VP of Recruiting Shares 3 Skills You Need to Get a Startup Marketing Job

Photo by  rawpixel

Photo by rawpixel

There are so many tips floating around the internet on what startup CEO's are really looking for when interviewing candidates but we were curious if there's any tips specifically for startup marketing candidates. Some of the most common tips when interviewing for a startup include being truly passionate and excited about the role (and more importantly the startup itself!) as well as a "can-do" attitude. But if you are interviewing with a startup CEO for a marketing role, what are a few specific things you will need to prove to get hired? 

We chatted with Daniel Miller, Co-Founder and VP of Recruiting at Empowered Staffing to learn more. Daniel is a co-founder himself and works with many startups hiring digital marketing, e-commerce & tech roles, so he was the perfect person to share a few tips. 


Startup Marketing Interview Tips From Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller Empowered Staffing

Daniel Miller

Co-Founder and VP of Recruiting, Empowered Staffing

Daniel Miller is a human encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to knowing people, backgrounds, and making connections. He started recruiting while still in high school because of his passion for research and his technical skills. He then became the top recruiter in his office and trained other recruiters on how to properly research and find top talent. After business school, he was presented with an opportunity to come to Chicago and hire up an eCommerce company that grew to become an Inc. 500 company. After the office was built up, Daniel would get calls from different companies with complex and high level searches to help them recruit and build up their offices. Daniel worked with start up companies to the top Digital marketing firms in the U.S. and big box retailers to help find them the best talent in their industries for the last 12 years. Daniel decided to start an office of his own as he was getting a lot of clients organically from his reputation and that is when Empowered Staffing began.

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What was your day to day like as an SVP at an ad agency?

"The beauty of working at an ad agency is that each day if different and brings new challenges. I spent about a week out of the month on the road, traveling to client sites, presenting creative ideas or marketing plans. Back at the agency, I worked to understand the needs of senior clients and partners, communicated those to the team, and delivering either strategy or creative to meet business objectives."

How did you know this what the right time to quit your job and start T is for Tame?

"I started working on the idea about 6 months before I officially left my job. I’m a Mom of 2 year old twins, and my time between family responsibilities and work is very limited. It got to the point where I knew I needed to prioritize T is for Tame over my job. If I didn’t put the business first when I knew it needed the most attention, I likely never would."

What has been the most helpful thing about having a marketing background while building T is for Tame?

"I was fortunate to partner with some of the top marketing minds in the industry. One thing I noticed, whether I was advertising crackers, dog treats or hairspray: the clients that took the biggest risks, were almost always the most successful. Those clients recognized that mistakes may happen, but one of the biggest mistakes you can make in marketing is to go unnoticed. I take that to heart in everything I do for T is for Tame."

What is your best tip for someone considering making the jump into entrepreneurship?

"Ask everyone and anyone questions. I had to teach myself the manufacturing process; from stability testing to sourcing product. I find that people are more understanding and gracious if you simply admit that you are learning, and ask for help. I still like to end every call with a simple question, “can you think of anything important that I didn’t ask you?” You would be surprised what you learn when you just ask."


3 Marketing Tips from An Advertising SVP Turned Founder


1. Spend the money on branding.

You have just a few second to capture attention. If your idea is unique, that's half the battle, but getting someone to stop and actually listen long enough to know that it is unique, is the truly difficult part. Branding is the easiest way to set yourself apart (everything from design, to packaging, or how your message comes across.)

2. Determine the richest target first

First, you need to narrow your target. It can't just be Moms. It should be first time Moms that stay at home or work from home that love photography. Start with the person you KNOW will love your product, service or idea. If you get them to buy, they will tell others about it.

3. Talk to your target directly

I'm assuming like me, you don't have a lot of money to spend on advertising. Find out where your target is, and spend your money to speak to her directly. For instance, you could run a FB targeted ad, but even better, you could join a FB group about your topic and ask the admin to post about your business (for a fee, but sometimes free.)

"It’s hard to say which is the best, but I would say copy, tradeshow/sponsorships and partner marketing can truly bring about quick success for a startup company." 

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Startup Marketing Interview Quick Tips

You probably already know it's imperative to prove your passion and great work ethic when you are interviewing at a startup but what are the key marketing skills you need to prove in order to land your dream startup marketing job? Here's some of our favorite quick tips from Daniel and Empowered Staffing! 

  • Have a get it done attitude & be willing to be hands on

  • Startup CEO's are most likely to select the candidate most excited to join

  • Always bring a list of three strong/strategic questions

  • Be ready to talk about past successes, things you learned along the way and data

  • Startups would rather hire smart candidates with some past experience