is partnership, right, because when you engage that executive search firm they have to be able to one, provide you with the best talent and “B” engage that talent in a meaningful way that gets them excited about your role, and “c” engage your firm and understand how to get things accomplished inside your organization in a way that your organization can digest that. Interviewing, hiring, isn’t normally on people’s plate so how do I make it so we fit that in in a world where executives have very busy schedules. And so the person who is your executive search partners has to balance all those things and at the end of it they have to balance the negotiation so there really is an art and a science to it and you can pretty much tell when you’re talking to someone on the phone if they understand that and have done that successfully.
Executive Search in Marketing
Executives exist for nearly any business function, from Finance to Operations to Human Resources. However, marketing executive search is particularly challenging and complex due to the rapidly-changing and intricate nature of marketing itself.
Versatility of Marketing Executive Roles
The exact composition of a marketing executive team will vary widely depending on the needs and organizational philosophy of a company. No marketing org chart will look the same.
A large marketing operation, like that of an active Fortune 500 company, will typically be run by a Chief Marketing Officer that directs big-picture strategy and marketing policy. Other titles for a marketing chief include Head of Marketing and Marketing Lead.
Under the CMO there may be several Senior Vice Presidents who will oversee large divisions of the department; including brand, digital, product, and other fields related to marketing.
Example: What It Takes to Be a Strong Digital Leader
Video Transcript: Digital marketing executive search is a very complex topic right now and it’s a very interesting time to be searching for a digital executive because you have to figure out what you need today and what you’re going to need from an organizational perspective to stay ahead of the curve tomorrow and those two things can be different and they are ever changing. So what it takes to be a strong digital leader is someone that has a strong emotional maturity because many times they are leading people in roles and leading people on the team in things that they have never done before and so they have to be willing to learn as they go and so there’s a high sense of intellectual curiosity that they have to have but they also have to be willing to have people on their team who are going to be experts in things that they are not and be able to manage and lead them through that and add value to their careers and help them grow even though they don’t know more than those individuals. And that takes a very special person and that takes a very mature individual. It also takes someone with a high level of intellectual curiosity so they can continue to grow as the organization does and as the world of digital changes.
So at MarketPro, what makes us different from everyone else out there is that we are all marketers by trade and training and so we understand what makes a fit. So we have the digital marketing experts on our team that can screen and vet the talent at a different and higher level. It’s important from a vetting perspective but in the competitive world of digital marketing talent acquisition it’s even more important when we reach out to the candidates and work to engage them in a meaningful conversation on why your opportunity is interesting. They are much more likely to want to have a conversation with us because we understand them and understand their career. In an executive search firm that’s a generalist and doesn’t really understand the world of digital is not going to get that candidates interest.
Under them will be any number of Vice Presidents, Directors and other marketers who are responsible for strategy and execution of specific marketing programs.
There is a huge variety of potential marketing specializations. Some of the most common are:
- Analytics Marketing Executive Search
- B2C Marketing Executive Search
- Brand Marketing Executive Search
- Chief Creative Officer Executive Search
- Commercial Marketing Executive Search
- Demand Generation Marketing Executive Search
- Direct Response Marketing Executive Search
- Event Marketing Executive Search
- Inbound Marketing Executive Search
- Integrated Marketing Executive Search
- Loyalty Marketing Executive Search
- Market Research Executive Search
- Marketing Automation Executive Search
- Marketing Communications Executive Search
- Media Executive Search
- Mobile Marketing Executive Search
- Online Marketing Executive Search
- Outbound Marketing Executive Search
- Personalized Marketing Executive Search
- Public Relations Executive Search
- Product Marketing Executive Search
- Product Management Executive Search
- Relationship Marketing Executive Search
- Shopper Marketing Executive Search
Exclusive Video: How to Hire a Consumer Marketing Executive
Video Transcript: One of the challenges we see our clients facing when it comes to marketing executive search is definition of the role and too often they either don’t either have the resources or more typically don’t have the time or have taken the time to properly identify what they are looking for. And so we get a search and it’s about eighty percent thought through and eighty percent in a lot of ways that you’re looking at business, the old eighty-twenty rule works great, I’ve got eighty percent information let’s move forward. When I’m about to hire a marketing leader for my organization that’s going to transform how we connect with our audience and I need to have that fully vetted and fully baked and thought out before I move forward. And so if you look at one area of that which is just consumer marketing and how do I hire now a consumer marketing executive, it’s a very complicated area. How am I going to reach my audience? How am I going to engage with them? What do I need to do to segment that audience and what channels am I going to use to communicate with them? And all those things need to be thought through before I figure out what type of talent I need to come in and exceed my expectations.
So the difference by using MarketPro and other executive search firms is the fact that we’ve got so many other senior level searches that we work on from Chief Marketing Officers to e-Commerce executives and across the board that when we get a consumer marketing executive search we can help you look for the things that you haven’t seen and we can head off problems in the search ahead of time. So rather than getting to final stage with the last candidates and realizing that oh my gosh we missed something we are going to be able to see those things week one and week two in the search process or maybe before we even start down the path. And we are going to be able to help you identify those potential roadblocks, those potential pitfalls and get out in front of them so they don’t exist anymore.
At organizations with a smaller marketing operation, the highest ranking marketer might be a VP or Director of Marketing. Consider these examples of marketing executive team org charts provided by Hubspot:
Smaller organizations will have smaller marketing org charts with fewer senior leaders. And the structure must be adjusted depending on an organization’s industry, competition, budget size, and other meaningful factors.
Trends in Marketing that Affect Executive Search
There once was a time, many years ago, when marketing typically wasn’t considered important enough to justify executive search resources. In fact, marketing as a distinct business discipline is a relatively novel concept. Many companies didn’t even have a specific marketing department; and those that did largely considered it the “make things pretty” department.
However, in recent decades marketing has become more of a science than an art. As the discipline became more scientific and technology-driven, and its value more apparent, more resources were committed toward marketing tools and talent.
The evolution of modern technology and the digital world in particular utterly transformed the nature of marketing and, by extension, the marketing executive positions.
Instead of blasting out advertising messages and hoping some of them stick, today’s marketers can analyze which channels their customer base followed and target their efforts accordingly.
Brand new media like websites, social networks, on-demand content streaming, and mobile content provided a broad suite of new, highly customizable channels for businesses to connect directly to with consumers.
Sophisticated analytics and tracking systems allow marketers to watch where their money goes, follow customers through the buying cycle, attribute Return on Investment (ROI), and test to improve their results.
Effective modern marketing executives must be able to deftly consider and take advantage of these trends. But as they develop, they become more and more complex. That has made the job of a marketing executive exponentially more complicated, and finding the kind of leader who can keep up with it all is getting more and more difficult.
Marketing executives have an unprecedented ability to demonstrate their value and drive tremendous ROI in today’s world of technology. But because the demands on today’s marketing leaders are so nuanced, it’s also incredibly difficult to consistently perform on a high level. That makes them extremely sought after, but also quite uncommon. So marketing executive search has evolved as a distinct field to help businesses locate the individuals with the right character, experience, and skillset needed to drive growth.
When Do You Need a Marketing Executive Search?
A formal marketing executive search process should be held in any instance an organization is looking to hire a new marketing leader. Marketing today is too important to have it under the guidance of anyone that is not an exceptional marketing executive. The difference between an average marketing executive and a great one might not be apparent at first, but adds up quickly over time.
Video: Top Challenges of a Marketing Executive Search
Video Transcript: As an executive search person who only focuses on placing senior level marketing talent I hear all the time from CMO’s that they have challenges bringing in the right people. And those challenges come from I’m talking to someone internal to my organization whose very smart, very bright but doesn’t understand marketing. I’m talking to an external partner very smart, very bright they just don’t get marketing and that’s why at MarketPro we’ve built our business hiring marketers and turning them into recruiters. So when we bring on talent you know that talent has been properly vetted for what are the latest trends in marketing, the latest changes that have happened with in our industry. Marketing has move so quickly over the past 5 years we’ve been able to stay on top of that because we know marketing and have that foundation and we continually train our team on those differences and those changes. So now you get talent that’s vetted properly for your role, be it a direct response role, a digital role, demand gen role, PR role. Whatever it is you need to bring senior level talent into your organization you’re going to get the right fit because you’ve got the right person doing the vetting. And from there now we are going to take the time to find you the right culture fit, does this person fit with in our organization and understand how to get things done, can they push change at a pace in which the organization can digest it. All those things are very important as we get into the culture of the individual and how that person’s work style fits with the culture of the organization.
An organization should not expect a quality candidate to simply fall in their lap. Executive search processes can identify and recruit talent that otherwise would be unavailable. That leads to a better hire and better marketing productivity.
A marketing executive search should be performed in some capacity even when there’s already a strong candidate within the organization that could be promoted for the job. It’s always wise to see what talent is available and compare options before committing to one candidate.
Active vs Passive Candidates
When an organization is looking to hire a new employee, they have the option to pull from two broad pools of talent: active or passive candidates.
- Active candidates are professionals that are actively seeking work and applying to jobs. They’re browsing job boards, working their network, contacting recruiters and submitting resumes. Perhaps they’re underemployed due to economic or work performance reasons. Or maybe they’re looking to move to a higher-level job with more perks and better pay. Maybe they’re just tired of their current job and looking for a new one, or have recently relocated for personal reasons and need a new position. Whatever the reason, these individuals will typically be very easy to bring onboard, and may be willing to settle for a job that isn’t ideal. However, if the employer needs a very fast hire it’s often easiest to make an offer to active talent.
- Passive candidates include the rest of the workforce; typically professionals that are currently employed and not looking for work. These individuals lack either the motivation or the ability to constantly look for new job opportunities. Perhaps they’re already in a job they love with a good employer, or are too busy to commit any time towards job hunting (or frequently, a combination of both). The pool of passive candidates is much larger than that of their more active counterparts. Frequently, the best talent for a particular job is in this pool, hard at work with some other organization. This is especially common in marketing. However, passive talent is also much harder to recruit. Because these candidates are not looking for work, it’s more difficult to get their attention and draw them away from their current role.
Marketing executive search can involve both active and passive candidates. Sometimes a hiring organization gets lucky and a high-quality active candidate comes along, finds the open job, and applies just when they need it. Much more often, the talent they need is in a passive state professionally. Top marketing executive recruiters know how to identify these top passive candidates, engage them, and get them to consider making a career move.
Confidential Marketing Executive Search
Confidentiality can be a huge priority in executive recruitment. There are many reasons an organization might want to keep a marketing executive search under wraps.
If a business is replacing a current marketing leader with another one, they will often not announce it until a replacement is found. Because executive searches can take weeks or months, businesses don’t want to risk an extended period without the contribution of the person in the leadership role.
There may be also some competitive advantages to a confidential CMO executive search. Competition may see a publicized hiring of a new marketing leader as a sign of weakness. Similarly, visibly hiring a new, innovative, specialized marketing position might tip off others to your business plans.
Video: Confidential Marketing Executive Search Methodology
Video Transcript: So as fast as marketing is changing right now we are seeing a request pop up more and more frequently and it’s a request for confidential marketing executive search. And what we find is that because marketing is moving so quickly certain CMO and C level marketers are not keeping pace with those trends and therefore are getting a call saying hey I’ve got to look for better talent, I’ve got to evolve my marketing department to keep up with my competition how do we keep this search confidential. What do we need to make sure it doesn’t get back to the individual and the role that we are recruiting for their replacement? In the reality no search firm can guarantee that it won’t become public because you could end up calling that individuals cousin but we’ve now been doing this for twenty years and in twenty years we’ve never had a confidential search become public ahead of when it was supposed to. So we’re really comfortable with that track record and we are really comfortable with the process and the methodology that we built in how we serve confidential searches. And the reality is it just makes what is typically a process with lots of hard work a process with a little more hard work because you can’t put the role out there it gets published nowhere it’s public nowhere. So all the information that goes out to the candidates is very guarded, it does not have the company name, it does not have the company information until we are sure that the candidates the right fit and that we are sure they are interested in the role so we have to wait until the last second to share that data. And then once we do we do a non-disclosure process with them to make sure they know they’ve got to keep it confidential as well. So we’ve built this methodology to ensure that you have a safe process and a safe onboarding of a new executive while making sure that other executive can stay and maintain the status quo.
While no recruitment firm can guarantee confidentiality 100% due to the complex nature of the process, a well-practiced confidential marketing executive search firm can remain successful thanks to a careful confidential marketing executive search methodology. No information goes out to the talent until the recruiters are sure that the candidates are the right fit for the role and are interested in the opportunity. Once the search details are presented to the candidates, confidentiality of the search should be protected by a thoroughly planned non-disclosure process.
Marketing Executive Search Business Models
When an organization chooses to partner with a marketing executive search consultant or firm, that third party will charge a fee, usually based as a percentage of the placed talent’s initial salary. There are two primary models for executive search: retained and contingent.
- Retained firms are paid a portion of their fee upfront as a “retainer.” That reserves the executive search for them, making them the exclusive recruiter for this hire and allowing them to commit fully to a search. When an organization needs the best marketing talent available, quickly, the retainer model works better for both parties involved. The client invests a portion of the recruitment fee upfront so retained marketing executive search firm can be reassured that they’re committed to hiring an “A” player. The recruiters can then confidently devote time and resources into understanding the nature of the job and finding quality candidates that are strong matches.
- A contingent recruiter can’t afford to spend too much time devoted entirely to one sensitive job because at any moment it could disappear and all that effort would go to waste. In order to maintain financial stability, they are forced to take on an abundance of searches from as many clients as possible. At a standard contingency firm, each of the marketing recruiters might be juggling 25-30 jobs at any given time. By keeping their eggs divided into a high ratio of baskets, they can save enough to make an omelet even if they drop or lose the majority of them. Contingent recruiters, by definition of how they get paid, must focus on low-hanging jobs and fill them with easy-to-contact candidates. They do not have the time it takes to properly engage with top-tier players who are already happy in their current role. There is simply no way to economically direct source candidates for every search when you perpetually have more than 20 of them at once. The jobs contingent recruiters perceive as difficult or do not understand are put on the back burner and may never get the attention needed for a good placement.
The Marketing Executive Search Process
A marketing executive search can come in many forms, and the exact process that any given organization will take to complete one can vary greatly. Different firms will have different philosophies on the best way to approach an executive hire, and a recruitment workflow can be gated by the resources available to the organization. Additionally, a marketing executive search performed by a specialist will typically be much more sophisticated and elaborate than one completed internally by a business with less experience.
Advanced readers: find MarketPro’s marketing executive search methodology here
However, there are some steps that are near-universal to any formalized marketing executive hire. Most of them will at least roughly resemble this workflow modified from the Association of Executive Search Consultants:
- Determining a need. This is when a business identifies a need for additional leadership and expertise in their marketing department. At this point the organization may choose a marketing executive search as their solution, especially if there’s not an obvious internal source for that guidance. Further consideration should be made to exactly what challenges and “pain points” are preventing growth.
- Candidate specification. At this point the organization determines what kind of professional is needed to fill their needs. They may decide on an initial job title and job description. The organization should also outline the ideal set of skills, experience, personality traits, and culture fit requirements. All this information is subject to change over time, but serves as a starting point for recruiters and hiring managers.
- Choosing the best marketing executive search firm. If the organization is properly committed to making a good hire, then at this point they’ll usually start looking for an experienced marketing executive search partner. They may go with one they’ve worked with before, or research and compare several options before settling on one. Sometimes this step happens later in the process when an organization tries, and fails, to execute the search on their own.
- Search strategy. This stage will include a deeper analysis of the market, outlining key geographic locations or industries they may wish to research for executive talent, and documenting all avenues that will be exploited in order to gain access to the top talent in the marketplace. The research tools that form part of the recruiters’ search strategy will often include their own database, previously conducted market analysis, alternative internet sources such as social networks, and of course, their own network and contacts.
- Name generation and candidate identification. Within the executive search industry, the process of creating an industry/function wide map of talent and long-list of potential candidates is known as ‘name generation’ or ‘talent mapping’. After they have a certain amount of potential executives listed (sometimes 100+), executive search consultants and researchers will begin qualifying the potential targets and identifying whether they are suitable candidates.
- Approach, qualify and interview to create a short list. A series of internal meetings will continue throughout the candidate identification process and the number of potential candidates will be distilled to a slate of top choices. This shortlist is achieved through conversations that discuss the specifics of the executive job, and explore the candidates’ background, competencies and interest in the role. Many firms apply their own specific methods of client qualification at this stage.
- Basic referencing, presentation of short list to the client. Before any candidate is presented to the client, a good marketing executive search firm will make a preliminary review of talent to ensure there’s nothing that would obviously disqualify them. Provided there are no problems (modifications if there are) the shortlist will be presented to the client.
- Narrowing down the candidate list. Following meetings at the previous stage, the organization will work with the search consultants to narrow the candidate shortlist to a handful of potential matches. At this stage a good marketing executive search specialist will begin thorough reference checks, and provide final thoughts on strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.
- Offer and negotiation. After a series of interviews and consideration of external references, the client will select their preferred candidate and the process of salary, and offer negotiation will commence. Often the search consultant will act as a mediator in this process to ensure both parties’ needs are being met.
- Onboarding and integration. Finally the search firm will assist with the integration (onboarding) of the successful candidate into the workplace – the degree of involvement varies depending on the wishes of the client and agreements made earlier in the search process.
How Long Does a Marketing Executive Search Take?
Video Transcript: This is one of the most common questions we get when we are talking to clients, new clients, potential clients, existing clients, “How long should it take me to fill this executive level marketing role?” and as a firm that only does marketing executive search we can tell you that it’s going to take 10 to 12 weeks. For very senior positions, it might take a little bit longer but for most positions that you’re working on 10 to 12 weeks is the right time frame. If you take 6 to 9 months to fill the search, you end up getting a search that lakes momentum and you end up getting a search where the top talent is going start to lack enthusiasm for the role because they feel like it’s taking too long. Reasons why it takes too long could be the search provider is not moving fast enough, could be the search provider has too many searches on one person’s plate or one teams plate. We work in a team recruiting environment here. And the other reasons why it could take too long is that the client isn’t moving fast enough through the interview process. So if you look at a process that’s going to take 10 to 12 weeks, what you’re looking at is about half that time is for your search partner to go out and make sure they are researching all the top talent in the space. You’ve got approximately 75 to 125 candidates that are potentials with in your target. Really going after them and engaging them in a meaningful dialog about why this is the next right step in their career and then breaking that down through a very detailed interview process both functionally and culturally as to why you’ve got 5, 6, 7 top candidates to present to your client and ultimately that’s going to take 5 to 6 weeks. Then you are going to have a process that will take another 5 to 6 weeks that’s getting them through the client interview, working through travel schedules, executive schedules and making sure that you are able to get a candidate an offer letter because we, MarketPro, have already fully done the reference checks and everything else and now it’s 10 to 12 weeks and you’ve got an offer out. And you can go through a full, very detailed process in that time. Anything less, you’re probably shorting the quality of the process. Anything too much longer, there is probably a breakdown in communication either on the search provider side in getting enough talent into the pipeline quickly or on the client side and that they are not able to move through the interview process fast enough.
The length of an entire marketing executive recruitment can vary widely. Factors like the skill and experience of the recruiters assigned to the search, the commitment of the client, the responsiveness of candidates, and even some luck can all play significant roles. Most marketing executive searches end up taking six to nine months and sometimes even more. However, a very talented and specialized marketing executive search firm can average far less.
Evaluating and Interviewing Marketing Executive Candidates
Once a selection of potential candidates has been determined, the marketing executive search agency and their client partner must select which one is the best option for the open role.
There are many things that may be considered when evaluating and comparing candidates, including (but not limited to):
- Skills and talent: Does the candidate possess the abilities that will be needed to succeed in this role on a daily basis?
- Experience: Does the candidate have a strong track record of succeeding in similar situations and overcoming similar challenges to those expected in this position?
- Culture fit: Do the candidate’s personality, priorities, work style, and approach to business match the organization’s operational philosophy, workplace environment, and corporate values?
- Executive presence: Does the candidate have the leadership aptitude needed to lead the organization’s marketing team and strategy, and can they interact and engage peers in a manner appropriate for the level of the role?
In order to evaluate those characteristics, marketing executive recruiters and hiring managers have three primary resources:
The resume is often the first impression recruiters and hiring managers will have of a candidate. A well-made resume or CV will typically have a list of work history, major professional accomplishments, and personal achievements. A marketing executive candidate with an accomplished career may have a resume that is several pages long.
In addition to the resume, marketing executive search specialists and hiring organizations will often reference social media profiles (especially LinkedIn) and work portfolios if any are available.
Once a candidate is deemed initially viable, they will usually be invited for interviews with the organization for further vetting.
A marketing executive position will typically involve several rounds of interviews. The first is often an initial interview via phone or video chat. If it goes well, the candidate may then be invited in for one or more in-person interviews.
Here candidates will be asked questions about their experience, accomplishments, and qualifications. Interview strategies vary by organization and interviewer, but basic preparation almost always involves developing some specific questions for the role and the candidate.
Based off those questions and the candidate’s responses, discussions will evolve and the interviewers will judge their performance.
The interview panel will vary depending on the organization. Initial interviews may be with HR professionals. Later rounds will usually include the hiring manager, the position’s immediate superiors, and peers of the role. Many businesses struggle to assemble an effective marketing executive interview panel of individuals that fully understand marketing. Click here to read more on designing an optimal interview panel.
After the interviews, the members of the interview panel will compare the candidates based on a variety of criteria. The most effective organizations will have a formalized post-interview evaluation process that includes specialized candidate rating forms for easy side-by-side comparison.
Free Download: Customized Marketing Executive Interview Evaluation Form
At various points during the hiring process, an organization may choose to conduct reference and background checks on their candidates.
Professional references may be contacted to get another perspective on a candidate’s work history and performance. They can also be used to confirm the veracity of claims made on a resume or in an interview.
Background checks can be used to confirm the reliability of the candidate and ensure there are no unpleasant surprises when they are taken onboard.
In both cases, checks should be made with careful alignment to hiring regulations and legislation.
Read more on background check regulation compliance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Job Offer and Negotiation
Once the organization has evaluated and compared their marketing executive candidates, they will settle on the best suited for the position and the business. If no candidate is qualified enough, then the process will start over.
The ideal candidate will be offered the job, usually with an offer letter that details the specifics of the role’s responsibilities, title, location and compensation.
If the candidate finds those terms agreeable, he/she can sign the offer letter and accept the job. However, the candidate may want to request a different job title, modifications to their assigned responsibilities, flexibility in their work schedule, or better remuneration.
Compensation negotiation is a particularly sensitive topic that can derail a great hire very late in the recruitment process. Organizations don’t always have a good understanding of modern marketing executive pay standards, and candidates often lack the experience needed to approach the matter appropriately. However, an experienced marketing executive search firm should be able to mediate the discussion.
How a Marketing Executive Candidate Should Approach Salary Negotiation and More
Video Transcript: The question we get from candidates quite a bit is what’s the best way for me to negotiate my salary and some very basic negotiation techniques apply whether you’re negotiating your salary or anything else. The challenge is when I’m negotiation my salary it’s very personal to me and therefore it’s much harder and much more likely to make a mistake then if I’m negotiating for a car or a refrigerator which is much less personal, right, when I get into my salary myself worth and all those things are tied up in that but the answer is very simple actually, in any negotiation the person that first puts forth the number usually loses so you don’t want to be the first person to put forth the number. Now if the employer or potential employer asks you what you were making, what are you making or what did you make at any point in time in your history, share it with them. Be accurate, do not exaggerate it by 10% hoping that you can get a bump from there it is far too easy in this day and age to check and verify exactly what you are making. And most employers do now ask for compensation verification so what you want to do when they ask is what is it you’re looking for this opportunity, what are your salary expectations for your next step, what does a good offer look like for you any of those questions. The answers really simple, I’m only looking for what’s fair based on my experience and background and the challenges of the role and then don’t say a word.
Should I Ask for More Money?
When you’re looking to take your next step, right, and I don’t care if you’re at a manager level looking to go to Director or at an AVP level looking to go to CMO. The reality is you’re going to get up every day and go work in this environment and the most important thing is that you’re excited about doing that. Now most people don’t want to go do that for free so there is an expectation of compensation but even the most well paid job if you don’t really love what your doing is going to get old really quickly. So now as we say make sure that whoever is offered the opportunity expresses that offer first as far as what the next step is then you have the opportunity to go back and if it’s not something that meets your expectation and ask for more, right, so typically what we find is that if you are a local candidate, a candidate that is not going to require relocation the bump you’re going to receive from company A to company B is typically around 10% it might be a little more if you can get a 15% you’re doing great. If they are asking for you to relocate that’s additional complication for you, additional complication for your family, you have to go through a lot of pain to do that and in that case we are seeing more of a 15% increase from where you were to where you’re going to be.
Should I Trust Salary Guides?
So there is a lot of information out on the internet about what salaries should be, right, and what salary guides are or what salary is for this industry or for this organization. And the reality is we have found them to be unreliable and the other reality is it doesn’t matter all that much because the only thing that matters is your career and how to move yourself forward as much as possible and you want to take a step forward both from an experience perspective and a step forward from a compensation perspective every time you make a move. What you don’t want to do is worry about how does that compare to who else is in this role or how does that compare to anything else because you’re coming at it from your unique perspective and as long as your growing that’s the most important part.
What else Should I Negotiate?
Outside of the main factors of compensation, the main factors of compensation, what’s my base salary, what’s my bonus, and what’s my stock or long term incentive if there is any offered with this position. Then you get into the smaller kind of pieces of the puzzle like paid time off, signing bonus things that are important but probably not make or break to you taking a job or not taking a job, right, and certain things you can’t negotiate, you can’t negotiate healthcare, you’re not going to get a better package then the person coming in next to you. You really can’t negotiate for the match on the 401K, that’s set across the organization, it is what it is. The things you can negotiate that are smaller items are paid time off; typically there is some flexibility and some wiggle room on that. If their offering you two weeks, you’re not going to get five but you might get three and most organization have some flexibility for a sign on bonus and really the amount of that sign on bonus varies a lot based on your level in the organization but it’s always okay to ask.
Should I Take a Counteroffer?
The other thing you run across from time to time is we have a candidate get a counteroffer and this is very simple, don’t take it. There was a reason why you were looking to leave in the first place. There was a reason why you chose to go specifically to the employer you accepted an opportunity with and you need to go ahead and follow through on that commitment that you made. Counteroffers are made as a reaction to you leaving and a fear about what’s not getting done because you’re not there. It’s not a proactive step to help you grow your career. It’s not something that they thought was the right thing to do for you until you said you were going to leave. And if you except the counter offer there will always be that question of is this individual looking, are they someone who can stay with this organization and it really negatively impacts your ability to get promoted going forward. The other thing we find and there’s plenty of research out there on this is that well over ninety percent of candidates who accept a counter offer, well over ninety percent of people who accept a counter offer are not with the firm they took the counteroffer from within twelve to eighteen months and that’s because your loyalty is in question and your never looked at the same way again. You’re actually better off leaving the organization and coming back years later, in which case no one will ever question anything then you are staying there through a counteroffer.
For marketing executive positions, compensation is a complex subject. It can include base salary, signing bonus, performance bonuses, paid time off, stock options, relocation, retirement investment, insurance, corporate perks, and more.
The employer and the candidate will discuss and negotiate terms until they can settle on a mutually agreeable offer, at which point the candidate will accept the job. If an agreement can’t be reached, the candidate may back out and seek other options, or the employer may consider offering the job to a different candidate.