Sink or Swim – Creating Your Own Search Talent Pool

By Erika Jones, Training & Development Manager

In an industry so young most colleges don’t have it as a major course of study, we are tasked with ensuring that the people that we hire have the right attributes to be successful search marketers. How do we do this? As Matt mentioned in his Search Engine Watch article, ‘Search Marketing Staffing Crisis’, one thing we do is hire for attitude as much as we hire for skill.

There’s a lot to be said for enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and commitment and passion for the industry. Pair these traits with hands-on education, and the chance for a true love connection between employer and employee (and client and company) increases. But, that’s just the beginning.

As the Training and Development Manager, I am responsible for making certain that everyone who walks through our door attends our Orientation program. The program is a combination of both classroom and on-the-job instruction, and is designed to give new hires a comprehensive overview of all areas of search marketing.

It’s a great first step for those who haven’t been exposed to the specifics of the industry, and a chance for them to learn directly from people who have been in this business for years and know the in’s and out’s of search engine marketing. Employees are enrolled in the program from day 1 and cover all aspects of search – including Natural Search (SEO), Paid Search, Mobile, Web Analytics and Customer Relationship Management.

Through the Orientation program, each new hire is equipped with the skills to set off on their career with ongoing education at every level. We have certification exams in place to make sure people are well versed in all things search, and take care to keep up on the latest and best practices to incorporate into the curriculum.

Why is this Important?

Exposing new hires to classes in all areas of search marketing right away ensures that not only will they get the skills needed to do their job, they will also learn what it takes to perform in other areas of the business. In essence, it's creating a well-rounded search marketer that fully understands how the business works and, in turn, how their work affects a client's campaign.

Knowledge is shared freely from leaders in the field, so employees learn from experienced practitioners in order to begin contributing and growing. Put another way, we’re introducing search neophytes to information and experiences they can’t get anywhere else these days and bringing them up to speed quickly. This is the way we set ourselves apart in the industry, and how we create campaigns that exceed our client’s expectations and goals.

With the shortage of Search talent – what better way to build the individuals, the company and the industry at large than by creating our own talent pool?


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