A conversation with 24 Seven’s Bri McGee, Director of Recruiting in San Francisco about what appeals to top paid search and paid social candidates.
Tell us what you’re seeing out there in terms of the most in-demand roles in Digital right now.
Demand is definitely around paid search and paid social. The areas and titles we are specifically seeing interest in are growth marketing, acquisition marketing, retention marketing, and affiliate marketing.
Where would clients find talent to fill these roles, and what are the challenges around these searches?
Many of the candidates for these paid search and social positions traditionally come from the media side with titles like media planning, media buying, at the account manager or account supervisor level. If they’re coming from an in-house corporate role, they are digital marketing managers. The talent is available but the challenge is that they have a lot of opportunities. So it’s definitely a candidate market and a competitive situation for clients scrambling to secure them. Clients who are either paying more or just have overall a better opportunity to offer are winning out.
What would qualify as a better opportunity to offer?
Many clients are reaching out for this type of talent for an interim need or an immediate temp-to-perm situation. But the ones that can offer a longer-duration project or a situation that will truly convert to full-time sooner rather than later are considered better offers. While better pay is always attractive, long term security is also.
So in this competitive hiring market, companies that offer temp-to-perm positions are more attractive than a company that’s looking to fill freelance roles only?
Right. I would say that temp-to-perm or full-time direct hire are definitely more appealing to our candidates than a temporary opportunity.
That’s interesting. What are other things that companies can offer to lure this kind of talent? What gives companies a competitive edge?
If it’s an agency, it’s the clients for whom they’re doing work. Client roster is a big draw. And if it’s on the client-side, corporate role, then it’s the industry. Industry is an important consideration for those on the agency side as well. Beauty, Fashion, Tech are ones to which our candidates gravitate. Tech has a reputation for paying more – so that gives those companies an edge. But for companies and agencies that, say, don’t have an exciting client list or aren’t in a ‘cool’ industry, if they offer a longer term career opportunity and the scope of the role is attractive, candidates will express interest.
So companies in less desirable niches need to step up their game in terms of the overall offer and opportunity.
Yes, to attract a certain level of candidate you need to offer the right mix of tactical, “in the weeds”, with the more strategic aspects of these roles. Hands-on versus strategy and execution. Most of our senior paid candidates, of course, like any other role, prefer to stay on the more strategic side rather than be the ones not rolling up their sleeves.
This is why working with a recruiting partner is helpful. We can help the company figure out what would be the most appealing for each candidate profile.
From a hiring manager’s perspective, are certain candidates more appealing than others?
Candidates that have a blend of agency and client-side experience, or those that come directly from agencies, are often most in demand. I think the agency preference comes from this perception that candidates that have worked at agencies have fast-track career trajectories, and bring experience across multiple clients. They’re not just bringing a single, specific industry outlook. The hiring manager is attracted to this diverse experience and the idea that the candidate is used to a fast-paced, high-pressure environment.
Are you seeing companies relying more on a hybrid model of recruiting where, ideally, they’d love to fill a role full time but they rely on freelancers or vice versa?
In the last three to six months I’ve noticed it moving more in that direction. Clients have a full-time search open but fill the role on an interim basis to move projects along. And of course, we always suggest, that while we can work on both those scenarios, that it would be ideal for them to find someone for the temporary role that could be the long-term solution. The advantage of this approach is that the client will be more likely to attract higher-quality candidates. The strongest talent is consistently employed. Those proven-star candidates aren’t going to leave a steady job for a company that’s only offering them a temporary spot.
In summary, companies competing for coveted paid search and paid social candidates should consider how to optimize the opportunity they are presenting. Beyond attractive salary, roles that offer longer tenure or the fairly certain chance of converting to a full-time role will be more interesting to candidates who are being courted by multiple suitors.