With 63% of businesses saying they’ve increased their digital marketing budgets in the past year, it suffices to say that the scramble for digital marketing talent is only going to intensify in 2023 and beyond.
The demand for SEO specialists, expert content creators, social media gurus (and more digital-focused roles besides) will continue to escalate, leading to an increasingly candidate-led market where businesses might struggle to attract the best talent.
Of course, the working world has mostly acclimatized to the idea of remote working (around 1 in 6 businesses are now thought to be fully remote, with that number heading upwards), so this presents an opportunity for digital businesses to access a growing talent pool.
With location no longer a factor, businesses can widen their searches to secure the right talent — and attract them by offering a fully flexible work setup.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of sourcing and interviewing a digital marketer remotely.
The benefits of hiring a remote digital marketer
If you’re unsure whether hiring a digital marketer remotely is a good idea for your business, consider some of the very real benefits of doing so:
Access to more talent
one of the chief advantages of hiring digital talent remotely is that you can recruit based on ability, not geography — and this location-agnostic approach theoretically means you have access to a far wider talent pool.
You could even benefit from expanding your search to include overseas candidates. Given that Denmark leads the way in terms of ‘digital competitiveness’ (ahead of the US and Sweden), you might benefit from using an employer of record service by Remote to recruit and onboard digital marketing talents based there.
Knowledge of new markets
The ability to hire a digital marketer outside of your own territory might be highly beneficial if your company has international clients, or if you’re looking to expand into new overseas markets.
Local knowledge can be key to cracking a new market, so hiring someone who’s not only a skilled digital marketer but a local expert could be doubly advantageous.
Fears of remote work leading to a drop in productivity have more-or-less been dispelled, with businesses realizing that in fact it can have the opposite effect — indeed, a study by Flexjobs found that 66% of employees felt their productivity was improved by remote working.
Greater flexibility over schedules means your workforce are likely working when they’re at their sharpest, while they’re also less likely to take sick days.
An approach to hiring which doesn’t hinge on location as a determining factor is likely to lead to greater diversity within your digital marketing workforce.
We’re not just talking about cultural diversity (although this is extremely important, of course), but also diversity of ideas, opinions and approaches. With a more varied range of unique perspectives, you may find your team innovating in ways you’d previously overlooked.
Without doubt, one of the primary reasons to hire a digital marketer (or anyone, for that matter) is the cost-effectiveness of doing so.
Fewer in-person employees means less need for a physical office — you could reduce your office space to just a handful of ‘hotdesks’, or do away with it altogether — meaning the costs associated with the running and maintenance of an office can be dramatically reduced.
Sourcing the right digital marketing talent
So, you’re ready to start the search for your latest digital marketing team member. Before you can start sourcing candidates, you need to ask yourself a few questions: for instance, what specific skills are you looking for?
What level of experience do they need to have? What type of personality would be a good fit for the role? Knowing the answers to these questions will help ensure you get the right person for the role.
Of course, you’ll also need to determine how your new recruit will work for you. Will they be a permanent member of the team, or will they be hired sporadically to work on specific projects? You have a number of options, including:
- A freelancer: a freelance digital marketer will usually work for you on an ad-hoc basis, as and when they’re needed for specific projects or tasks. Hire Digital is a great resource for finding freelancers for digital marketing-based roles.
- A contractor: unlike a freelancer, a contractor will usually only work for one business at a time. They’re typically employed by organizations that require a skilled specialist for a limited period.
- An employee: an employee is a permanent member of an organization; they usually work a set number of salaried hours per week and enjoy benefits such as statutory annual leave and sick pay. We Work Remotely is the largest remote work community in the world, so it’s a great place to source remote candidates.
Skills required for a digital marketer
Naturally, the specific skills you’re looking for will largely depend on the requirements of the role you’re hoping to fill.
For instance, you might be looking for someone to help drive more organic traffic to your website, in which case you’ll require an individual with specialist SEO skills, or perhaps you’re in need of someone with design experience who can help create dazzling email templates.
That said, most digital marketing roles will require a range of skills that cover at least some of the following areas:
- Content creation
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Social media
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
Once you’ve determined the type of role you’re looking to recruit for — as well as the specific skills and competencies required for the role — create a detailed job description that tells the candidate everything they need to know about the position they’re applying for.
- The main duties and responsibilities of the role
- Skills and experience required (including ‘soft’ skills)
- Any qualifications needed (or desired)
- The hours they’ll be expected to work (emphasize that it’s a remote role, of course!)
- Information about the company culture and working environment
- The salary (be specific, as many candidates are put off by vague claims of a “competitive” pay packet)
- Any additional benefits on offer
Interviewing digital marketing candidates remotely
The next step is to filter through the applications you’ve received (there might even be hundreds) and begin the process of inviting the outstanding candidates to interview for the role.
Of course, while hiring remotely is nothing new to most businesses, many are still somewhat getting used to the idea of conducting interviews over a video call.
Here are a few important tips to remember when interviewing candidates remotely:
- Be flexible: remote interviews are often easier to accommodate (since there’s no travel involved, for example), but be prepared to have to be flexible to your candidate’s schedule — particularly if you’re interviewing someone from overseas who might be in a different time zone altogether.
- Communicate clearly: during a remote interview, clear communication is paramount, since it can often be more difficult to pick up on body language and there’s potential for information to be misconstrued.
- Set clear expectations: make sure your candidate knows what to expect before joining the interview. What technology will you use to conduct it? Who else will be joining? How long do you expect it to last?
- Ask the right questions: as in any interview scenario, asking the right questions is key to determining your candidate’s suitability. Don’t be afraid to ask them to elaborate at times, and always request that they provide examples.
- Ask for examples: you’re likely hiring for a highly specialized role, so you’ll need to have a good understanding of your candidate’s experience; ask to view their portfolio, for example, or you could even set them a task to complete prior to the interview.
- Sell the benefits: in a candidate-led job market, there’s fierce competition for talent. That means it’s essential that you emphasize the benefits of working for your company; be specific about flexible working allowances, and let them know what development opportunities and access to additional training they’ll have.
- Test your tech: video calling technology is pretty reliable nowadays, but that doesn’t mean it won’t let you down when you need it most. Make sure you know how to use it, and join the call a few minutes early to ensure everything is working as expected.
It’s true, the demand for digital marketing talent is growing fiercer. But it’s also clear that businesses who are prepared to fully embrace remote working will have an advantage over their potential competitors when it comes to recruiting the best digital talent. Follow these steps for hiring digital marketers remotely in 2023 and you’ll have a much better chance of matching your dream candidate to their ideal role.