If you are looking for the next great team members for your marketing operations team, what qualities do you look for? And where do you go to find the right people?

If you are looking for the next great team members for your marketing operations team, what qualities do you look for? And where do you go to find the right people?

These are not trivial questions. It takes a unique skill set to succeed in marketing operations, and demand exceeds the supply of qualified candidates in many markets. Sometimes it takes a little ingenuity to find the right candidate for your team. After all, it’s not as if you can recruit from university programs that train people in the marketing operations function – this kind of program simply doesn’t exist.

I recently attended a gathering of marketing operations professionals, the annual MOCCA Executive Forum in San Francisco, where this topic was part of a lively panel discussion of the state of the marketing operations function.

Let’s start with attributes of the ideal marketing operations hire. Hiring managers frequently look for certain traits above and beyond the skills and experience listed on a resume. For marketing operations hires, here are some of the desired candidate attributes:

Marketing Operations

  • Left-brain strengths. There is perpetual interest in finding marketing operations staff with logical and analytical orientation. In fact, the conference panelists agreed that the top hire to build a new marketing operations team would be someone comfortable with data, measurement and analysis.
  • People skills. Interestingly, people and communication skills also top the list. Marketing operations staff can’t just sit in a corner and crunch data; they need to build relationships and alignment with key stakeholders, too.
  • Curiosity. Many hiring managers look for candidates who are naturally inquisitive. In marketing operations, it’s a plus to be a problem solver and interested in how things work.
  • Comfortable with tools. As technology is vital for marketing strategy and execution, finding marketing operations staff who are good with tools is critical. Another bonus is finding people who are willing to learn and build new skills in this area.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. Some organizations perform these assessments on all employees. Panelists said that both INTJ and ENTJ types make great marketing operations staff. They can be introverts or extroverts, but should all be strong in intuition, thinking and judgment.

Where do you go to find candidates with these qualities? Some interesting (and creative) suggestions were tossed out:

  • Investment banking. Organizations have had luck finding marketing operations staff with strong data and analytics skills by searching in the investment banking profession. Related areas mentioned were finance and economics.
  • The sciences. Other organizations have mined the laboratory sciences areas, including physics and meteorology, to find logical, curious and analytical candidates who are fantastic with numbers.
  • IT. There is an increasing amount of skill and personnel transfer between marketing and IT these days. Your next great marketing operations hire might currently be working for the CIO.
  • Other operations functions. Look for operations people from non-marketing functions who want to do a rotation in marketing. They already have knowledge of the business and can be taught marketing concepts (sometimes skipping over some bad habits!).
  • Consultancies and agencies. Large consulting firms hire young, smart MBAs and give them a crash course in problem solving across all types of businesses. New agencies that combine marketing DNA with analytics and technology execution are emerging.

If you’re struggling to find your next great marketing operations hire, don’t despair. The person with the right attributes and skills is out there – maybe just not in the place you expected him or her to be.