Look for the talents that fit what you need

How to hire marketers that get-stuff-done

You aren’t the only one having problems finding people with the right skills to fill open positions. Especially when you are trying to hire a marketing person. Which makes it even more frustrating when, for every new hire you finally land, someone else decides to leave. It feels like a never-ending battle to get-positions-filled in order to get-stuff-done.

But that also might be a sign that you really need to (A) rethink their talents vs. your needs, and/or (B) rethink how you are marketing the position to the people you really want to hire, and/or (C) rethink how to keep the talents you hire.

Of course you might need to rethink all three. But for simplicity let’s look at each of these one at a time.

How to rethink their talents vs. your needs

Typically, CUs look for a multi-talented jack-of-all-trades to fill their marketing department position. Without the budget for a large staff, they look for someone who can do-it-all; write copy, design graphics, shoot and edit video, constantly post on social media, and still be the smiling face in your booth at community events.

It’s an unrealistic approach, because no one is great at everything. Yes, they have amazing talents where they excel, and they may even have several amazing talents. But they may not be very good at everything, and that’s okay.

So don’t expect them to do-it-all. Instead of looking for a unicorn and never finding one, look for the talents that fit what you need.

If you already have friendly, outgoing staff on your front line, have them be the smiling face at community events and hire that talented introvert for marketing. If you already have a social media maven in your midst, embrace that internal Influencer and bring in complimentary talent to get other things done. If you find an amazing wordsmith that can only draw stick figures, you can always hire an agency or freelance graphic designer to make the visuals equal to the prose.

Figure out what you truly need, then look to see whose talents fit those needs.

How to market the position to the people you really want to hire

Let’s face it. Credit unions are not seen as cutting-edge hi-tech companies with seemingly unlimited resources. They typically don’t offer six-figure salaries and expense accounts.

But CUs are seen as great places to work. In fact, career-related queries are always among the top internal search terms in our CU websites.

Plus, people – especially young people – want to lend their talents to a cause they can believe in, and CUs fill the bill perfectly. The opportunity to work in a positive nurturing culture, helping people and getting involved with the community, is very attractive to job-seekers. So be sure that is included in the job description and title – more people will be interested in becoming a “Member Advocate” than just a “Teller.”

While most CUs do need people in their branches and “on-the-ground” in their community, workplace flexibility (flex hours, WFH days, etc.) has become a huge benefit to those looking for a job. Rethinking positions that can be done remotely (completely or occasionally) and with flexible scheduling might help you find and retain top talent. 

Pay and benefits need to be competitive of course, so if that’s proving to be a barrier, CU leadership may need to review compensation and adjust expectations. One of our clients recently asked their staff what they loved about their jobs, and several of them listed 401Ks, employer-paid health insurance, and weekends/federal holidays off as their favorite benefits.

And of course you need to actually let people know that you have openings, so you will need to do more than rely on word-of-mouth referrals. We built an on-going social media campaign for the CU that surveyed their staff, using their photos and responses. Another client had us create a :30 video to run on the big screen before movies at local theaters.

How to keep the talent you find

Once you hire new talent, it’s easy to forget that they will need support to get up to speed. Very few people can hit the ground running in a new job. They’ll need to learn what you’ve done in the past, plus what you expect them to handle on a day-to-day basis. It will take time to get them comfortable enough to take ownership of the job. And if they’re new to credit unions, they might need more than just time to adjust to a whole new way of thinking, so be sure to connect them with other resources that can help.

Assuming they fit in nicely and you want them to stick around, be sure they see that they have a future with your credit union. Think about how their role can expand and grow in multiple dimensions.

Because a credit union doesn’t grow without marketing. If you want to keep a talented CU marketer, they should have a seat at the table and be able to envision a future where they can become the CMO, or even move up to CEO.

By giving them the opportunity to grow in their position, you stand a better chance of keeping the talent you find.

Kent Dicken

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