• Matthew Lerner

4 non-cliche tips for hiring startup marketers.

Updated: Nov 16


Looks like all of a sudden, my “founder” friends are desperate to hire good people. And recruiters are actually turning away clients. 🤯


But my sh!t-hot marketer friends? Yeah, they're sharing screenshots of ham-handed InMails they’re getting from recruiters.


This all boils down to one simple fact — we’re in the most competitive labor market I’ve seen since the dotcom bubble. And if you’re hiring for growth now, you’re probably wondering what can you do to attract high-quality talent?


Cast a wider net by removing 1 or 2 filters

99% of companies are using the same 5 talent “filters” (e.g. performance marketing & analytics, senior leadership experience, based in the UK, top uni grad). So everybody is chasing the same 800 candidates. Which of those filters can we remove?


Filter 1: Marketing Experience is Overrated

Let’s face it, running Facebook ads is not that hard. A sharp mind can easily master it in a week or two with the right support, it’s not rocket science. In-fact, the two best marketers I’ve ever hired had zero marketing experience. But they were both brilliant “STEM” grads who were curious and motivated. Instead of filtering for years of experience with specific tools, hire bright people who can do hard things.


[“But what does ‘hard things’ even mean, Matt?” Read my list of actually hard things in marketing to hire for.]


Filter 2: UK-based is Overrated

My guess is that barely 1% of the world’s marketing talent lives in the UK. If you want to make the most of your search, look for talent on a global scale. There are tons of qualified candidates who will work remotely. (After the pandemic they might even appreciate a visa sponsorship, or they could stay remote.) In fact, one of my clients just hired a great Head of Growth based in Monterey, Mexico.



Bonus Tip: Do a good job recruiting. This sounds basic, but the bar is astoundingly low here. Most job specs start with a “boilerplate” description of the company followed by a list of demands. And most outreach is InMail from entry-level “sourcers" who have no real connection to marketing or your company. Here’s what to do instead:

Tip 1: Don’t be shy with your job description. Answer their burning question: “What’s in it for me?” Talk about the opportunity and what they’ll gain from it. (You want ambitious people, right?) Read my tips for a great job spec, plus examples here. Tip 2: Approach strong candidates directly. Think about it like this: How would you approach prospective investors? Great marketers are no different than your VC. They have the ability to help you generate tons of $$$$, but they take less equity. Get warm intro’s where you can, take your time in getting to know them, and cast a wide net (see above). You’re right, these hires are super important. If you try the same approach as everyone else, you’ll get the same results. Hopefully these tips will give my subscribers a bit of an edge.

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