As I close the books on Q2, I’m looking back on a quarter that was considerably more active than normal. Typically after the holidays, activity on the executive search front tends to ratchet down for a month or so while everyone catches their breath. Not so in the world of digital commerce this year. The calls and emails have been steady. If you’re thinking about tiptoeing out there as a prospective candidate, or if you’re a hiring manager with a key role to fill, here’s a look at some of the recent trends in digital marketing and ecommerce talent acquisition.
– Candidates expecting quick decisions from employers will be disappointed. Of course there are the exceptions, but generally speaking for senior level searches it took 90 days from start to finish- resume first submitted to final offer and acceptance. A lot has changed over the past 25 years. Back in the 1990’s and even through the mid-2000’s when the economy was galloping along at 2x and 3X the rate it is now, employers had lots of desks to fill. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be conducting 3 or 4 concurrent searches for a single client. Speed mattered. Time was definitely money. These days, it’s more about making sure each hire is right. My rule of thumb: Take the amount of time you’re hoping it will take, and double it. That’ll help put your expectations in check.
-Make sure your LinkedIn profile is ready for prime time. I actually lost an otherwise strong candidate this past quarter because their LinkedIn profile was, in the words of the CEO, “very shallow”. Seems amazing that can happen but it did, and it served as a stark reminder that LinkedIn profiles now factor into hiring decisions. Be sure to take advantage of LinkedIn’s media capabilities. If you’re not, you could be leaving opportunities on the table.
-More digital marketing and ecommerce recruiting trends: Watch out what you say on other social media platforms. I also lost a strong candidate to some stuff that individual had posted on Facebook, that raised questions about their judgement.
-There were a lot of “transformational” situations last quarter, and by that I mean anything except business as usual. Most of my searches involved fundamental change, i.e., newly created roles or flat out replacements to take the business to a new level. Two of my clients were literally century old companies looking to gain digital bench strength to power future growth. Candidates who could scale the capabilities of digital channels, and do it cost effectively, were golden.
-Upward pressure on bonuses intensified. As I discussed in a previous posting on digital marketing and ecommerce recruiting trends, bonuses for ecommerce and digital marketing positions have been playing catch up in recent years with more traditional marketing roles. The highly quantifiable nature of digital commerce is giving practitioners the ability to point to measurable gains, and therefore richer rewards.
-A compa-ratio of less than 1 will almost definitely put your organization at an immediate competitive disadvantage as it relates to the salary of a top performer. All of my placements were at 1 or higher. One of them was actually outside the client’s salary bracket, but that was to make up for a lack of 401K match. For many candidates, retirement benefits are as important as medical coverage, so if you’re lacking in that area be prepared to have to possibly make it up in salary or through a sign on or guaranteed annual bonus.
Jerry Bernhart, Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, is one of the nation’s preeminent and veteran executive recruiters in ecommerce, digital and multichannel marketing, and CRM. With 80 published LinkedIn articles, Jerry is the “voice” of best practices in the recruitment and hiring of ecommerce and digital marketing professionals. Jerry is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, “Careers in Ecommerce and Digital Marketing,” on Amazon, and participates in many leading digital marketing and ecommerce conferences. Jerry has been recruiting and placing marketing professionals for more than 28 years. Check out Jerry’s other insights on the Thought Leadership section of the Bernhart Associates website.
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