I’ve had a bit of a low profile on the SEO scene the last few months, it’s because I’ve been busy short-listing, interviewing and offering jobs to a new batch of recruits. It’s been an interesting process that I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve learned that might make your life a bit easier if you’re in the process of attracting good SEOs.
Some of the strongest candidates we’ve found with our recruiter wouldn’t have described themselves as SEO, in fact a few of them hadn’t had much interaction with the world of search, but working in other internet marketing disciplines they actually had some of the specific skills a search marketing team is looking for.
Someone who spends their day pitching to bloggers and online publisher might not think of themselves as a link builder, especially if they aren’t au-fait with SEO, but what they are doing is almost identical and they will probably have an more inventive way of building links than someone who has only ever worked in the SEO sector.
One of the challenges for any SEO firm is that many of the people you take on as trainee or junior members of the team may eventually reach a point when they want to explore freelancer or being their own boss. For some people this works out a treat but a lot of people they don’t enjoy the business development or administrative aspects of running their own company.
A change of heart from these people wanting to go back to becoming a full time employee actually makes them a very strong candidate. This practical entrepreneurial experience makes them far more commercial in their work, which can only be a good thing. Increasingly being a search marketer isn’t just getting a website to rank it’s achieving those results within the constraints of a clients’ budget while being as efficient as they can for their employer. So if you’re considering some active head-hunting freelancers are worth including in your search.
There may not be the desperate shortage of talent there was in the world of search a few years ago but there is still less great recruits than there are vacancies. Great news for the candidates and perhaps a nudge for employees as well. You need to sell your role in the job description and in the interviews; great search marketers can be picky in where they choose to work, so never assume that they will want to work for you.
Interviews are weird, some people find them a great opportunity to express themselves others find them panic inducing, and neither of these two states are a huge indicator of someone’s ability to carry out the role you’re looking for. And how do you tell if someone is right for the company’s culture? The way we tried to deal with this is having a speed dating style element where potential candidates met a significant number of the existing team. Not only did this make sure the team agreed with our choices it also gave the candidates a great chance to see if we really were the type of company we claimed to be!
About the same time as I got involved in our latest recruitment drive I also came across the work of Dan Pink and Motivation. Though there’s a huge amount of complexity in Dan’s work he suggests that where ever creativity is a part of a role there’s more to motivation than just money. Sure everyone wants to be paid a good wage but autonomy, mastery and purpose are equally important to creative search types. If you recruit, manage or would like to do either of those things I strongly recommend watching this TED talk.