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Interview With Bob Bishop, St Louis Marketing Recruiter

1.  You’re a marketing headhunter. What exactly does that mean?  Narrow it down for us.
It means that I’m an Executive Recruiter specializing in Marketing.  I’m using Marketing as an term encompassing other aspects of marketing like advertising, sales promotion, online marketing and corporate communications.  In my case, I’m a retained marketing recruiter which means that the client actually pays a percentage of our fee “upfront”, to engage our services.  I specialize in the marketing industry that I’ve been a part of for over 35 years.  I’m a marketing headhunter because I have expertise in that field, which is appreciated by both marketing candidates and clients in need of marketing executive search. 

As a headhunter, I identify, recruit and hire candidates in partnership with my clients.  My goal is to find the finest talent available, matching my clients’ needs . . . whether they are actively looking for a job, or very happy in their existing position.

2.  What are the top three positions you recruit for?

The top three positions are: 

VP of Marketing
Senior Interactive Strategist
Creative Director

3.  What is the single biggest mistake that candidates make when they interview with a client?

They don’t ask enough thoughtful questions in their first interview.  It’s imperative that a candidate find out everything they can about a company before they interview.  They should know what that company does and how they do it.  They should know what the corporate culture is and what the company values in employees.  They need to put themselves in the position of actually getting the job and then asking themselves,  “How can I best prove value (and succeed) to my employer?” What is something that’s been missing (from the department of company) in the past that I might provide?  What’s the most important thing for me to do when I start?  Is there an issue that my boss needs addressed as soon as I start?  What’s the one thing that the employer is missing in his department (that I might be able to provide)?  How can I contribute beyond my literal job description?

In my experience, the more thoughtful the questions are, the better.  There are other obvious and more literal questions that I would expect any candidate to ask about things like benefits, start times, direct reports, etc., but not necessarily in the first interview.  The purpose of that first meeting is simply to see if the candidate and employer have a mutual interest in a second meeting.  The idea is to make it obvious to the hiring authority that you’ve given serious thought to how you might best contribute to the Employer.

4. What are some good ways for candidates to get noticed by you?

Send a personalized cover letter.  If it’s apparent to me that someone has taken the time to go through my website ( or has followed my blog (“The Perfect Fit” at, I’m much more willing to spend some additional time with them.  Conversely, if someone sends me a cover letter that is obviously the same letter of introduction they send to everyone else, it tells me they don’t really care, or worse . . . they’re lazy.  It’s essential to stand out from the crowd at every opportunity.  Then, send a hand written thank you note after every meeting!

6.  What is different about recruiting in St Louis from other areas of the country? 

St. Louis is a “tiny town”.  Being a marketing recruiter in St. Louis, means being known by one’s reputation and successes.  There’s a genuineness about how people interact . . . usually.  I find that using a very open, honest, straightforward approach is appreciated and embraced.  The marketing community is rather small by comparison to some other markets.  Candidates and clients often seem to have the impression that they (already) know each other.  In my experience, more often than not that impression leads to conclusions that aren’t always true.  I frequently spend time dispelling rumors, straightening out misconceptions and talking about “realities”, to both my clients and my candidates.  I can do that because as a retained recruiter I have the ability to spend enough time with both clients and candidates to have sufficient information to know what’s true, and what’s not. 

7. Do you currently read Blogs or use any of the new Web 2.0 tools to recruit?

I’ve been very pleased with LinkedIn.  My LinkedIn profile has been a powerful tool in having premier candidates get in touch with me.  Additionally the LinkedIn database is an outstanding tool for research and identifying passive candidates.  When I contact a “passive candidate” through LinkedIn, my profile helps give me credibility.  I’ve also found my Plaxo profile, has been a useful tool.
Additionally my blog at, has been a wonderful tool in supporting my approach to retained marketing recruiting and retained advertising recruiting.  It helps establish industry knowledge and enhances the trust that both clients and candidates have in my Company and me.

Reading industry related blogs as background for my blog is an outstanding way of staying current with what’s going on in the world out there.  I’ve found that the whole blogging process is helping me stay more current on latest trends in recruiting, marketing and advertising.

I also have a Facebook page and I’m on Twitter.  I encourage any reader (happily employed or not), to invite me into their LinkedIn network and follow my blog.

8. List two trends affecting the St Louis marketing industry.   

The current economy is obviously having a tremendous impact.  The biggest issue related to the economy is no one knows what’s going to happen next, so it’s difficult to plan, or consider expansion and hiring additional staff.  The second thing most affecting the St. Louis marketing industry is InBev’s buyout of Anheuser-Busch.  Again, nobody really knows what the result of that acquisition will be.  Will they continue their marketing efforts at the same level with the same staff as before, or not?  There’s a pervasive “wait and see’ attitude.  What AB-InBev does has a ripple effect throughout the St. Louis marketing community.

9.   Does networking work for candidates?  Where should they hang out, if it does?

Networking continues to be the number one way for candidates to identify new opportunities.  There are several associations, that support the St. Louis marketing industry.  The Ad Club offers networking opportunities, and for younger professionals I enthusiastically recommend REBUS and their monthly visits to agencies.  Additionally, there’s the American Marketing Association, the Business Marketing Association and for those interested in online marketing, the Gateway Interactive Marketing Association (GIMA), is young and growing fast.  Go to the monthly meetings of those associations and meet colleagues.  Networking is a two way street.  Successful networkers understand that it’s important to contribute to everyone’s networking effort, not just your own.  You must be willing to give, to receive!

10. You’re a retained search recruiter -  explain, and tell clients how to reach you.

As a retained executive recruiter specializing in marketing and advertising, our client pays a fee “up front”, as a commitment to the search.  This advance payment enables the recruiter to spend the time necessary to get to know their clients’ business and needs thoroughly.  The retained recruiting relationship also allows the recruiter to spend the time to get to know the candidate in a more detailed way as well.  The result is a more intensive, far-reaching and detailed effort to identify, recruit and hire absolutely the best possible candidates for our clients.  I invite any interested clients to visit the Bishop Partners’ website and then give me a call directly.  We pride ourselves on being responsive to our client’s marketing and advertising recruiting needs.