Digital Skills Academy
Looking for Digital Marketers: the Recruiter’s Perspective

Looking for Digital Marketers: the Recruiter’s Perspective

Interview with Ian Brady, Recruitment Manager, Merrion Recruitment Ltd

About Merrion Recruitment 

Merrion Recruitment is a leading recruitment services company embracing a professional and supportive approach which has been built around understanding the long-term needs of both employers and candidates. 

What is your background?

I have a background in Digital marketing as I was on one of the first college courses that actually focused on digital marketing, SEO, PPC and online analytics. Following on from college, I went to work with Pulse, the creative media education college. Initially I was hired as a traditional marketer as they had some online presence, however, we quickly developed and improved their full online presence. I also taught myself in other important digital tools such as Google Analytics at the same time. At Pulse, I went from being a marketer to head of digital in a relatively short period of time and successfully delivered real growth to their social media and online ROI. 

My education continued as I returned to do a Masters and also some radio advertising! Once my education was in place I founded a digital agency ‘On the Fly Digital’. We offered zero contracts, with real results based revenue. It was hard work, but it was very exciting and a good learning curve. We successfully achieved results for our clients. We had a lot of marketing questions and requirements from our clients and we made sure our clients experience a real return on their investments with websites that were fully optimised and had effective landing pages, all things which now seem simple today. On The Fly coincidentally was founded at a similar time to Merrion Recruitment and I am now working with Merrion Recruitment as a Recruitment Manager focusing on digital and technology. I really enjoy recruiting people to fill the same and similar roles that I had held previously with other companies. 

How has last 12 months been?

It has been very good. We have grown really well, from a few people to over fifteen dedicated people working in offices in Dublin and Cork, with a number of new office locations opening soon.  

What type of candidates are you looking for?

We are looking for digital square pegs (pixels?) to put into exciting square holes! Some companies get digital but unfortunately, a lot are still learning about digital and we have seen that even fewer recruitment companies actually understand digital. This means at times we have an education piece to do, to explain and demonstrate the value of having an online digital presence. More and more companies are coming around to seeing the value of digital marketing and this has resulted in a growing demand for digitally able candidates. I am always out meeting new clients who call us looking for people to hire and we take the time to really find out their actual business needs. The private sector is really gathering pace and we work closely with in-house recruiters and HR teams all over Ireland. These recruiters are busy hiring in-house digital people. These roles were typically all outsourced to digital agencies but we have seen this really change in more recent years with companies having their own in-house digital talent who may work independently or continue to work with digital agencies for specific projects.

We also can offer an audit of a company’s digital footprint and we can also audit candidates, to let a company know how the candidates are actually performing. Successful digital marketing must be in the right context and targeted to your core area. Understanding B2B / B2C is important and knowing whether Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn is the right platform for your company. Digital marketing is good, but sometimes you also need your marketing people to make calls and talk to people too. Many companies are not getting found online as well as they should be, so a mix of strategies is often the key.

What tips what you give to prospective candidates?

The best candidates can be the ones who come from traditional marketing backgrounds, or content creators or journalists. Basically, people who are good at communicating, and being creative and able to design, deliver and execute winning strategies.

It’s also really useful to get yourself Google or Hubspot certified. The Google course can be tough, there are often no one right answers, however, if you do this course, it shows you are willing to keep learning and are up to date with what is happening in the digital marketing space.  These and other similar online courses, such as the BSc Degrees that Digital Skills is providing, show that you are putting in the effort to develop your digital knowledge and expertise and this will help ensure that you can offer more value to a potential employer. 

Is it important for candidates to have a good online presence?

We feel LinkedIn is the most important one, the Facebook for professionals. It can be a big problem if your CV doesn’t match your LinkedIn profile, and is not up to date. Nearly all employers will check your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your skills are up to date. Endorsements are important, so make sure it is for relevant skills. It’s important to drop the non-relevant ones, and rank them strategically too.

Social media gives you a great chance to optimise your content. If you have a blog or portfolio, it is important to use it to demonstrate your ability. You will get found quicker, and recruiters use social media scraping tools to find ideal candidates.

What trends in digital are you excited by?

We categorise digital into two areas, traditional digital activities, and new media trends, such as display ads and video, which are used more and more for digital marketing campaigns. Display ads are now cheap, they no longer needs Flash anymore, and can be created with gifs. Video is really important now too, you can create content which has a big impact. Creating design, display, and the strategy behind it, all of this is and will be important for marketing.

Unboxing videos for example, with a click-through buy button at the end are really effective. MicksGarage, for example, does this very well, with a good ‘buy’ button at the end of their videos explaining how to change the lightbulb in your car. This type of advertising works much better when it is targeted and relevant to what the user is watching.

You said things are busy right now, why is this? 

Since January it is like a tap that has been turned on. There is now lots of money available in Ireland to be spent. Budgets had been squeezed but were released this year. The private sector is now not using agencies but wants to run their digital marketing in-house. We recommend they use a mix of in-house and agency services too. This ensures progress is strategised and audited externally to ensure standards are maintained.

What is Merrion Recruitment looking for at events like the Web Summit and other conferences?

Dublin has been coined as the second city to San Francisco so we’re looking to see who are the next players coming to Dublin from the US. The Web Summit enabled us to keep an ear to the ground. It is a tech event, not specifically for jobs, but you find out a lot by going. It’s also great for social activity and we pushed out a lot of good relevant content too. 

Anything else we should have asked you or you would like to add?

Always ask for a referral. You never know what might come up. As someone looking for a job after college it’s always worth asking if there is any work, even if it is a working internship, it is good experience and could lead to good quality work afterwards.

It’s important not to ignore SME’s too. They will give you better exposure to a wider range of skills, you may get to do some PPC, SEO, display ads, or Google Analytics. The pay is often better for junior roles in this area too.

I began by doing a ten-week digital course and then trained on my own time too. Doing well in digital marketing is about having a good attitude. Do as many extra courses as you can. You will get certified and it will give you an edge over those who have not done those courses.

Find out more about our degrees and short courses:

BSc Degree in Digital Technology and Design

BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation