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Projected to be worth $1.5 trillion globally by 2030, the fast-growing digital marketing and advertising sectors are certainly having their moment in the spotlight.

So why are competitive companies having so much trouble finding world-class marketing talent?

Part of the problem lies in the breadth of the overall digital marketing field. There are numerous specialty and subspecialty roles under the generalized umbrella term "digital marketing." That versatility and diversity gives digital marketing its power; however, it's also why it can be hard to find people with the right expertise and training to fill super-specific positions.

Too often, companies encounter the frustration of meeting candidates who look great on paper but aren't a good "real-world" fit. What makes an applicant sound knowledgeable on a resume doesn't always translate to that applicant's having the in-depth experience or skills to do the job.

The understandable result: hiring managers become increasingly concerned they'll never find suitable digital marketers for their teams.

The good news is that looking for top-tier digital marketing gurus isn't the same as hunting for unicorns. Exceptional candidates with impressive abilities are out there, but most companies don't have the in-house time, resources, or people to search for them.

Specialized recruitment agencies, however, do.

Why Use a Recruitment Agency for Digital Marketing Talent?

Specialized recruitment agencies that focus on bringing clients digital marketing talent can be gamechangers for companies of all sizes.

Unlike generalist staffing firms, specialty recruitment professionals drill down on sourcing and recruiting for narrow skillsets and positions. They also tend to personalize their relationships with client companies, working hard to understand their clients' unique digital marketing talent needs.

That commitment to detail enables the recruiting agency to funnel only those people toward their clients' openings who can both "walk the walk" and "talk the talk."

There are additional advantages of using a recruitment agency when searching for digital marketing experts.

The biggest is the reduced risk of making a poor hiring choice. Offering employment to the wrong person can cause a lasting and expensive ripple effect across a marketing department and a company. On average, a bad hire costs an employer about $17,000. That's an expense to avoid if possible.

How does working with a marketing talent recruitment agency temper the "bad hire" risk? The agency takes on the responsibility of vetting applicants at the earliest stages, helping to eliminate candidates whose performance would likely be lackluster.

Could a generalized recruiter try to do something similar? Maybe. But generalized hiring firms don't have the lightning-focused experience to vet for digital marketing. Digital marketing is a nuanced industry; understanding which candidates can make an impact right away requires an in-depth understanding of how digital marketing works at micro and macro levels.

Another significant benefit of using a recruitment agency is access to the recruiters' deep network and expertise.

Digital marketing recruiters invest in building diverse and robust candidate pools to achieve a reputation for recruitment agency effectiveness. They also stay well-connected within the digital marketing field, allowing them to remain on the industry's cusp. They're the go-to people for the latest trends, platforms, and emerging skill sets.

For recruiters, having potential digital marketing talent (and suggestions) at the ready isn't optional. It's essential for serving their clients.

Best-Practices for Hiring a Specialized Recruitment Agency

Even if you've worked with generalized staffing firms in the past, you will want to approach a partnership with a specialized recruitment agency differently. Each move will help you make the most of your collaboration to put great digital marketers in your open seats.

1. Think of the relationship as consultative

To get the best outcome from your relationship, think of your partnership as consultative.

Having back-and-forth conversations about your needs allows you to make use of your recruiters' extensive knowledge. It also provides you with the opportunity to share your thoughts and contribute in meaningful ways.

2. Learn as much as you can

A digital marketing-focused recruitment agency works in the industry trenches every day. Therefore, its employees have a wealth of knowledge. And they're usually pleased to share their insights. You'll want to tap into that knowledge routinely.

The more you uncover about the digital marketing realm, the more confident you'll be when making hires. Even if you're in HR and not part of your company's digital marketing group, you'll feel good having some working know-how of the field.

3. Make sure your contractual arrangement is fair

You'll be signing a contractual agreement with any recruitment agency you choose. Sift through it to ensure the agreement is mutually beneficial. Ideally, it will include a guarantee period, as well as a policy to protect your company.

If you're not feeling comfortable with something in the contract, speak up immediately. For a positive experience, it's essential that you trust your digital marketing recruitment partner from the very beginning.

* * *

If you want to effectively attract digital marketing talent, putting out a job advertisement and hoping for gold isn't good enough.

Rather than betting that you'll get high-caliber candidates, put in a call to a specialty recruitment agency that concentrates on digital marketing talent. That way, you can spend less time without key players and more time producing digital marketing wins for your company.

More Resources on Recruiting and Hiring Marketing Talent

How to Attract and Retain Top B2B Marketing Talent

How to Reach the Right Candidates With Programmatic Recruitment

How to Recruit and Retain Gen Z Talent [Infographic]

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image of Marti Willett

Marti Willett is the president of Digital Marketing Recruiters, a specialized firm dedicated to matching talented digital marketing professionals with growth-focused businesses.

LinkedIn: Marti Willett