19. 07. 2018

Own your digital career development

Building your career should be exciting and empowering, but sometimes it can feel as though the speed and direction of our progress is out of our hands.Looking to take back control?Here are some simple, actionable ways to make sure you’re in the driving seat of your own development.  How is it that some people power upwards through the career ladder faster than you can track, while others inch forward with a minor promotion every few years?At Adaptive Digital I’ve had the opportunity to work with digital marketing professionals across a variety of disciplines – search, social, programmatic, mobile, e-commerce, analytics and more.I’ve seen some candidates’ careers shoot up like rockets, leaping from promotion to promotion and cycling up through the pay grades. (My colleague Owain recently covered five great examples here).Others have moved more slowly, and I’m often asked by candidates frustrated with the pace of their career progress what they can be doing to keep moving forward.How do the shooting stars do it?The lady who went from Email Marketing Manager to E-Commerce Director in the blink of an eye… is she superhuman?Probably not – she’s most likely applying a few simple strategies that put her in control of her own career.Based on my work with career high-flyers, here are the best ways to ensure you own your progress.Work backwards from your goalsGoals can be defined in terms of earnings, job title, responsibility and many other factors.Whatever they are, you need to build a set of stepping stones to get there.If you’re earning €85,000 and your goal is to reach €100,000+, you need to map your journey to that goal.Calculate how much a realistic annual increase may be (either through internal promotion or switching companies) and you can structure some time-frames to get to your goal.Waiting around for a 20% raise won’t work.Turning goals into plans is the secret. Plans keep you focused and ensure you work on other areas of your development to make progress achievable.Fight StagnationThe corporate world has conditioned many of us to think of progress and development in annual cycles.Why?That’s often the frequency with which our positions and our pay get reviewed by employers.If you want to truly take control of your development, you need to set your own time-frames.I’ve worked with many ambitious digital marketers who break that 12 month cycle down into 6, or even 3.With each period, they hold themselves accountable to progressing in key areas of their development, such as:Learning – have I acquired new skills? Do I understand things better?Results – am I doing this better than I was before?Network – have I made new connections that will help me?Exposure – have I interacted with a new team, tool, customer or project type?Earnings – have I taken steps towards a raise, promotion, bonus or financial improvement?Involve othersCompanies are seldom run by one individual. They’re led by a collaborative management team who lean on each other for support, advice and motivation.Leaving one person in charge is too much stress, too much risk and unlikely to produce results.Your career is one of the most important elements of your life – why not take the same approach?Proactively involving friends and colleagues in your career goals can give you some much-needed accountability and drive.Your manager is another key person to speak with. In a best case scenario, you’ll bring out the best in him or her as they help you to succeed. In unhappier situations, you’ll see their limitations and realize you may not hit your objectives under their supervision.Know when to move onIt’s important to explore potential within your current company before throwing in the towel.Good companies value ambition and will work with you to help develop your career.With that said, not all companies can give you the framework you need to reach your goals, however hard you work. Even if you do everything right you can only ever be part of the equation.Don’t stick with a company that can’t provide the opportunities, culture or investment to enable your progress. If you try and make it work but are feeling push-back, it may be the right time to make a change.* * *Adaptive Digital provides recruitment services for professionals in the digital marketing industry.Anyone looking to discuss their next career step, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or at info@adaptive-digital.comYou can view a full list of Adaptive’s digital marketing career opportunities here.
12. 07. 2018

How to write brilliant interview follow-up notes

Are ‘thank you’ notes after interviews and outdated concept? Far from it. They can have a big impact and give candidates a leading edge in tight selection processes. Here’s a guide to make sure yours hits the mark.Have you ever written a follow-up note after an interview?Many people haven’t.Some candidates feel it’s being pushy to email the interviewer straight after their meeting.Other people think the whole concept of a ‘thank you’ note is something you’re more likely to do when someone gifts you a toaster as a wedding present…However, from our experience at Adaptive Digital recruiting for both mid-level and senior roles across the digital marketing industry, follow-up notes can be a big opportunity for job-seekers to advance their candidacy and gain the upper hand over their competition.Your bonus interview roundThe value of a follow-up note depends on how you think about it.If you approach it as a tedious formality, thanking the interviewer for their time and “looking forward to next steps”, then the outcome is unlikely to move the needle.Think about this instead: what if you had a bonus round as part of your interview process, one that other candidates didn’t get?Imagine that after the hiring manager has finished all their interviews, you can go back into their office for a private 1-1 meeting…No rigid interview format, no tests or interrogation, no time pressure.That’s your follow-up note – your bonus round.The right way to think about follow-upsWhat this in mind, let’s have a quick look at exactly what role follow-up notes should play in an interview process.Effective thank you notes are NOT:A formality that can be dashed out in 30 seconds, just to tick a boxSomething which can be copied and pasted from one company to the nextEffective thank you notes ARE:An extension of the interview processAn opportunity to address any pending topics from the live conversationA chance to gain an advantage over other candidatesA platform to show initiative, professionalism, interest and commitmentA natural segue into the next round of discussionsHiring managers know this too – they’re seeing you in action outside of the fixed interview steps. They learn more about you – your correspondence style, your timing, your communication, how you’re visualizing the role and your relationship-building skills.It’s a golden opportunity you can’t afford to miss.Five ways to write effective post-interview follow-up notes:Be genuineIf your note is filled with business jargon and empty platitudes, you might as well not send it. Sitting down to write what you think the hiring manager wants to read is not going to work.If you’re excited about the opportunity and think you’re a fit, let that sentiment take center stage and the note will have a much more authentic feel to it.Be professional, but be real.Be specificBefore you send your note, read it back and ask yourself “could this have been written for another company or another role?”If the answer is yes, it’s not specific enough. Effective notes will be based on the conversations with the hiring manager, the business problems and opportunities that the company faces. The current team, the tools they use, their customers…Work hard to connect those unique elements and make sure your note reads personally and specifically for the recipient.Take the initiative Thank you notes are a great chance to show you can do more than just follow the flow of an interview process.If it’s appropriate, you can address any points of the interview where you felt you didn’t shine, or any aspects of your experience that may not meet the job requirements 100%.On a more positive note, you can suggest aspects of the role or company you’re looking forward to learning more about, or comment on any additional reading or research you’ve done since the meeting.Include othersIf there is more than one person involved in the hiring process, try to make sure your message reaches them all.If you don’t have their direct contact information, mention them in your note and ask that it be forwarded to them.Remember, this is your ticket to the next round of interviews, and if you’ve reinforced your candidacy effectively then you want as many people as possible to be notified.Sell your solutionCrucially, your note should close with a detailed statement explaining how hiring you will help the manager and help the business. There’s nothing wrong with “looking forward to being part of the team”, but if that’s all you’re offering then you’re not giving the hiring manager much incentive to pick you over someone else.A really brilliant note should sign off with a compelling picture showing the positive impact you’ll make if you get the job. * * *Putting it all together, an effective thank you note should help you to stand out from the pack as a serious, professional candidate with a strong, business-driven interest in the specific role.Good luck!And if you have additional tips and advice for digital industry peers, we’d love to hear them below.You can check out Adaptive Digital’s full list of digital marketing job opportunities across SEM, Social, Programmatic, AdTech, Mobile and Ecommerce here.
29. 06. 2018

Agency Director to VP - How to Make the Jump

Obtaining a VP title is a career goal pursued by many ambitions digital marketers. Within most agency hierarchies, it’s a coveted tier of leadership that only a select group of top performers ever reach. What does it take to get there?Based on our deep experience working with digital marketing professionals, Adaptive is often asked by Director and Group Director-level candidates what employers are looking for when making VP hires or promotions.So here you have it – our top 3 tips on how to build your profile to make VP grade.1. Establish thought leadership.‘Thought leadership’ is a term that gets thrown around so much that it can get a little blurry. When it comes to career progression, we’re talking about documenting your expertise in a way that showcases your capabilities and experience together with those of your company. Start taking steps towards this, and not only will your value become more apparent to your seniors but also to a wider audience.This doesn’t mean becoming a Twitter addict and amassing thousands of generic followers, it’s to do with creating content that gives others some transparency into your capabilities. This blog example from Martin Jacobs, GVP of Technology at Razorfish, is a great example.Thought leadership doesn’t have to be purely external, either. It can mean being more strategic in the way that you circulate your work or accomplishments within an organization, such as sharing client pitches or other valuable materials you create.Bottom line – work on creating durable and shareable illustrations of your ability to supplement your daily work and interactions. This will boost signals of your worth to executive management.  2. Build a team that backs you.Director-level candidates who invest in their team members and act as coaches for professional development stand a far greater chance of making it to the next level in their own careers.The effects of this investment will be widespread – people talk, and talk travels.Developing internal advocates and helping others achieve excellence can have a positive impact on everything from in-office gossip to 360 reviews and even exit interviews. This support base is a powerful platform which can broadcast your reputation across an organization and ensure you’re always top of mind when promotion opportunities are under discussion.3. Show breadth of vision.One of the big differentiators between candidates who interview for VP-level roles and those who land the jobs is their ability to show a wider business vision than the basic requirements of their daily roles.A simple building block of this is commercial awareness – thinking more like a business owner and less like an employee.The higher someone rises in an organization, the bigger their field of view needs to be. Where mid-managers are concerned with solving short and near-term challenges for their teams and clients, top management have their eyes on the horizon for long-term threats and opportunities.Candidates pushing to reach VP level need to show that they can think this way too, and display not just technical or managerial accomplishment within their roles but an understanding of how macro commercial, social and political currents will impact the organization and its customers.* * *You can view a full list of Adaptive Digital’s senior marketing career opportunities here. 
19. 06. 2018

Will these 3 AI trends change CRO forever?

In the current digital recruitment climate, it’s harder to find someone who doesn’t need a great data scientist than someone who does. Marketing teams and agencies worldwide are frantically assembling the strongest teams they can build to meet the Big Data revolution head on, and devise strategies to harness maximum benefit for their brands and clients.Fueled by an abundance of data and advances in Artificial Intelligence, the Conversion Rate Optimization space is in a state of near-perpetual disruption as Machine Learning creates endless possibilities to improve the online customer experience.From the wealth of topics, here are 3 trends leading the changing demands in CRO.Chatbots Let’s jump in straight with an example – Drift. Drift offers marketers AI-powered intelligent chatbots, which can not only provide answers to website visitors but also take an active role in the sales process by asking questions too. Drift bots can even book meetings on behalf of sales teams having answer customer enquiries, massively decreasing the sales cycle and also opening up 24/7 functionality.IBM Watson also provides the engine for companies to build custom AI tools, and the field of automated conversational marketing tools continues to grow.Whilst some CRO teams are up to their eyes in bewildering data, some have chosen to let the bots take over and guide customers to purchase in a fraction of the time any amount of UI site tinkering could achieve.Intelligent Traffic OptimizationBack in October 2017, Optimizely announced Stats Accelerator which claimed to allow companies to accelerate experimentation by up to 300%, and significantly reduce the workload involved in manually adjusting traffic to top-performing site or e-store variations. The magic happens via an algorithm which allows marketers to confidently make traffic switches with less data than previously required, offering huge potential for time-sensitive scenarios like flash or seasonal sales where manual data collection won’t cut it.Contextually-relevant PersonalizationAI-driven advances in areas such as recommendation engines and other predictive algorithms have finally helped marketers break a long-standing deadlock, and we’re thankfully no longer offered variations of the exact item moments after checkout in online stores… at least, not as much as before. At last, algorithm-powered recommendations can leverage Machine Learning to add contextual relevance, ensuring no more AI gaffes.Along with a detailed study of the methods used by e-commerce personalization giants such as Amazon to gain insight into industry best practices, CRO professionals can also keep pace with the market by researching purpose-built tools such as Nudgr and Sentient Ascend.* * *You can check out Adaptive’s latest analytics and CRO job openings here.
15. 06. 2018

Why 99% of the candidates we place don't fit the job description

Adaptive Digital places hundreds of digital marketing professionals each in jobs every year, and guess what – 99% of them don’t match the published job description.Wait… what? A bit of a risky thing for a recruiter to say in a public forum, surely?And yes, in some ways it is.But it’s also true - and there’s a logic behind it that offers a valuable lesson for candidates everywhere looking to advance their careers.Let’s give that statement some context: Adaptive Digital places candidates across all areas of the digital marketing spectrum – search marketing, mobile, social, analytics, e-commerce… we secure positions for candidates at entry-level to VP, and almost none of them directly fit the job description produced by the client.Does this mean we’re giving our clients a poor service?Far from it – we recruit for some of the world’s largest digital agencies and corporate marketing teams and have partnerships dating back ten years.So why do so many candidates get jobs they don’t qualify for on paper? The Job Description Is Just A WishlistMany of us get enthusiastic when thinking about a possible career change, then talk ourselves out of exploring possibilities when we start browsing job descriptions online and disqualifying ourselves from application.Not enough years of X.Haven’t managed budgets of £Y.Sometimes it’s helpful to have a think about how most job descriptions come into being.In a best-case scenario, hiring managers sit down and try to condense a complex range of intangible, non-quantifiable assets of a human being into a one-page document. Often, a job description is created by an internal recruiter or HR team member paraphrasing on behalf of the hiring manager, or Frankenstein-ing a JD together from previous versions.So job descriptions are often imperfect.That’s not to dismiss their value – they’re a vital part of the recruitment process, and our team bases our work daily off the guidance given by our clients.But when it comes to assembling top-performing teams, JDs are exactly that – guidance. Recruiters and career-minded candidates work with that guidance to find a match that goes beyond a simplistic equation of CV + JD = match.Not All Experience Is EqualAnother thing that creates a major disconnect between hiring managers and candidates is the tradition of quantifying experience in years:“8+ years’ experience in marketing, with a focus on digital and content marketing”“Minimum 3 Years’ experience with Bid Optimisation, Ad Rotation, Audience Profiling & Location Targeting” Though it’s helpful as a broad gauge, hiring managers are really looking for someone who is great at what they do!5 years of working without enthusiasm or curiosity is not a like-for-like comparison with 3 years of working with energy, excellence and a continual focus on self-improvement. That’s why we always encourage candidates to base their CVs around what they’ve achieved and how they work, rather than approaching the job market with a profile that looks like the JD of their previous job.What hiring managers wantIn our daily roles as recruiters, we see exceptionally well-qualified candidates fail at interview where less experienced peers succeed.Why?Because technical skills are almost never the main reason candidates are selected by top companies.Yes, you need to have a relevant base of knowledge for a role. While companies can train, the learning curve can’t be too steep or too long.But beyond experience and technical ability, the vast majority of hiring managers are looking for people who will provide long-term value and be an asset to the team.For job-seekers in digital marketing, this means:Willingness to learn – hiring managers love welcoming people onto their teams who display internal drive to stay curious about new ways to achieve marketing goals. The pressure quickly piles up on any team or department lead if they are the only person expected to innovate or find new ways to solve problems.  Viewing marketing holistically – with so many digital marketing and e-commerce teams structured around channels, it’s a common frustration for hiring managers to interview candidates who show no awareness or interest in how their role fits the bigger picture. As companies grow and evolve, team members who understand the broader marketing mix prove invaluable over colleagues happy to remain silo-ed.Caring about team success – ultimately, any digital marketing effort is about driving top-line results for the company or client. Candidates who make a habit of relating their contribution to team success typically shine brighter in interviews than those who see their work only in the context of their assigned goals or KPIs. Demonstrate that you’re joining a team to help make everyone around you successful, and you’ll open doors even when your hard skills may not make the grade.How to benefitSmart digital marketers looking to advance their careers can learn to understand the qualities a company wants, not just the list items.Once you’ve deconstructed a JD to understand what a business needs from the role, you can compare this much more accurately to your skill set and experience, and shape your CV accordingly.When it comes to interviews, remember to let the key factors shine – motivation, focus on team work, desire for progress, investment in learning, problem-solving skills and flexibility… these are almost never in a JD – but they’re key!Pulling it all together, you can learn to narrate your experience to match the needs of the role, and give yourself the best possible chance of landing your next dream role.Good luck with your search!***Ready to make your move? You can browse Adaptive Digital’s full list of digital marketing job opportunities across Europe and North America here.
13. 06. 2018

Three Must-Have Search Marketing Skills for 2018

After 10 years in the digital recruitment space, recruitment of Search Marketing professionals remains a central focus for Adaptive Digital. As the search landscape continues to evolve, we share 3 top skills candidates need to be adding to their repertoire to stay competitive and versatile in the current job climate. There’s something new in search every day. Algorithms, AI, platform evolution and shifting consumer behaviour all combine to keep search marketing professionals permanently acquiring new skills to stay relevant and continue delivering results for clients. As specialist industry recruiters, we have a front-row seat to learn what employers are looking for more of as the hiring landscape changes with demand. As we approach the mid-point of the year, these are the skill trends we’ve observed which continue to shape the way the search marketing industry is moving. Voice search With futuristic voice assistant tools like Google Duplex on the horizon, search marketing professionals need to ensure their knowledge is up to date on the ins and outs of how exactly voice search will impact local businesses and the world of search. Among other concerns, this means an understanding of strategies to gain footholds in the coveted ‘position 0’ answer boxes on SERPs where voice assistant tools often pull data from. SEO Content Writing The days of manipulative keyword optimization are long gone, and modern search marketers need some content strategy in their mix to ensure they are at the top of their game. Search engine requirements continue to award authority to sites which offer genuine, valuable ‘high-quality’ content to users, displacing those which have been mechanically assembled with pure SEO in mind. For search marketers, an awareness of the increasing interplay between content and search is vital to guide customers in the right direction and build durable, effective search strategies.  Mobile-first Indexing As Google moves to acknowledge the growing dominance of mobile device usage, traditional search rankings based on desktop devices are on the way out. Already commencing roll-out, Google’s Mobile-first index will have a profound effect on all sites not optimized for mobile usage. Businesses whose mobile site offers poor user experience or substantially different content from their desktop site may see their desktop pages cease to rank in search results. * * * Adaptive Digital’s recruitment services in the search marketing space cover a broad range – we recruit for some of the world’s major agencies, as well as staffing in-house roles with e-retailers and top international brands. One thing is common across our work – hiring managers are looking for forward-facing candidates who can demonstrate what they’re doing to keep pace with market movements. You can check out Adaptive Digital’s search marketing job opportunities here.