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Take the emotion out of recruiting your next marketing hire

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Take the emotion out of recruiting your next marketing hire

Karen Lloyd interview technique, employer

Hands up if you have ever said, “the moment I met John Smith I knew they were going to be great for that Marketing Manager role!”, or “I am not sure about Joe Bloggs, I can’t put my finger on it but I don’t think they will be the right fit for our Marketing team”.    

I can almost guarantee that you have; and in doing so, you just made an emotional hiring decision.  

Emotions drive our decision making whether we like it or not, it is what they are designed to do.  

This is especially pertinent in an interview situation, whether you are hiring a Marketing Director or Marketing Executive.  It has been proven that an interviewer makes up their mind if they are going to hire within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.  The rest of the marketing interview is deciding if your first instincts were right. 

When meeting a marketing candidate, you respond to their nonverbal communication cues in making your decision.  Out of the 7 recognised nonverbal aspects, facial expression, posture, body movements and eye contact are the key ones here.  You assess them all within seconds.  They trigger an emotion that causes your nervous system to respond, creating that gut feeling.  

Your challenge will be to use your emotional intelligence to work out if that gut feeling is correct.

Tips to overcome your emotional response:
  • If snap judgements are a trait you have observed in yourself before, perhaps try a telephone interview for the first stage interview.  This will help you to develop an informed opinion without being influenced by physical nonverbal cues. 

  • Be mindful of your mood before the marketing interview.  If you have been stressed or frustrated, don’t take it into the interview.  You might put them off for a start, but your decision making as to whether the candidate is the right fit for your marketing team will also be flawed. 

  • Pressure to hire someone.  You can feel so over worked you are desperate to hire someone… anyone!  Try not to show this to the candidate.  Take some quiet time before the interview to help you find a neutral headspace and avoid making a snap decision.  

  • Judge on marketing skills and experience.  There are tools to help you here; competency based questions, and scoring the different skills are your friends.

  • The reason for your current employee leaving can colour your response to new candidates.  If you didn’t want to lose them, you might feel no one will measure up.  If they are leaving under a cloud, you may feel wary of getting burnt again.  Try to hone in on the skills and experience you need and remember, no two employees are alike.

  • Make sure you feel prepared.  Adding nervousness and anxiety due to lack of preparation will not help you to make an objective decision.  Pre-planned questions are ideal, but if you don’t have any, take a few minutes to look at the marketing job spec and focus on the skills and experience you need.


Emotions do drive our decision making, whether we like it or not, it is what they are designed to do: “to appraise and summarize an experience and inform your actions.” (Dr Mary Lamia).   However, emotions are not especially precise, or sophisticated. 

Success in an interview situation depends on our ability to understand and interpret our emotions and on occasion, overrule them when we are aware they may lead us to irrationality.  In other words, hiring the right person depends on our ability to develop and use our emotional intelligence.


If you you'd like help with your marketing recruitment plans, don't hesitate to drop us a line and we'll get right back to you.

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