Hiring people is hard work. It can take a long time to find the right person, and the job doesn’t stop there – you need to train them, make sure they work well with the team, perform the job at hand and stay for long enough to make all the effort worthwhile.

The flipside is, of course, that if you find the right people, you can build a loyal, hard-working and friendly team. Having such a group makes it much easier to plan and can take your company to new heights.

As Head of Talent Academy at Celerity, I’m responsible for our Young Talent Recruitment and Development programme, Talent.ED. It means that the majority of my days are spent thinking about working on our recruitment strategies and practices, our training and development opportunities and our current employee’s benefits and career trajectories. While the same rules won’t apply for every hire, some hiring practices work well across all organisations, and particularly in marketing. If you can employ some of the following tactics right away, I can almost guarantee that you’ll see an improvement in your hiring decisions.

Attracting the right talent

Before you go ahead and write up your job spec, you need to have a good think about the type of person you want to hire – what experience or academic qualifications do they need? What soft skills are you looking for? What technical ability do they need to have right from the start? Take some time to think about the specifics of the job to help you understand what type of person you need. When it comes to marketing roles, I find that those with marketing, technology, mathematical, business and software backgrounds tend to make the best candidates.

It can be hard to attract the best talent, particularly if your company is based outside of London. To get around this, I suggest making it very clear of the benefits your company will provide. Most companies can say that they’ll bring new recruits into the organisation and train them. Still, if you have any other benefits like flexible working, access to new technology or generous holiday, you’ll want to make a point of that, too. This will help develop your employer branding and convince potential candidates that your company is the best place to work.

If you’re looking for those at apprentice-level, you might also want to explore the possibility of building partnerships with universities or local schools. This works well for us with our Talent.ED programme – we find we get better candidates coming in for interviews for entry-level roles as a result, which decreases our recruitment overhead.

Work on your interview process

The classic interview process can be daunting and tedious. Candidates are likely going for many jobs, and interviews can become quite monotonous and a bit of a blur. That’s why I like to try and differentiate ours from others. We like to mix things up by incorporating fun and practical activities (both in teams and on their own) which helps to mark our company out as a different and (hopefully) more fun place to work.

Those who show promise are then set up with a presentation slot, where they get to present about themselves or a topic that they’re passionate about, to a select (and diverse) group of people from the company. This works both ways – it gives the candidates a moment that they have more control over; lets them meet a selection of people from the company; helps us see them at their best and see how well they communicate.

Qualities to look out for

At Celerity, one of the main things we look out for is a genuine interest and passion for technology, data and quality. This is important for anyone wanting to work at our company, because of the nature of the work we do. Identify what people need to be interested in or passionate about, and make that a priority to look out for in the interview stages.

Other soft skills that are always relevant and useful to look out for include:

  • Ability to work in a team
  • Ability to work on their own
  • Analytical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail

Keeping your new hires

Once you’ve hired the best person for the job, the next task is keeping them. Try to think about it from their perspective – if you know what your career trajectory is, you’re given the resources to get there, and you have a good time when you’re at work, you’re more likely to stay.

Start by setting clear and achievable objectives to keep your new hire on track. Then look for relevant opportunities that will help them get where they’re going. This won’t be a one-size-fits-all exercise – people in different positions will need different levels of training.

Another critical element is creating opportunities for honest and constructive feedback. It needs to be regular enough for people to improve, without being too often that it’s burdensome or disheartening. Provide people with mentors and create a structure that allows for regular meetings to give people the best possible start to their new job.

Deborah Lewis

Deborah Lewis


Deborah Lewis, Head of Talent Academy at Celerity.