29 Sep 2020

We have a huge amount of experience helping startups and scale-ups hire their first marketer, our Lead Consultant Sarah, talks you through some of the things to think about when looking for that person to take your business to the next level. 



Think about seniority level

If you need a "do-er" and have a smaller budget as most startups do, don't be afraid to hire at mid-management level first. You want people who are happy rolling the sleeves up and not just used to managing large teams who do things for them.


Company size and culture

Similarly, think about the background they have and where they previously worked. If they come from a corporate/matrix structure, candidates won't be as used to the responsibility and autonomy that comes with a start up role. If they have worked with big teams and big budgets, it will take them a little longer to adapt to a scrappy start-up style.


You can't have everything 

it's common for the startups I work with to want a full mix, multi channel marketer who is a whizz at all things SEO/PPC, a copywriter, events manager with a sales edge... and so it goes on. Bear in mind that it's rare to find a marketer who is excellent at all of these things. Even if they've managed the full mix in a previous role and can tick those boxes, do consider outsourcing certain things so they maintain oversight whilst being allowed to be excellent at the things they are excellent at managing in house. Juggling too many plates and not drawing on their natural strengths exhausts good marketers! Not many people have a data brain and creative brain in equal measure!


Where do you see the team growing?

It's important to consider the future when hiring your first marketer. If you feel you might need a content or events specialist down the line, as this is a major focus for your brand, then consider making sure your generalist is happy to delegate in that area. If you have a generalist who is super passionate about content, it will be tricky to define where their role ends and a content specialists' begins if you hire one in future.


Do you have a budget?

Some marketers will be used to working with small budgets and happy to do so in a start up, but it's useful for them to know up front what they are dealing with. The budget will help them define what channels might be the focus, this could completely change the sort of hire you want to make. Candidates used to managing huge budgets for paid campaigns won't be able to use that skill in the same way a business with no budget for such things! It is also a question most marketers will ask at interview, so worth having a rough idea before starting the interview process, managing expectations.


Do you need more than one marketer?

As mentioned above, you might have areas you're looking to focus on in the immediate future. If you have a heavy events schedule, but also want to get a comprehensive marketing events strategy going, do you perhaps need a junior Events Executive and a Head of Marketing?


Growth potential.

Your first marketing hire might be joining because they see huge potential in their career and a path to becoming a shareholder/Director in the business as it grows. Be aware that it might be tricky to bring someone in "above" someone who is used to having autonomy. Make sure your first hire has the potential to be that Director in time, if they aren't coming in at that level first of course!


What can corporates learn from startups?

I've talked a lot about startups and my experience of helping them to recruit their first marketer, but there are lessons that all sorts of businesses can learn when it comes to hiring marketing people. 


Start-ups get a lot more out of marketers because of their scrappy DIY approach. They don't have a list of suppliers and agencies and get all sorts covered in house including graphic design, PPC/SEO and PR. Consider giving marketers a bit more training and responsibility, creating your own "in house agency" model so you don't have to spend so much elsewhere!


Giving junior candidates more responsibility early on can be a great thing. I've seen many Exec level candidates progress quickly in start-ups, bringing great new ideas and learning quickly on the job. You don't need a certain number of "years of experience" to be the perfect fit for a role, consider someone hungry and ambitious looking for a step up and you might be surprised!

If you are looking to grow your team and hire a marketer, brief us now!

  • Career & Job Search
  • Flexible Working
  • Marketing News
  • Recruitment and HR
  • Women in Business
  • Workplace Wellness
  • Freelancing
  • Marketing & Digital
  • Creative
  • Agency World
  • B2B Marketing
  • Research & Insight
  • Stopgap News
  • Marketing Digest
  • Case Studies
  • Charity & Not-for-Profit


If you are an employer looking to build your marketing and digital team, or perhaps you are just hiring your first marketer, we can help. We offer a range of services, from freelance to permanent placements and executive search.

find out more brief us now

of expertise

If you're at the top of your game, our tailored executive service is for you. We have a consultant in each of our sector teams who is dedicated to recruiting the most senior marketing and digital professionals.

find out more