Digital acumen and content marketing skills are the hottest commodities in today’s marketing world, but all the experience in the world won’t help you land your dream job if you can’t effectively communicate your accomplishments. So says Robert Merritt, managing partner of sales and marketing recruiting at Chicago-based executive recruiting firm Lucas Group, who has worked with companies such as Kraft, BP and Diageo, as well as small- to medium-sized firms, over his 10-year recruiting career. Marketing News caught up with Merritt to get his advice on how marketers can build up their own career experience to make themselves more attractive to recruiters and potential employers.
Q: Tell me about your experiences in the marketing recruitment field. What has changed throughout the course of your career?
A: I don’t think there’s been a tremendous amount that’s changed in what people have looked for in sales or marketing professionals. Obviously the technology has changed, and what companies are doing has changed at a rapid rate. Recruiting used to be about access. It used to be about a rolodex of contacts that a person has accumulated throughout their career, and, as long as you had access to talent, you provided something of value to your client. Access is still important today, but recruiting isn’t about access anymore. If you have a LinkedIn account, you have the ability to get access to the same tools that every firm in the marketplace is using, whether they want to tell you the truth or not. Access isn’t what our business is about. Our business is about marketing, being able to identify, engage, position and sell our client’s opportunity to the candidate pool. That has changed drastically. Because access is everywhere, there’s so much competition and people have more connectivity and more options. Recruiters have to be really good at crafting the message about who their client is and go out in the marketplace and identify the number of people that match that profile and engage with them. When they do engage, you have to be able to capitalize on that conversation and convert them into interested candidates. That’s the real paradigm shift we’ve seen in the last five to 10 years in the recruiting industry.
Q: What are sales and marketing recruiters looking for in an ideal candidate?
A: In sales and marketing, the search changes from client to client. A few of the commonalities that always stay the same are that we’re looking for really high-impact individuals: A person who is able to bring both quantitative as well as qualitative data to the conversation. Qualitative data in the sense that they’ve experienced great things in their professional career and they have great accomplishments to talk about, and they can weave that story. Quantitative data is really the results that they’ve been able to drive in their organization. In the world of marketing, that’s become so paramount. With all of the new platforms in the world of marketing, and the ability to measure activity, there’s really no room for fluff anymore. We want to see both a marketer that understands how to connect with their consumer and also knows how to analyze and drive the data that shows what they’ve been able to do. When I say ‘high-impact,’ I mean someone who can tell a really impactful story about what they were asked to do, what the strategy would be, how they pulled through the strategy, and the quantitative results at the end of the day.