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Recruiting Digital Experts, the Right Way

January 15, 2018



The following post also appeared as an opinion piece at Georgetown University


Big data, the internet of things, the digital journey…every day, we see how these concepts are changing our industries and our customers’ expectations. And our organizations are responding. McKinley Marketing Partners reported in its 2017 Marketing Hiring Trends that 56% of firms hiring this year will hire professionals with digital marketing expertise including “content creation and curation, mobile, social, SEO/SEM and lead generation.”


Will hiring digital expertise help us crack the code of big data and IoT? Unfortunately, no.


Digital skills are certainly needed. But digital skills are only half of what a brand needs to succeed in a world of big data and IoT. The other half is the ability to leverage content, mobile apps and social channels to build a stronger emotional connection with audiences. It is the vision to see beyond the data and find ways to create better experiences. In other words, our digital experts need to combine their technical expertise with critical thinking and creative problem solving to generate growth.


What happens when we hire based solely on technical skills? Our brands fall victim to vanity metrics. And we waste time, money and effort on activities that don’t grow our business.

Recruiting the right digital experts requires evaluating the candidate’s critical thinking and problem solving skills in addition to their technical skills. There are several ways to do this during the interview process. Some methods are:

  • Provide them with a set of data from one of your channels and ask them to interpret it. See if they connect the results to your organization’s mission, goals, and/or customers.

  • Ask for specific, detailed examples of times they faced a work problem and how they responded.

  • Present them with a hypothetical situation and see the thought process they go through in response.

  • And, of course, you can add this topic when you call their references.

Go out and find those digital experts! Just make sure you’re also hiring the innovative, creative problem solvers who will grow your brand.

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