I recently lost someone due to testing. It was hard to take, a simple test and I’d lost everything.
Lets jump into my time machine and head back to January 2022. New year, new start, do things differently. You know that dance right? Well, I wanted to make a change, I wanted to do things differently, I wanted to give up control. All very exciting.
What was it I wanted to give up and do differently? Meat? Booze? Carbs? Caffeine? Firstly, caffeine, are you serious?! No, none of those things, it’s January, why would I want to give up the things I enjoy during the darkest month of the year?!
I would however like to give something up which will benefit Digital 51. I wanted to hire someone to take over the Digital 51 social media and Marketing mantle. This is big for me.
I love the way we market the business. We hit the market as a new business on March 1st 2021 and we exploded across your LinkedIn feeds with a wave of purple, pink, and white. We have shared videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and so much more. We have gained over 5,000 company followers; we have added thousands more to our personal LinkedIn pages, and had fantastic traffic to our webpage. All designed, and created in-house.
Personally, I’ve loved taking responsibility for marketing the business, it was something I was really excited to do when we opened. I’ve always been lucky to have ideas pouring out of me, but have never been able to embrace and pursue these. Digital 51 has been my chance to embrace my ideas. However, coming into 2022 I knew we were going to open a second office which would stretch my time, plus I wanted (and still want) to improve the external marketing of the business. I am not a marketeer and I believe in having experts to work on the things they know about.
Below are some of the things I would love us to be better at, and were driving my desire to hire:
- We want to automate.
- We want a second Social stream.
- We want to host a minimum of 4 in person events for Product 51 in 2022.
- We want to push the boundaries of our content more.
- Video, video, video, we want LOTS more video!
So, I went off to find someone who would have the passion, love, skills, and desire to take on the challenge. Luckily when you recruit across Creative for your day job, finding people for this type of role is easier than you might think, plus I had real clarity on what I wanted to achieve.
By the end of January I had my shortlist of people. I had a quick interview process:
- Meeting with me to check interest, outline what I was looking for, and where Digital 51 is right now.
- 45-minute video call with Adrienne to discuss culture fit, drivers and the Product 51 community, which is an important part of the role.
Then the final stage:
Virtual as the role was remote, so lets embrace the remote:
‘Show me a 90 day plan to start the journey which will see Digital 51 improve across the 4 identified areas of focus.’
Then it happened. I lost the person I really wanted. I lost my front runner. Why? They did not want to complete the task. No other reason, they liked us, they liked the business, they loved the role, however, they did not want to do the task. They could give me references and show me previous work, why do a task?
We have spoken before about tech-testing within Development based roles. Adrienne recently wrote this brilliant article about case studies within Product Management recruitment. For me if a technical test is specific, valid, and has real world cross over, it’s such a vital stage. Yes, this will require prep, but for the role I was recruiting for, this plan would actually go on to be the road-map the person would follow should they be successful.
Maybe that was the problem? Is doing a task seen as doing free work, with businesses getting all the upside and the person doing the task putting in all the effort? I think it’s a valid question, certainly something I will consider when hiring on this role again.
For me, I am honest, I am not a marketing expert, therefore I want to see a plan in action before we commit to it. This allows me to query, question, challenge, and most importantly praise.
Did I think about changing my plan or recruitment process to keep the person engaged? No, not even a little bit. I do want to see the plan if I am going to give up something which is so important to me and the business. Whilst recruitment is challenging right now, I would advise any business I am recruiting for to do the same thing. You have to stick to the things that are important to you. I would however use it as an opportunity to double check the process.
Do I still need the Adrienne phase, or can we cover that during the task phase for example?
Why am I sharing this? Well firstly I am still responsible for our content as you might have worked out, I ultimately did not fill my own vacancy and have since moved onto new challenges. Secondly to show that even though we know recruitment inside out at Digital 51 and we do it every day, we face the same challenges as you.
Lastly if you are reading this and you love the sound of this role, and are willing to do the 90-day task, then drop me a line and lets speak! Content is one of the best ways to hire which is not harnessed by enough business I believe.
Maybe I dodged a bullet. Maybe I was being unrealistic. I guess only time will tell.
There are no certainties in recruitment right now. The search continues.
This article was written by Simon Brown, the Founder and current juggler of marketing for Digital 51. If you would like to discuss this opportunity with Simon, then please drop him a line on