Over the past few months, I have met with dozens of digital marketing agency owners in the US, most of them from Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
While they all had different points of view, they agreed on something: it is getting more and more difficult to hire and retain good digital marketers in the US and wage requirements are rising. Although there are many good digital marketers in the US, the demand for them is high and continues to increase.
Many agencies have since embraced remote work; this helps, but does not solve the problem.
Since the company I co-founded has a team of 300+ digital marketers based in Latin America, I asked why they do not opt to hire full-time employees overseas. That’s how I learned some valuable lessons:
- Finding good talent overseas, or at least those compatible with US standards, is not easy.
- Some agencies have had bad experiences. Hiring overseas has its risks.
- In digital marketing, real-time collaboration is critical, so people must be in a similar time zone, limiting the countries from which offshoring is possible.
- Legal & administrative work needs to be taken care of somehow.
Furthermore, a proper cultural fit is a key element for experience and technical knowledge. The US work culture is different from Latin America’s (in general), and only a small percentage of Latin Americans are compatible with the culture of high-performing digital marketing agencies.
Thus, even though hiring remote Latin American digital marketers can solve the hiring challenges of US agencies, it is not easy to get it right. Here are some key points that need to be taken care of to do it successfully.
SCOUTING: FINDING THE BEST TALENT
As in any talent market, typically only 10% or less of the talent pool is comprised of real high performers. We learned this by applying Brad Smart’s Top Grading methodology. When looking for Latin American digital marketers who could be very successful working for US clients, this probably comes down to the top 5% of the labor market.
Scouting and finding these candidates requires having local talent networks and databases and understanding how this talent finds jobs in the region. To do this, industry-specific experience hiring locally is critical.
Some people perform better than others during job interviews. This is why applying tests, interviewing past employers, and other objective vetting tactics help to increase hiring success rates.
In addition to technical and professional vetting, interviewing for cultural fit is likewise critical.
GOING THROUGH EACH AGENCY'S OWN HIRING PROCESS
All agencies have their own kind of hiring process; some are more documented or structured than others, but still, normally, good processes.
Hiring overseas should complement this process by supporting it without necessarily substituting it. Once an overseas candidate has been properly vetted with the help of local experts, it should go through some kind of agency process to increase the probability of success.
Even the most robust scouting, vetting, and hiring processes have a margin of error. When going overseas, this margin of error could be higher. This is why having a trial period arrangement is very valuable and can help mitigate further risks from the agency’s point of view.
FINDING THE RIGHT PARTNER
One of the most important decisions to get offshoring right is finding the right partner to take care of all this. You should find a partner with a strong experience in Latin America (similar time zones) and with industry-specific experience in digital marketing. These are key to a successful offshoring process.
JULIUS has been in the digital space for over 15 years. Created by the merger of marketing and IT companies, JULUS has the operational capabilities and experience to understand digital marketing operations, processes, technical requirements, and key skills needed in people. With a robust hiring team and processes, JULIUS is capable of delivering high-performing talent at scale for US-based agencies.
JULIUS North American operations is based in Monterrey, Mexico, which has several short direct flights to all of Texas’ main cities. From there, we manage a team of 300+ digital marketers based in Mexico, Colombia, and other countries in the region.