The DARC Ages: New Criteria for Job Candidates in a Digital World

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Apr 6, 2011

Guest post by Brian Halligan, CEO and founder, HubSpot. HubSpot is an inbound marketing software company that helps businesses get found online and convert more site visitors into leads and customers. This post is part of our Digital Works: Careers in Digital Marketing, Technology, and Media Series. This series profiles the skills and experiences that make careers in this industry exciting, and provides advice to job seekers from the area’s foremost employers and experts.

It’s no surprise that the way we do business in an increasingly digital world is changing. Long gone are the days when we could effectively market our products and services through interruptive, outbound marketing techniques like cold calling and direct mail. Today, we must be able to pull in potential customers by utilizing inbound marketing tactics like content creation, search engine optimization, and social media engagement.

computer resized 600This change also translates to the way businesses should think about the criteria used to hire new employees and evaluate existing ones. If a company’s marketing and business approaches change, shouldn’t its employees be able to manage the new responsibilities that come along with it?

That’s why the ideal job candidate today looks much different than he or she did several years ago. I’m a firm believer that a company’s employees are the driving force behind the innovation and success of the company as a whole. It’s for that reason that my co-founder, Dharmesh Shah, and I are committed to hiring the best and brightest candidates. We’ve actually come up with our own acronym that we use as a framework to evaluate and hire digital savvy employees: DARC. If you’re a job seeker in today’s digital world, chances are this is what smart employers will be looking for:

D = Digital Citizens I tend to think about the web in a similar way to how I would think about a person who is handy around the house. People generally either have the “handyman” gene, or they don’t. Similarly, some people either “get” the web, or they don’t. When hiring job applicants, I’m likely to gravitate toward you if you’re the type of person who is naturally curious about the web – you have an RSS Reader set up, you blog or read blogs regularly, you have various personal social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

A = Analytical Chops One of the best advantages of doing business in the digital age is the ability to measure your progress every step of the way. Now you can determine which marketing campaign generated which customers and gain better insights about which programs are working and which aren’t. This is a great thing, because it enables teams to make smarter decisions about what activities to invest more or less time into. As a result, it’s critical that you are capable of manipulating and analyzing data so you, as an employee, can make these types of decisions.

R = Reach Pre-digital world, one criterion used to evaluate potential salespeople was the size of their Rolodexes. In the digital world, that same candidate’s Rolodex should be in the form of his or her online reach. Think of it this way: the better the reach you have as an individual employee, the better the reach of your whole company! If you have a ton of blog subscribers, a large Twitter following, and hundreds of Facebook friends and connections on LinkedIn, you probably have great online reach, making you a more desirable job candidate.

C = Content Creators I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is for businesses to make a commitment to content creation. It’s one of the core components of inbound marketing, and it’s the basis for getting your business found online. The concept is simple: in order to create great content, the people on your team need to be great at creating content, whether it be in the form of videos, written content like blog articles or ebooks, or even audio content like podcasts. As a job seeker, you should be practicing, polishing, and perfecting your writing skills and positioning yourself as a remarkable content creator.

There’s a misconception that you must be a Gen Xer or Yer to meet the DARC criteria. In fact, retooling, learning new skills, and teaching yourself a lot of what's digital is possible. People are doing it every day, so don’t be discouraged if you didn’t exactly grow up in the digital age.

Let’s face it: we’re in the thick of the DARC Ages. As a job seeker, you need to be able to be a digital savvy candidate to compete among the best and the brightest of the digital world. Do you have what it takes?