A marketing assistant conducts research, builds industry trends reports, and copywrites marketing materials. They work closely with your marketing team, supporting its efforts and helping with administrative tasks. When you need to hire a marketing assistant, look for someone who can handle all facets of marketing projects. Begin by determining the job scope and pay, posting the job ad, and reviewing applicants. Then, call their references, run a background check if necessary, and make your offer.
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Step 1: Determine & Write the Job Description
Marketing assistants often handle a variety of tasks. Like any other type of employee, some are more skilled in one area over another, some at a more junior level, and others more senior. The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what you need your marketing assistant to do. Understanding what the role involves will help you streamline your hiring process and find the right employee.
At a minimum, look for candidates with the following skills and experience:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong organizational skills
- Deep understanding of basic marketing concepts
- Marketing campaign development and execution
- Market and client research
- Industry trend and marketing performance reporting
You will probably receive many more applications for entry-level positions than for more senior marketing assistant ones. This is why it’s crucial that you understand what you need this person to do. If you need someone to lead a project from beginning to end, you should discard any applicants with only entry-level experience. You should also include information about your company culture in your job description, which will help applicants decide whether they are a good fit for your company.
At this stage, you also need to set your salary. The current average salary for a marketing assistant is just under $45,000 per year. The salary you should offer will depend on your company’s budget, where your business is located, and the level of experience you want in your new employee. Make sure you’re paying competitive rates by conducting research. Depending on the state where you’re making this hire, you may also be required to put your salary range in the job description. Check your state laws to make sure you’re compliant.
Step 2: Post Job Ad & Review Applicants
As soon as you write the job description, it’s time to post it on job boards to attract candidates. Make sure your job ad contains a few keywords that will help your post show up when people search for marketing assistant jobs.
It’s important to know what kind of employee you’re seeking so that you can review applicants with a specific goal in mind. If you’re looking for an entry-level marketing assistant, you don’t need someone with an expansive portfolio. However, if you need someone who can put together quality marketing materials with little oversight, you’ll need to review applicants’ portfolios so you can get an idea of their work product to ensure it aligns with what you need.
When reviewing candidates, pay special attention to their prior work experience and any samples they provide. The more experienced an applicant is, the more likely they are to provide you with what you need before you ask. So if you’re looking for a more senior-level marketing assistant, they should give you some sample work without your having to ask. This is a small but important detail because it shows that the candidate can anticipate your needs.
For a list of job boards to consider when advertising your job, check out our guide to the best job posting sites.
Step 3: Conduct Interviews
After reviewing all applicants, schedule an interview with those who seem most qualified. Ideally, interview fewer than a dozen candidates. This will reduce the amount of time you have to spend on interviews and ensure that you’re interviewing only the most qualified talent.
During the interview process, you’ll want to ask questions of each candidate to help you understand their abilities and what they can bring to your organization. Great questions include:
- How do you use market research when creating marketing materials?
- Tell me about a time when a client gave negative feedback. How did you handle it and what was the result?
- What’s your ideal client?
- Tell me how you integrate into an established marketing team.
- How do you reach potential buyers through your marketing materials?
When asking these questions, you’re looking to see how candidates will support other members of your marketing team. Marketing assistants usually have a growth mindset and want to move up the ladder. Everyone can benefit from that, but you also need to make sure they can do the job you’re hiring them to do.
Look for answers that give you clues about their creative, analytical, and organizational skills. Avoid job seekers who cannot give you a straightforward answer. Even in a marketing assistant role, a person must be able to effectively communicate with you. If they can’t, they certainly won’t be able to create effective marketing materials.
Step 4: Call References
After you’ve conducted interviews, narrow down your field once more. Try to keep this to about half a dozen or fewer candidates. Interviews should help you organically reduce the number of applicants so that you can more easily choose the best one. Don’t worry if you only have two or three at this point—don’t keep talent in the pool just so you have more options; only keep those you are confident will be able to perform well.
Narrowing down your list of applicants will also reduce the time you need to spend checking references. If a candidate has not provided you with a list of references, it’s at this point that you want to ask them for at least three recent supervisors. Asking for a supervisor ensures that you speak with someone who can talk about the candidate’s work performance, abilities, and skills objectively.
You don’t have to spend a ton of time on the phone with a reference, but make sure you ask at least a few questions.
- How long were you the candidate’s supervisor?
- How would you rate their job performance?
- Why did the candidate leave?
- Would you rehire the candidate?
- How did the candidate work within the team?
- Is there anyone else who may be able to speak about the candidate’s performance?
Asking that last question can help you gain additional insight into the candidate. Job applicants only give you references they know will speak highly of them. Asking for another reference can expand the knowledge you gain during this step to make sure you’re provided with any red flags you should know about before making a hiring decision.
Step 5: Run a Background Check (If Appropriate)
You may want to run a background check on the marketing assistant you intend to hire. But take note, some states require you to provide a formal offer to a candidate before running a background check on them.
Make sure your background check is related to the job. You cannot run a financial background screen on a marketing assistant because they will have little to no contact with your company’s financials. In fact, a background check may not even be necessary for a marketing assistant position. It can delay a start date and add expense to your hiring process.
If you do decide to run a background check, get written permission from the applicant in advance. The background check company you partner with can provide you with a form to have the applicant sign, and it will clearly state why the background check is being run and what information will be provided.
Step 6: Make an Offer
From an operational point of view, hiring a marketing assistant is similar to hiring any other employee. As you have worked your way through the hiring process, a candidate or two may have jumped out. Weigh your options carefully but don’t take too much time—you don’t want to miss out on a stellar candidate.
Once you’ve made your decision, call the candidate you want to offer the job to and give them the good news. Keep this conversation brief but make sure you discuss any additional details like start date and salary to make sure they’re on board.
Once they’ve agreed, send them a formal offer letter—you can use our free offer letter template. Clearly define their salary, start date, job duties, and any company benefits. When they return the signed offer letter to you, it’s time to begin your onboarding process.
Consider a Virtual Marketing Assistant
Depending on the needs of your small business, consider a virtual marketing assistant. They can give you the support you need but without some of the costs associated with hiring an in-house employee.
Many virtual marketing assistants work as contractors, meaning you don’t have to provide benefits, including healthcare and time off. This reduces your overhead while giving you more freedom to reinvest those excess funds back into your business.
It’s important to be careful when partnering with a contractor; you don’t want to turn them into an employee, as that could lead to costly fines and penalties for misclassification. If you choose to partner with a virtual marketing assistant, give them projects to work on and let them set their own hours. If you tell them when to work and what to do during the day, that could lead to them being considered an employee. Make sure you’re paying independent contractors properly as well.
Partnering with a virtual marketing assistant is similar to hiring an in-house employee. You want to research your options, interview candidates, and speak with current clients to get their perspective on the work the virtual marketing assistant provides. However, you should avoid running a background check because you’re partnering with another company, not hiring an employee.
Instead of an offer letter, you would sign an independent contractor agreement. The contract will define the terms and scope of work that the virtual marketing assistant will provide to your company.
Following these steps will help you make the right decision for your company, whether you hire an in-house marketing assistant or partner with a virtual marketing assistant. Finding the right employee for your small business will take time, energy, and diligence, but it will be well worth your time and effort to make sure you get the right person for your marketing assistant position.