Finding examples of a candidate's work online can be a challenge for many job roles. Content marketing roles don't have that problem: just perform a Google search of a candidate’s name and see what appears.
Often, you’ll find articles from the candidate that can be used to evaluate writing ability and style. If you’re unable to find articles, check LinkedIn to see how the candidates present themselves on their profile pages.
The content they produce about themselves is a proxy for the content they’d create for your brand.
Content marketers should be no strangers to the dynamics of the hiring process: the first step is to gain the attention of their target audience, then they must win the brand favorability battle (e.g., for their personal brand).
I reached out to two marketing leaders to find out how they evaluate content marketing candidates.
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Stage 1: Getting Noticed During the Application Process
For content marketing roles, Dayna Rothman, VP of marketing at Mesosphere, pays extra attention to the cover letter, resume and writing samples.
Can job candidates write effective email copy or compelling blog posts? The cover letter can be a leading indicator. If a candidate submits a vanilla cover letter, it may reflect a lack of interest in the job. According to Rothman, “When looking at content marketing candidates, cover letters are important. I am looking for creativity and the ability to write persuasively. What won't get you through the door is a canned, boring form letter.”
Next is the resume. Here, Rothman sees a lot of variety, from run-of-the-mill, conventional resumes to creative formats, such as infographics or videos. Give hiring managers a glimpse of your creativity by packaging and presenting your resume in unique ways. “The way a resume is presented says a lot about the candidate and how he or she thinks about layout and design,” said Rothman, who also makes it a point to look for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Finally, don’t wait for the hiring manager to ask for writing samples. According to Rothman, “You are going to be asked for writing samples, so why not include them in your application? I love when a candidate includes links to blogs, ebooks, videos, etc. I also love if a candidate has a portfolio website that I can look through.”
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Stage 2: Interviews
Well done. You demonstrated your creativity by recording a mock podcast episode as your cover letter. You’re now sitting face-to-face with the hiring manager at an on-site interview.
Scott Vaughan, chief growth officer at Integrate, likens the interview to a “show me” session. While the cover letter and resume got the candidate to this point, they can be tossed aside in a moment. Vaughan likes to hone in on the candidate’s style and problem-solving approaches and may ask them to dissect samples of past work. According to Vaughan, “I like to understand how the candidate approaches, communicates and shares content. Also, since content marketing is more than creation, I want to understand distribution strategies and how they share content through multiple, appropriate channels.”
For Mesosphere’s Rothman, it’s important for candidates to voluntarily touch on the content production process. She prefers candidates with a genuine interest in how the content production process works and those who can provide ideas or suggestions.
“I like when candidates dig into what the content process is today — who creates it, what teams are involved, what works, and what doesn't work. Understanding process is such a critical component to success,” said Rothman.
For Vaughan, candidates can score bonus points by proactively reviewing and auditing Integrate’s content, such as web pages or campaign assets. According to Vaughan, “They can then share the audit during the interview process as a way to create dialog — with questions — on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of existing content, what gaps may exist and the thinking behind the content strategy.”
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Stage 3: Measuring Success on the Job
Yes! Your content marketing led to a conversion: you got the job.
Successful content marketers know that landing the job is not the destination, it’s merely the beginning. How can you find success in your new organization?
Vaughan uses qualitative and quantitative measures to evaluate content marketers. “The quantitative metrics can center on content that is attributed to driving inquiries in demand programs or on the website. For qualitative, this can be sales enablement content that change how the team sells and present your solutions in impactful ways in market,” said Vaughan.
If Rothman had to choose a single metric to measure a content marketer’s effectiveness, she’d look at production, or the ability to create content at scale. According to Rothman, “A lot of content marketers get mired in the details and are unable to properly collaborate with other team members to get things out the door. I value the ability to collaborate with multiple teams and get things done.”
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Are You Up to the Challenge?
The bar has been raised for content marketers searching for a job: hiring managers look at emails, cover letters and resumes as a proxy for the content you’d create. So if there’s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: craft your application “assets” like your job depended on it.
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