17 March 2020

The toughest digital marketing roles to hire

If you think that hiring a digital marketing specialist is easy, you've probably never done it. While the internet and job platforms make it seem that everyone is within your reach, finding the right-fit expert with the skills you need, when you need it, is a real challenge.

Between a lack of experienced specialists, an overabundance of under-qualified candidates, the difficulty of assessing candidates, or even fully comprehending which profiles you need, there are lots of challenges when hiring a digital expert. We’ve outlined some of the hardest digital marketing profiles to hire for--along with why they’re so difficult to hire, and how you can improve the search.

(Does your team have the key players it needs to pivot and adapt to change? Use our guide to identify the talent you need to react fast when necessary, adapt, and maintain and deepen the connection to your customers.)

The hardest profiles to hire in digital marketing

1. Social media and community managers

We see lots of demand for social media managers, social media specialists, and community managers as social media has become a central part of marketing and sales strategies for many brands. Actually, we see a lot of social media specialist candidates too. The issue comes in separating top-notch social media experts from those who are essentially avid social media users. Michel Verbiest, Ariad Business Manager, explains, “just because you use Facebook doesn’t mean you’re qualified to work as a social media manager. I’m exaggerating a bit of course, but there’s a huge amount of interest in these important roles from candidates who are not specialized or experienced enough. We recently worked with a large, upscale hotel chain looking for a skilled social media manager. They had put out a job offer and received over 200 CVs for the role, but found that not a single applicant was suitable.”

As social media use evolves and new platforms customer expectations and opportunities arise, the requirements of these roles also change. It can be a challenge for hiring managers to understand how to vet candidates. To optimize our results, we maintain a deep network of experienced experts and have recruiters specialized in the field to find the right social media experts. Simply opening the gates to CVs for these roles isn’t efficient, or sometimes even effective.

2. UX and UI specialists

These roles have rightly been growing in demand as businesses see the huge benefits of great design, interface, and user experience. New and varied digital projects also require these skills, so finding the right experts with the right experience is an ongoing challenge. Not only can it be difficult for organizations to find the talent they need, but a lot of the time, they aren’t even sure where to start.

It’s important to assess the real demands of each position. Do you need a UX designer, someone skilled in UI, a visual designer? These terms are often mixed up, and though there may be some overlap in a candidate’s knowledge, these specialities require different skills, experience, and mindset. We commonly see confusion about exactly what kind of UX talent is needed, so understanding the field and asking the right questions is crucial. Different positions might also need other skills, such as leadership, management, or instructional skills, or experience working with an agile practice like Scrum.

Just because you use Facebook doesn’t mean you’re qualified to work as a social media manager.

Senior UX Recruitment Consultant Javier Cuadra has been working placing top UX experts for over five years, and has seen the huge impact the right talent can add to a company’s ROI. He also knows how difficult the search can be. "Statistics show that every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return--enough reason for companies to strengthen their UX teams! However, there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to UX roles. This is happening because UX is trendy, and nowadays nearly everybody claims to be a UXer. My advice for UX Managers is to identify the real needs of their company and departments, and think of skill sets rather than job titles. I help my clients do that by mapping the UX Competences they need with this easy framework.”

The main challenge in hiring UX professionals is dealing with their scarcity. Not only are there relatively few, but they will not be easily found simply by posting to a job board like Indeed. While these roles are often filled by freelance consultants, we have seen an increase in the demand for UX experts on our clients’ permanent teams. This demand further pressures the scarcity factor, and can be a real challenge in a field accustomed to freelance or project work.

...Other hard-to-hire roles?

We're just getting started. Check out the next part of this list of other challenging digital marketing profiles to find, along with a guide put together by our business managers to help organize your search for the fastest results!

Read part two here!