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Hiring Marketers And The Perils of Poor Interviews

By Simon on

In the world of creative and marketing hiring, success hinges not only on crafting compelling ads and eye-catching job descriptions but also on the art of interviewing. If you find yourself struggling to hire the right talent, it might be time to reevaluate your interviewing approach and, more importantly, who’s in the interviewer’s seat.

Despite the efforts put into creating appealing job ads, and unfortunately, most lack an edge, a key interviewer’s demeanour can significantly impact the hiring process. A well-curated ad and an aesthetically pleasing JD might catch attention, but if the interviewer lacks the right spirit or is unable to connect on a human level, the entire process will be akin to the wheel’s spinning, but the hamster is long gone. That might be a cold comfort, but it’s true.     

Throughout the years, I’ve seen countless instances of talent being overlooked, often due to a failure to see beyond the CV or asking the wrong questions. Poor hiring decisions, at times, stem from a lack of genuine interest and, more critically, poor listening skills. By neglecting to truly listen, you risk missing out on the nuanced details that truly define a candidate’s character and personality, such as body language, tone, and those subtle skills that can be transformative in a role. This is stating the obvious, but it’s imperative to get a real handle on someone. It will also make you much better at overcoming those niggling doubts.    

An interview, ideally, should significantly transcend the traditional and old hat Q&A format and become a genuine, open, and honest conversation. A great interview should be a conversation, marked by exploration, articulation, openness, and, above all, active listening. Human brains are inherently social, and a well-conducted interview can be likened to a chemical reaction, transforming both the interviewer and the candidate. That’s the utopia moment.

Understanding that not everyone can recall every detail of their career is crucial. Unnecessary pressure can hinder a candidate’s ability to organise their thoughts and showcase their true abilities, potentially causing you to overlook a hidden gem. Creating an environment where interviewees feel welcome and relaxed is key to revealing the real person behind the CV. Offering instant feedback provides clarity and ensures candidates are not left hanging, fostering a positive candidate experience.

One of the worst human flaws a person can be is ‘judgemental’. In other words, don’t pre-judge, and forget what’s on the CV and see who the real person is. Avoiding pre-judging someone’s character based on a CV is paramount. The reliance on a CV should be minimal, allowing candidates the freedom to express themselves fully. Taking the time to talk and, more importantly, to listen can uncover valuable insights and a real gem.

Furthermore, the person in the hot seat needs to possess a deep understanding of the job, company culture, internal relationships, and the true realities of day-to-day operations. Bear in mind, that most reasons why people fall out of love at work are down to a cultural mismatch. There’s zero point having the white crow or black sheep joining, as the chances of it working are slim. Recognising the potential for cultural mismatches and understanding the highs and lows of the role is essential.

For marketers, meeting hirers who speak their language and understand their profession is crucial. The emphasis should be on creating a dialogue rather than a checkbox exercise.

In summary, the mantra for successful creative and marketing hiring is simple: talk less, listen more.

By embracing the power of active listening, you can unlock a wealth of information, connect on a deeper level, and ultimately make more informed and successful hiring decisions.