We talk to Martyna Łapaj from Tribe47 about an innovative recruitment strategy that helped the company position itself in the digital marketing market. 

Martyna Łapaj proves that there is no one conventional career path in HR. She started as an outsourced recruiter, but soon discovered that she wanted to help the people she recruits along their employee journey. Today, she celebrates 3 years at the digital marketing agency Tribe47, where she works as a Senior HR Specialist. Simultaneously, she develops Talent47, a recruitment agency that matches growing companies with the best digital marketing talent in the market.

“Tribe47 is a company that is 95% marketers. For a long time, I was the only person in charge of HR, so I became part of the executive team and worked very closely with our board. We did a lot of brainstorming and thinking about what else we could offer besides digital marketing services. That inspired us to start Talent47 and share our recruitment experience with the world,” says Martyna. 

Talent47 recruits marketing professionals using an innovative strategy developed by the company’s founder, Ewa Wysocka. The key principles of this strategy, first introduced at Tribe47, are a holistic approach to marketing and the use of data analytics.

This means that our marketers do not just focus on their tasks, but align them with business goals and back up their conclusions with hard data.

Martyna Łapaj

“Because it worked so well at Tribe47, we decided to apply the same tactics at Talent47, which ultimately led us to revolutionize the entire recruitment strategy,” Martyna explains.

Step one: Don’t rely solely on CVs in your recruitment strategy

“We started from the premise that a CV is not so much a proof of an applicant’s experience as it is a demonstration of CV-writing skills. Not everyone has a great CV, which does not mean they are unsuitable for a job. So we set the bar quitelow for incoming CVs and rarely reject people at this stage. Instead, to save time and be more efficient, we ask almost all applicants to complete a recruitment task,” explains Martyna.

The Talent47 team decided to create their own tasks that test applicants’ skills in practice. Depending on the job someone is applying for, the task can be related to content marketing, performance marketing, or e-commerce, and often relates to a specific industry. 

“It started to work, although many applicants resigned when they heard this task was coming before an interview. We considered it the actual test and the first indication of how motivated someone was to actually get a job,” Martyna adds. 

Step two: Know what you’re testing during interviews

The second step in the revolution of the recruitment strategy was to restructure the interview process. “We tasked our marketing specialists to participate in the process and evaluate an applicant’s ‘technical’ skills. What we wanted to test was the mindset – the way someone thinks and approaches problems. Digital marketing is still evolving, so everyone will probably need new skills and competences one day. The key was to find T-shaped marketers who are creative, have open minds and understand tools,” Martyna comments.

This tactic prompted Tribe47 to create a list of more than 500 skills needed in today’s digital marketing, which is now used in Talent47 recruitment strategy. They then turned that list into a test that each new hire takes to determine their strengths and weaknesses. “It works like a self-assessment and, of course, it’s hardly possible to have all the skills from the list. It’s however useful to determine the areas where we can continue to learn and develop,” says Martyna. 

“Based on the job-specific task, the assessment of the marketers, and the technical interview, we create the profile of a candidate. Only then we recommend a candidate further, for the final interview. The main difference is that we almost skip the CV part and minimize the recruiter’s involvement in the process,” she adds.

Step three: Measure your results

Because Tribe47 values a data-driven approach, the team collects all their recruiting information throughout the process. Martyna shares their critical HR metrics, which include: 

  • Applications per job – how many candidates applied to a job posting.
  • Abandonment rate – how many candidates started the application process but did not complete it.
  • Quality of applications per job – how many applicants completed the recruitment task and were qualified as potential candidates.

Is it easy to find qualified candidates? “I would say it is getting better as more and more job seekers are starting to upgrade their skills. A few years ago, we had many candidates with great potential but narrow specializations. Today, everyone working in marketing needs to understand how the market works, where to look for data and how to use it,” Martyna notes. 

She adds that the pandemic has greatly reshaped the market. Many companies have gone through a digital transformation and digitized their business. “Suddenly, marketers who can develop and execute a strategy – people who can see the big picture and back up their expertise with data – were in demand in the market,” says Martyna. 

I see that some candidates still lack a business mindset and cannot align their initiatives with business KPIs, but I’d say we are moving towards what’s happening in the IT market.

Martyna Łapaj

Step four: Accompany your new hire along the way 

Hiring is not the end of the story for Talent47. Martyna’s team supports new hires along the way and monitors how they settle in. “We guarantee our support and help for the new employee during the first few months at the company. This is the time when both parties can get to know each other better and assess whether they are a good fit,” says Martyna. 

Does she have any tips on how to retain an employee who is a good fit? “My main goal is to understand what ‘a good match’ means – what makes a good employee? Another goal is to provide ongoing training and development and make sure employees have time to invest in their education,” she adds.

“I also keep track of employee benefits and leave to make sure they are taking advantage of the time off they have. Especially because at Tribe47, we do not track hours worked. You can work 12 hours a day or 2 hours a day. It’s important that your employees rest and have a good work-life balance.” Martyna explains.

We want our employees to be efficient, not overworked.

Martyna Łapaj

What trends does she think will be the most important in 2022?

“I think HR will focus on flexibility and productivity. Flexibility will be necessary to attract the right talent and may even become more important than ‘standard’ benefits. The pandemic has already shown us that it’s possible to stay productive while working remotely but the employer needs to trust the employees. So those two issues: flexibility and productivity – are going to be big topics in 2022. Personally, I believe that people work best when they decide how they want to work,” Martyna concludes.

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