Interview with Paul Roetzer, Founder and CEO of PR 20/20

Today we do a Q&A on applying inbound marketing approaches to recruiting. Here’s an interview I did with Paul Roetzer, Founder & CEO of PR 20/20, a firm in Cleveland that specializes in inbound marketing and PR. Paul and I met when we both spoke at the MarTech conference this summer.

Read on to learn about how Paul’s recruiting approach:

–          showcases the culture

–          keeps candidates engaged

–          evaluates something fuzzy, yet important: interest

Paul, you hire analytical, tech-savvy marketers. What are you looking for specifically?

Analytical marketers are not, for the most part, trained in schools. So for entry level people, we need to identify and train talent.

I find that examining someone’s writing shows if they have the analytical and strategy chops for the work here. By analyzing someone’s writing, you can see if they can connect thoughts, process information, and put it into logical forms. But of course, not everyone who’s a strong writer wants to work with numbers.

Our hiring is speculative – we’re making bets on our ability to draw an interest in analytics out of people who had never thought about analytics before.


How do you apply inbound marketing to identify these analytically-oriented candidates?

When people come to our website interested in jobs, we ask them to create a profile [see it here]. They then get dropped into a lead scoring and lead nurturing workflow that we monitor.

This gives us behavioral indicators to see if a candidate is engaged with our brand, and proactive in seeking additional information and resources. When we first start a conversation with a prospective new hire, we suggest they do certain things: take Inbound Marketing training through HubSpot, do Google Analytics training, and download some of our content, for instance. We send them emails with links to these resources, so we can monitor whether they click through and do what we suggest.

Then a couple of weeks later, we do an interview and we ask whether they did the training. The answer is one important piece for us to evaluate – not the only piece, but an important one.

Also, since the candidate profile form is connected to our marketing automation system, we can easily segment and target candidates by specific skills and experience levels. While we’re only 15 people today, the process is designed to scale to dozens, or even hundreds, of employees.


How do you attract talent in the first place?

First, we create content specifically to demonstrate our culture. People see that we’re not just any agency. They see quotes about how people love working here, and testimonials of what people here think of each other. Partially this is for clients to feel connected to our brand. But it also has a recruiting benefit.

Then we have premium content for candidates that are in our pipeline, such as e-books for download like this one. This way, we can nurture candidates over time.

Also, I have a private list on Twitter – candidates that I have connected with and that I monitor. When we’re hiring, I reach out to them.


What else is important in your hiring?

There is enormous value to someone who wants to be part of our culture. We interviewed someone on a recruiting trip once who was still a college sophomore. For two years we she kept in contact, subscribed to our blog, and downloaded stuff from our site. We recently hired her.


How about building a pipeline of talent over time?

Our hiring lead consistently conducts introductory interviews, even when we’re not actively hiring. This is helpful because in our business, we never know when a new account is coming in. She sends a follow-up email with a few recommendations of what to do to be more valuable in the marketplace – books to read, experiences to have, software to learn, etc. We see this practice as building goodwill and moving the industry forward, one candidate at a time.

We also use LinkedIn to keep tabs on mid-to-senior level candidates, and look for opportunities to engage with contacts in our network.


What can hiring managers do as a first step in applying their marketing chops to recruiting?

Understand what marketing technology enables. Then define your candidate personas. Have HR and marketing create content that draws people in, educates them about the brand, and creates a candidate journey.

Realize that a great web presence and a good experience can make candidates feel more confident in their decision to join a company. Compensation still plays an important role in career decisions, but the best candidates are seeking stability, growth opportunity and cultural fit.


Thanks, Paul!