Part of my personal expertise is to comment on and broadly describe the trends associated with the employment market in Australia. Having been in people strategy, talent management and executive search for more than 25 years, I cannot think of a more turbulent employment market than that faced by both employers and employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact of the pandemic is extremely inconsistent by sector and geography, with almost every type of organisation and institution affected. The education sector is not immune and independent schools in particular have to navigate these challenges in their own unique way. In previous articles, I touched on the importance of strong employment branding and positioning when you are actively looking for talent, but also when you are not. I believe this will continue to be key as we look to a time beyond the pandemic, when employees may feel a greater level of confidence to consider a possible move.
Here are my top tips to assist as you consider recruiting in the marketing space.
- Approach marketing recruitment with a conscious mindset. This might seem obvious, however marketing recruitment is something many school Heads will only do once every two to three years (sometimes less). It is very different to recruiting for teaching staff. A great starting point is to take the time to set a plan and focus on what’s important from a brand strategy and marketing perspective in your organisation.
- Consider the recruitment process carefully. With point #1 in mind, create a recruitment process for your target audience (marketing professionals). This includes your campaign on sites such as Seek and LinkedIn, the interview structure, the time taken to get to offer stage with your preferred candidate and everything in between.
- Think about engaging a specialist marketing recruiter. Since recruiting for marketing professionals is not a mainstream task in education, consider engaging a marketing recruitment specialist to assist with the role. As well as saving time, this can lead to identification of the best candidates available.
- Seek out an independent expert who understands marketing. Consider the appointment of a Marketing Director or Chief Marketing Officer (often within your parent community) who can assist during the interview process with technical questions that relate specifically to marketing.
- Build a social aspect into the recruitment process. As this is a relationship orientated job type, consider adding a social stage to the process to really get to know the top two to three candidates outside the formal interview process. At the end of the day, this will be part of their role and requires assessment.
- Use case studies to increase the likelihood of success. Creating a case study framework for the top candidates to respond to and present against can provide great insight. It will enable you to assess how they will respond in ‘real life’ situations.
- Supply and demand are not in your favour. Marketing professionals are part of a small, tight-knit community and unfortunately there are not enough Tier 1 professionals, particularly when you overlay the specific nature of marketing in education. You need to put your best foot forward to demonstrate why your school is the right place for top talent in marketing.
- Personal connection with you is everything. For a senior marketing professional, personal connection with you, the school Head, is key, as they will often be working to interpret your unique vision and strategy for the school. If the chemistry is not there, it will be hard for them to work optimally in their role.
- A detailed job description is critical. Marketing professionals are by nature extremely pedantic about getting things right. The job description is one of the first documents they will view from your school. It has to be thorough and well thought out.
- Titles mean everything! Of all the job type families, marketing professionals can be very specific about their titles. Expect to be challenged and, for the right person, show some flexibility.
- Ensure the marketing budget is clear and broken down in some detail. Marketing professionals need a clear understanding of their budget, as this allows them to contribute more broadly to the strategic and commercial outcomes for the school.
Marketing professionals fill an important role in implementing (and even shaping) your school strategy. By acknowledging this recruitment process is different to that for teaching staff and recognising its importance to both yours and the school’s success, you will be on the right path to securing an individual who can make a real impact.
Simon Meyer is the CEO of Compono Talent Solutions, uniquely combining a bespoke approach to people strategy with talent optimisation. Simon sits on Advisory Boards for the National Basketball League (NBL), UTS’ Advanced MBA Program, Task and LifeChanger. compono.com