By John OxfordThis is an awkward time for the job market for both job seekers and employers. With unemployment still a tad higher than 10 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are plenty of available people looking for work. But plenty of banks are looking for talent. If you don’t believe me, just do a quick LinkedIn job search. There are positions to be had for certain.
So why are we discussing the job market in a bank marketing column? Because we recently had a job opening on our marketing team at Renasant, the first opening in two years, and it’s been interesting to recruit, interview and make a decision during these COVID times.
Here are a few thoughts and pointers, for both sides of the proverbial interview table, in the Money Marketing Podcast’s opinion, obviously.
For bank marketers looking to hire:
Please do not list 45,698 bullets of tactical skills and qualifications you want a person with three years of experience in the workforce to have for $35,000. We know HR and Department of Labor regulations have us put a lot of disclaimer type stuff in there and that’s expected. However, lately it seems that employers think that a single person can somehow do the work of an ad agency, video production company, graphic design freelancer, copywriter and more. My advice here is twofold. Either be very specific with the talents you wish to acquire or as strange as it sounds, be super general if it’s a project manager or coordinator type. As with any job skills listed, it’s almost impossible for anyone to meet everything an employer lists on paper perfectly but being realistic and clear in your hiring posts will help you fill the spot faster and help you tamper down your expectations that the Swiss Army of marketing is going to walk through the door.
Look internal first. I’m always of the opinion that promoting from within is better than adding on. And although I would always try to hire the most talented applicant, internal promotion creates faster “up time” to getting the job going, promotes internal company pride and, as you are probably bugged to complete, most divisions must have some form of a succession plan anyway. In addition, a deep bench, just like in sports, shows a strong company. So if you have an opening, due to whatever reason, do not overlook an internal promotion.
Accept that Zoom interviews are awkward. For old school folks like me who judged the start of an interview by the person’s handshake, accept that Zoom-style are now the norm and certainly make difficult getting to really know someone. References from people you trust and social media sleuthing are more important than ever. Even if you are not on social media, being able to quickly search for a person and see that person’s timeline, as stalky as it sounds, can reveal both fairly and unfairly a lot about a person. For me, it often can help reveal if this person is a good cultural fit beyond the tactical skills they bring to the table.
For those looking for a new job in bank marketing:
Clean up all your social media accounts and posts. In 2020, this should be obvious. What’s not as obvious is having a picture of yourself or something of brand connection to you on LinkedIn. In recently looking for a new candidate for our marketing team, about every third LinkedIn profile I searched did not have an image with their information. If you cannot market yourself, it’s hard to see you marketing a product, business or service.
Paper resumes and that old style of painful formatting are dead to me. Thank goodness because I remember spending more time on the layout than the content back in the ‘90s. Your LinkedIn profile or some other form of career path document, portfolio or even a story/blog that can be easily accessed and absorbed works much better. Make your story easy to send around and easy to read through. Side note: You do not have to have every job you’ve ever had listed and, if you are entry to mid-level, if printed, your resume info should never be more than one page.
Make yourself visible and power up your digital footprint. Just like brand awareness, if you cannot be found or are hard to find, you may get passed over. What comes up when your name is Googled? How do you appear in different social media channels? We’re talking about someone looking for a marketing job and in today’s marketing arena, it’s almost expected that you would have some form of digital and or social footprint that can be accessed during the discovery phase. If you’re a designer or copywriter, post those portfolios on a website or link in your social profile. If you are a PR pro, have articles ready where you either received press or found earned media for a past client or project. Just like in real marketing, sometimes the best product may get passed over by the most well-known product. So make yourself as well-known and easily finable as you can. Heck, LinkedIn even has a green “open for work” badge to help employers easily find you.
While examples and advice can go on and on for job hunting and job placing, the points above seemed to pop up in recent searches, and I hope these may provide some value on both sides of the table during this weird time.
To hear more about job interviewing and hiring during COVID, listen to this week’s Marketing Money Podcast with Josh Mabus of the Mabus Agency and me.