According to the Content Marketing Institute, the number of marketing professionals who are struggling to find talent has grown 320% since 2014. The marketing skills gap is growing and companies aren’t keeping up. Unless marketing leaders start rethinking the skills gap, they could end up dangerously short on talent. Here are five ways that companies can rethink the skills gap:
1. Value communication. Marketing is becoming more integrated than ever before, as marketing professionals have to be able to work with accounting, technology, sales and other teams. Find candidates who are able to communicate effectively and build relationships in the office. These candidates won’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from their coworkers.
2. Remember your audience. Look for candidates who know the industry well, even if they don’t have the preferred experience. These people will be ready to add value from day one because they understand the target audience and will have ideas for how to attract them.
During the interview process, ask candidates to describe the company’s ideal client or customer, and have them offer strategies for engaging them.
3. Hire for contract roles. Permanent hires are expensive, and the risk of hiring a bad fit can be costly for companies, but you can get creative: Hire on-the-fence candidates into temporary or contract roles as a test run.
Watch candidates in action to see their real potential. They may lack specific skills, but do they learn quickly? If they can learn on the job and show promise, consider converting them to a permanent role.
4. Invest in training. In-demand marketing skills are changing quickly: 64% of marketers already expect their roles to change in the next 12 months, according to Adobe’s March 2014 “Digital Roadblock” study. Companies need to stop looking for the most valuable player and start looking for the best-available athlete—and then invest in them.
This article was originally published in the September 1, 2015, issue of Marketing News Weekly.
Author bio: Tom Gimbel is CEO and founder of Lasalle Network, a recruiting firm based in Chicago.