Ann Marie Puig


Ann Marie Puig discusses what digital employers want to see in employees

The business world was changing even before COVID-19, but the global pandemic has propelled some changes even more. The move to a more digital environment has taken hold, and business owners and entrepreneurs have to be ready to embrace the new paradigm. Ann Marie Puig, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist from Costa Rica, understands this and was moving toward more digital operations before the pandemic. Puig explains what employers want to see out of employees in the new digital business environment.

Facebook was based on the philosophy of “move fast and break things,” and for years, this appointment drove the company’s hiring strategy. Over time, Facebook’s approach evolved from breaking things up to focusing on building great, durable products. Chief human resources officer Lori Goler says the ability to “look at a problem and say ‘I can make this better’ is a valuable asset in people for Facebook.”

Part of this means feeling comfortable enough at work to offer creative and strategic input on how things can be built. To encourage people to be “authentic” at work, Facebook encourages its new employees to be engaged. “The conventional wisdom for job seekers, and in particular for people looking for entry-level jobs, is to quickly implement the advice and instructions provided by other people,” asserts Puig.

Facebook and other digital employers see things differently. Being able to build new things is one of the most important skills they look for in employees, which means that a story of creation, even if not completely successful, sets a potential hire apart from the competition. As a digital professional, this could mean emphasizing your personal projects, whether commercial or creative. Showing that you are a builder, and not just someone who moves with the crowd on every project, shows that you can contribute, often on a large scale.

Few industries change as quickly as digital marketing. Being able to adapt to these changes and move forward continuously is an important asset, especially for digital agencies working with a wide range of clients. Every year, new advertising platforms and digital marketing opportunities emerge. Facebook Ads, which launched in 2008, transformed social media marketing. Advertisers who start using the platform early on usually get the best results as first engines.

What produces results today might not produce the same result tomorrow. Being able to see the next step in the process and the next opportunity is what distinguishes an outstanding person from someone who is following a trend. The riddles and puzzle questions that once defined job interviews in tech aren’t simply out of place today – many employers believe they’re totally ineffective.

People form first impressions quickly and usually use them to determine if someone is worth hiring. Most interviews are a waste of time, because most of the interview is spent confirming the interviewer’s first impression. Adds Puig, “It’s more effective to test someone’s skills by having them perform live, as part of the interview process. The best indicator of how someone will perform in a job is a proof of work sample.

Another important factor is a person’s ability to learn, often on the job. The second-best predictors of performance are tests of overall cognitive ability. The combination of general learning skills and raw intelligence they provide are important markers of job success. For job seekers, this means that being able to demonstrate real skills is often much more valuable to an employer than being able to answer interview questions. As an increasing number of tech companies switch to practical testing as part of the interview process, technical knowledge that is often very difficult to demonstrate becomes much more useful in impressing employers.

Digital employers study more than just abilities to decide which candidate is the best fit for a job. One of the most important qualities of any employee, and one of the most often overlooked, is that it fits perfectly with the company’s culture. Each company has its own unique culture. In the world of digital marketing, where team members work closely together, fitting in well with the company’s culture, personality, and work style is an important, if not essential, feature for any employee.

Company culture is a huge factor in the world of digital agencies. Like any job, the person and the company must be the right combination. The digital scene, in particular, has its own little quirks and non-traditional work styles and practices. A great coincidence of company culture not only produces happier employees, but also produces better results.

On average, 118 people apply for every job that is published publicly. Of those 118 people, only 20 percent of applicants are invited to an interview. When you apply for any digital marketing job, the numbers are against you. The key to changing the odds in your favor is to think like an employer, not an employee.

By looking at yourself from an employer’s perspective, you gain a deeper understanding of your strengths as well as your pain points. Learn what you need to improve to stand out as an opportunity, a hiring investment, for digital employers. From adaptability to the ability to build things, you can learn a lot about being more marketable as an employee by listening to employers.