The 7 Most Common Hiring Mistakes Marketing Leaders Make

Avoiding these missteps could save your company millions.
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Have you ever hired a marketer who had the perfect resume but sub-par performance? An impressive social media presence but poor people skills?


Bad hires aren’t just socially awkward — they’re expensive. One recruiting agency estimates that the average cost of a bad hire is close to $240,000.* By another estimate, the ROI on a bad hire is -298%.**

Mistakes happen in every industry, though, including marketing. Here are seven common hiring mistakes that can tank your team, and how MarketerHire’s premium talent marketplace can help you avoid them.

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1. You set unrealistic expectations for your marketers.

More than half of marketing leaders cited “unrealistic expectations” as the number one hiring mistake they see in a MarketerHire poll.

“[Marketers] get hired and are expected to do absolutely everything under the sun,” observed Tracey Wallace, director of marketing at MarketerHire. “It’s setting the company up for failure. It’s setting the marketer up for failure. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

“[Marketers] get hired and are expected to do absolutely everything under the sun.”


This growth hacker job description below, for example, is not an anomaly. It’s unfortunately a widespread reality, and it’s bad for everyone involved.


The fix:
MarketerHire manages expectations for companies and marketers, so everyone’s on the same page. We also vet rigorously for well-defined marketing specialties and qualify most marketers for only one area of expertise.

2. You rushed a full-time hire to fill an open spot.

Only fools rush in. MJ Peters, VP of marketing at fire suppression manufacturer Firetrace, has learned from experience that the right person for a full-time role is worth the wait. 

“Be patient. [It’s] better to wait two months for the right candidate than lose six months by hiring the wrong one,” Peters told MarketerHire.

“Be patient. [It’s] better to wait two months for the right candidate than lose six months by hiring the wrong one.”

3. You waited too long to fill a role.

Yes, we just warned you against rushing into a full-time hire. But the cost of not marketing can’t be ignored, either. Marketing should never be the first expense cut, much less neglected altogether. 

“You can’t save your way to profitability,” FreeLogoServices CEO Craig Bloem writes in Inc. “Effective marketing requires time and repetition.”

“You can’t save your way to profitability.”


The fix:
To keep marketing operations from grinding to a halt while you search for the perfect hire, consider hiring an expert freelancer from MarketerHire. We connect customers with marketing experts in as little as 48 hours.

Need an expert marketer ASAP?
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4. You hired only junior marketers to save money.

If you think hiring an expert is expensive, try hiring an amateur. Most business owners and marketing leaders have been burned by unvetted freelancers and “full-service” agencies who outsource to the lowest bidder.

It’s tempting to cut out management to save a buck, but it will cost you in the long run. You need someone who can set strategy and manage people before you can execute in an efficient and sustainable way. 

After a year of searching, Miki Agrawal, founder of Tushy, hired the perfect CMO for her brand. "We had her put a 30-60-90 day challenge together... the thinking around it was so clear, thoughtful, actionable and not pie-in-the sky."

Unfortunately, not all companies have the time or resources to wait a year. Luckily, there's a faster way that doesn't shortcut the vetting process.


The fix:
Connect with experienced, pre-vetted marketing leaders, including interim CMOs and growth marketers, through MarketerHire. Our marketers have worked with fast-growth startups and household names — from Dollar Shave Club and Postmates to Netflix and Twilio — and many of our experts have extensive management experience.

5. You weren’t upfront about the role and its requirements.

You’ve probably been in a role where your day-to-day looked nothing like your job description. Or maybe you were promised things that were never on the table. This toxic bait-and-switch hiring method does a brand more harm than good.

The fix: Avoid burning bridges by asking yourself these questions before hiring:

Or just hire through MarketerHire. Our team helps determine which type of marketer you need, and for how many hours a week. If you only need help with a short-term project, that’s no problem; we don’t require long-term commitments or charge cancellation fees.

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6. You ignored culture fit.

In our hiring poll, 20% of marketers identified “ignoring culture fit” as a common hiring mistake. Perhaps more important than skill is attitude, work ethic, personality and approach. In other words, how you do something is just as important as what you do.

“Managers often focus solely on the experience and skills of the candidate, but character is also important,” writes Michael Hsu, founder and CEO of DeepSky. “The new hire’s personality should match the company culture.”

“Managers often focus solely on the experience and skills of the candidate, but... [t]he new hire’s personality should [also] match the company culture.”

The fix: MarketerHire conducts several interviews to evaluate skills, relevant experience and character. We also give hiring managers a chance to ask candidates their own culture fit questions. Our customers hire their first match 94% of the time and rematching is free.

7. You relied too much on work samples.

Sample work doesn’t give you the full story, as it was often produced collaboratively. You don’t want to hire a writer based on clips, only to find out in their first month that you really wanted to hire their editor.

Before you hire, you need to know what a marketer can do on their own. But asking candidates to complete an unpaid, week-long project is unacceptable. What to do? 

The fix: “I would just test people out as contractors and see who works,” said digital marketing thought leader Neil Patel.

“I would just test people out as contractors and see who works.”


Through a pre-vetted marketing talent platform like MarketerHire, you can do exactly that before committing to more — with no long-term contracts or cancellation fees.

MarketerHire matches companies to the top 5% of expert marketing freelancers — and you don’t have to pay us unless you hire through us. We’ve worked with the most successful, high-growth companies in the U.S., including Netflix, AllBirds, Outer and more. Your company could be next.

*The Cost of a Bad Hire and Red Flags to Avoid (2021), Apollo Technical.
**What Is the True Cost of Hiring a Bad Employee?