CMO hire

How to Hire a CMO in 2023


It’s no secret that recruiting and hiring for the C-suite takes a special touch.

Whether your business is growing or you recently received funding, there are many reasons why you might need to hire a Chief Marketing Officer. Once you have kicked off your CMO executive search, there are certain avenues you should follow in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring.

CulverCareers put together this brief guide to educate our clients about the nuances of hiring a CMO. By the end of the article, you should have a better understanding of CMO roles in general, as well as the best ways to hire marketing executives.

What is a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)?

As part of the C-suite, a CMO is the highest-level marketing position in any business. While marketing directors are often the senior-most marketers in smaller companies, CMOs are generally part of a larger corporate structure. As such, a big part of the job of a CMO is to delegate duties to a whole team of marketing directors from different departments.

Your CMO is responsible for creating a comprehensive marketing plan that applies to your entire organization. Needless to say, these plans can grow quite complex when dealing with massive Fortune 500 companies. By anticipating future market trends in your industry, a CMO will help develop and execute initiatives in different branches of your marketing department.

Average Salary for a CMO

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) salaries tend to vary quite dramatically with different businesses and industries. While the lowest salary likely for a CMO is around $125,000 per year, many of these executives make upwards of $300,000.

When Should I Hire a CMO?

There are a number of different variables that can be considered when deciding the best time to hire a CMO. While these motivators vary slightly in their capacity, each of them has to do with the growth of your organization.

In smaller businesses, marketing duties are often split between analysts, creators, coordinators, and managers. However, when your marketing department reaches the size of 10 people, it’s a good idea to consider hiring an executive like a CMO.

Another good indicator that it’s time to hire a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is consistent year-over-year (YOY) growth. If your business is expanding in a steady and predictable fashion, it’s wise to invest in a CMO who can take your operation to the next level.

How Do I Hire a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)?

Especially in a candidate-driven market, your HR department must bring their best to the table if they hope to recruit a quality CMO. Not only must you hire at the right time, but you also need to find a candidate that specializes in your field.

Since CMOs have high-level leadership qualities and the ability to direct entire teams of executives, they are very hard to find. When you add a competitive hiring market to the mix, you must go to greater lengths to recruit a CMO than for other senior positions.

To attract the best CMO talent, you must develop a pay structure and benefits package that is competitive in your industry. After that, it’s critical that you streamline your interview and hiring process for the best possible candidate experience.

What is the Best Way to Interview a CMO?

When it comes time to interview CMO candidates, you need to respect their stature and expertise, while also ensuring they are thoroughly vetted. To achieve this careful balance, you should have a well-choreographed interview structure in place.

Interview Format

While lower-level candidates can be interviewed by a single manager via Zoom, executive-level hires require more oversight. To ensure a good professional and cultural fit, many companies opt for multiple rounds of interviews when dealing with CMOs. Moreover, it’s a good idea to have senior members of your organization like founders and executives take part in the interviews.

Interview Questions

A job description is always a great starting point for interview questions. With a CMO interview, you really want to get a feel for their vision and leadership qualities. Therefore, relevant topics to question your CMO about include market trends, company positioning, consumer relations, and management style.

Why Use a Recruiter for CMO Executive Search?

When you work with CulverCareers, you get 40 years of executive search experience behind your team. Not only will we find the best CMO for your business, but we will guide you through more technical elements of executive-level hires – such as benefits packages. Beyond recruiting, CulverCareers also offers a full ecosystem of employer services that will help you develop and maintain a winning talent pool.

Contact CulverCareers today to start building your executive team.

Ty Culver headshot
Written by

Ty Culver is the Client Development Director of CulverCareers focusing on talent acquisition and workforce solutions with a wide variety of local, national and global clients.

Ty has been working in various aspects of the industry for over 10 years and developed deep expertise in Executive Search, Executive Benefit and Talent Acquisition Programs along the way. He has a range of experience from SMB to Enterprise clients and hyper specific executive searches to high volume recruiting with companies in a dynamic state of flux.

Today, Ty leads a talented team of Talent Acquisition Specialists, Executive Recruiters and Client Success Managers at one of the most respected Recruiting Firms in the Nation, CulverCareers. While leadership is a key aspect of his role, Ty still enjoys working with clients on recruiting strategies, executive benefit solutions and workforce solutions to help clients build a holistic approach to talent acquisition and talent retention.

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