Cut and paste catastrophes – revisited.

By Neil Patrick

This feels like a topic which is going to run and run. But I couldn’t let today’s latest job description/cut and paste catastrophe that reached my desk pass without comment. It's time for yet more car-crash HR...

We want one of these and we want it cheap.

This latest example is so mind-boggling that I cannot even begin to add my usual line by line commentary. In fact I really don’t need to – anyone who's had a job in business can see that this job description has been written by madmen (or women).

It’s a job for a digital marketing manager allegedly. In reality, it’s a job for a whole department of specialists.

To perform this role effectively, you’ll need to have solid evidence of accomplishments in:

Coding, digital and traditional marketing, media planning and execution, search engine optimisation, market analysis, sales strategy development, marketing planning, data warehousing and analysis, software evaluation, PR, research and testing, creative skills, content writing and proof reading, outsourcing management, oh yes and hands on experience of the legal, property and conveyancing industries.

How anyone at the proposed salary level in this massively under-resourced jobs sector is expected to have acquired all or even the majority of these requirements is quite beyond me.

Whilst doing this, you’ll be held accountable for high quality and high volume results i.e. generating a lot of sales leads, all the while maintaining a cool head (despite your complete mental and physical exhaustion).

Obviously the people responsible for this job posting think such skills are so abundant in the marketplace that there will be an eager queue of qualified candidates, because the salary for this job is…wait for it… £25k-£30k a year – around $32k - $39k.

This is the natural outcome of what some have called the hunt for the purple squirrel. The self-defeating hiring strategy where a job is so massively, intensely and minutely specified that no-one could possibly come close to meeting the requirement – at any salary level.

How could any self-respecting HR or hiring manager sign off this job description? It almost appears as if someone has laid off a whole department and come up with the brilliant idea of replacing everyone with just one polymath (presumably supplied with large quantities of amphetamines) to do everyone’s work.

I really hope no-one I know is ‘lucky’ enough to get hired for this job. Perhaps some of my recruiting and HR friends who read this blog would care to provide your reactions in the comments section below – even if only to confirm I haven’t lost the plot?

Anyway for your delight and entertainment here’s the posting in full:

Digital Marketing Manager

Permanent, full time.

The Role:

To support the Sales and Marketing Director in the delivery of Company marketing strategies; with the main focus on managing online presence and supporting the long-term successful promotion and deployment of marketing initiatives of the businesses.


Plan and execute all web, SEO/SEM, marketing database, email, social media and display advert campaigns.

To manage PPC strategy constantly - reviewing performance and return on investment.

To oversee the online reputation management of all companies as required.

Design, build and maintain social media presence.

Measure and report on the performance of all digital marketing campaigns, and assess against goals (ROI and KPIs).

Identify trends and insights, and optimise spend and performance.

Brainstorm new and creative growth strategies.

Plan, execute, and measure experiments and conversion tests.

Collaborate with internal teams to create landing pages and optimise user experience.

Utilise strong analytical ability to evaluate end-to-end customer experience across multiple channels and customer touch points.

Instrument conversion points and optimise user funnels.

Evaluate emerging technologies. Provide thought leadership and perspective for adoption where appropriate.

Arranging the effective distribution of marketing materials.

Maintaining and updating customer databases.

Create, develop and deploy effective marketing plans and strategies.

Monitoring competitor activity.

Managing the production and distribution of marketing materials, including leaflets, posters, flyers, newsletters and e-newsletters.

Writing and proofreading press releases and copy.

Liaising with designers and printers.

Supporting the Sales and Marketing Director wherever needed.

Work closely with PR agencies to build strong relationships with the press and managing all aspects of PR for the business.

Education/Skills/attributes required:


Proven working experience in digital and traditional marketing.

Experience leading and managing SEO/SEM, marketing database, email, social media, websites, news feeds and display advertising campaigns.

The ability to produce high quality, high volume results.

Highly creative with experience in identifying target audiences and devising campaigns that engage, inform and motivate.

Experience in optimising landing pages and user funnels.

Experience with A/B and multivariate experiments.

Solid knowledge of website analytic tools (e.g., Google Analytics, NetInsight, Omniture, WebTrends).

Working knowledge of ad serving tools (e.g., DART, Atlas).

Experience in setting up and optimising Google Adwords campaigns.

Working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript development and constraints.

Strong analytical skills and data-driven thinking.

Up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in online marketing and measurement.

Experience in managing the production of marketing materials, including leaflets, posters, flyers, newsletters and e-newsletters.


Experience of the Property/Conveyancing Industry.

Relevant marketing qualification (CIM etc).

Experience handling high volume digital campaigns in the legal sector.

Personal Qualities

Managing Yourself;

Self-motivated and willing to take the lead and be personally accountable.

Copes effectively in demanding circumstances showing confidence in own ability and judgment.

Able to manage priorities and time effectively adopting a flexible approach to work, willing and able to delegate as appropriate.

Demonstrates persistence and commitment to completing tasks and objectives.

Pays attention to detail and quality of work.

Demonstrates a commitment to improving working practices and supports company plans and policies.

Working with People;

Ability to build and maintain excellent working relationships with others.

Confident, logical and articulate in oral and written communication, including giving formal presentations to groups.

Ability to project a dynamic and positive image of themselves and our organisation to those outside the business.

Uses effective skills to present a case clearly and succinctly to achieve a positive outcome.

Operates effectively as part of a team, encouraging others to contribute ideas and seek improvements.

Willing to offer help to all colleagues to ensure company success.

Managing Commercially;

Understands the commercial environment and has a clear vision of where the business needs to be, developing creative and innovative marketing plans to achieve commercial success.

Shows strong focus on satisfying Introducer and Client needs, taking positive action to ensure needs are met.

Understands the importance of business targets and how they impact on their responsibilities.

Makes sound commercial judgments based on issues key to the success of the business.

Knows when to seek guidance or further input from others before taking action.

Salary is £25,000 - £30,000 per annum

My suggestion is that this job description can be streamlined to a much more truthful and effective description:

"Company with poor understanding of marketing operations seeks broadly skilled and energetic marketer with good digital skills. You should be ambitious and resilient and know how to generate a lot of sales leads via online media. Should thrive in a chaotic environment. Salary highly negotiable and will be generous to reflect the scarcity and high value of these skills".

But then HR would never sign this off would they?


  1. At the risk of shameless self-promotion, sounds like a good example of "Amalgam Positions'.

    1. Yes it is David. Sorry I have disabled the links in comments, once again because their are so many sneaky spammers out there. But I am happy to vouch for yours! :-)

  2. This is a great point Neil, then they wonder why nobody is applying. These type of job descriptions can make qualified candidates think they are unqualified this role.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Ibro. Nice to hear your reaction as you are well qualified to judge this. Yes I agree with you. And I suggested recently on another post, organisations need to start taking responsibility for manufacturing talent, instead of just thinking they have any chance to find and retain unrealistically competent people right out of the box.