The two hardest things to do in our industry are:
1. Hire good people
2. Get hired (especially if you’re really good)

I pulled the most common digital job postings from across Indeed and Linkedin, and check out what I found:

Top 3 most common job titles

Pretty generic, right? Wait until you get to the required skills. Just over 80% of the currently available job postings require that applicants have all of the following skills:

The average expected experience level: 3+ years

Of the postings that made projected salaries available, the median amount is roughly $54,000/yr.

Let’s think about that for a minute. The average digital job posting requires that, just to get an interview, you must have learned to run a brand’s social media accounts, design its assets, optimize its website, write some code, and crunch the numbers. And somehow you picked up all of these skills in 36 months.

That’s why this hiring thing is so hard. Not because there aren’t enough talented people out there, or even because there isn’t enough budget to pay good people; it’s because we have no idea what we’re hiring for so we pay average salaries to produce average work.

The world’s best social media manager wouldn’t even get an interview if they didn’t know how to write html. That hyper-talented SEO is getting screened out by HR if they can’t build layers in Photoshop. And the person who can set direction, solve problems, and lead an effective digital strategy? The job doesn’t even make it onto their radar because the title and salary don’t match their talents.

When we ask for a little bit of everything, we get a lot of nothing.

The brands that are succeeding at building digital teams look at it in exactly the opposite way. They ask themselves: What does success look like for the organization? Then, what do we need to make that happen? Then they hire a person who is highly skilled at doing that thing.

That’s why strategy is so important, and I don’t mean the Get more followers so that we can get the swipe-up feature kind of strategy. I mean the kind of strategy that looks first at setting a clear vision for success, then evaluates the tools that are out there as ways to get there, and carefully selects the right ones for the job.

But what if you’re not hiring? What if you outsource all of this stuff to contractors and agencies?

Outsourcing tactical work without communicating a clear strategy is significantly worse. 

There are some crazy-talented freelancers and agencies out there, but like picking up a free agent off of waivers, they have to be given a playbook or else they’ll have to try to interpret where your business is heading, and run off in a direction that may/may not look anything like what you had envisioned. And that’s made even harder if the person isn’t working in your office.

So, what’s the solution? Of course I’m biased because this is what we help companies to work through every day, but even if it’s not the right time to bring in a professional, then start by working through the following before writing that job description or hiring that agency:

  1. Define what you’re setting out to achieve.
  2. Define the problems to be solved and work to be done to get there.
  3. If it’s specific, hire a specialist and give them tools. If it’s undefined, hire a manager and give them budget to execute. Don’t expect one to do the other’s job.

If you do just those three things you’ll capitalize on the opportunities that matter while missing out on the ones that don’t. If you create job postings like everyone else, then experience has taught me that you’ll end up with a little bit of everything, and a lot of frustration.