Recently I received an Ecommerce Manager job description from a client (actually, it was spelled “E-Commerce” Manager, but don’t get me started on AP style rules!). Nothing unusual there, except that it was exceptionally well-written. I think I write a pretty mean job spec myself. I’ve been writing them since the dawn of the internet, and I’ve even written a book on what to look for when hiring these specialists. But this one truly stood out. Why? Because it leaves little doubt about exactly what the hiring manager is looking for, and believe me, there is nothing worse than a vague Ecommerce Manager job description. I’m not going to reproduce the JD in its entirety here, but I would like to pull out a few lines from the “Required Qualifications” section that were noteworthy:
“Proven success in B2B ecommerce.”  This particular business is all B2B. Not that they shouldn’t consider someone with B2C experience (and I’m recommending that they do), the first two words in that sentence are most important: Proven success. I don’t know any employer who doesn’t want candidates to be able to demonstrate a proven track record, yet many job descriptions don’t state it. This one is very clear. The employer is telling applicants: “If you’re going to make claims that you met and/or exceeded goals- and we hope you do- we want you to come in prepared to back it up.” The good news is that digital marketing is highly measurable, so that shouldn’t be hard to do. I always advise candidates to actually create a kind of professional diary and make entries whenever something significant in your job occurs, something eventful enough that you might just want to share it with another employer some day. Sometimes those achievements can be hard to remember if you don’t actually write them down somewhere. You can always use your resume for that purpose and then condense the entries later into more concise bullet items when you’re ready to send it out.
“In depth knowledge of evolving web technology and trends, and how to apply it to the business.”  Unless this is a pure techy job, the ecommerce manager probably will report up through marketing. Marketing is all about driving the business, so while knowledge of technology is essential, an ecommerce manager needs to have business acumen. Including a few words in the Ecommerce Manager job description that talks about leveraging ecommerce technology to grow the business is good. It will help ensure that you probe for that during candidate interviews.
“Ability to interpret web analytics to translate customer insights into successful marketing programs.”  Very concise and extremely well stated. Translation: We are looking for new and compelling ways to engage with our customers, and analyzing and interpreting customer data is key.
“Ability to work on a cross-functional team consisting of Marketing, Creative Design, Customer Service, Sales and IT.”   I like how they avoided the usual, “must be able to work in a highly collaborative environment,” and went with something more descriptive. What this does is reveal the true impact of the role across the organization.
“Smart, adept and conversant in communicating strategy and tactical updates to stakeholders.”  Again, this is a very concise way of stating the importance of intelligence, being highly skilled at your craft, and the ability to communicate effectively with anyone whose work will intersect with that of the new Ecommerce Manager.
My biggest beef with some of the Ecommerce Manager job descriptions I see is that employers sometimes get too carried away when they list requirements. I remember one Ecommerce Manager job description I saw once that required proficiency in more than 30 different ecommerce platforms and programming languages! Just remember that when you write a job description, try to devote less space to how an employee should spend his or her time and more of it addresssing performance outcomes.  In fact, when I prep candidates for interviews, I always suggest that they ask the hiring manager this question: “What are the 3-5 key things this person needs to accomplish in order to be successful in this job?”

The best Ecommerce Manager job description will already answer that question.

Jerry Bernhart, Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, is one of the nation’s preeminent and veteran executive recruiters in ecommerce, digital and multichannel marketing, and CRM. With more than 90 published LinkedIn articles, Jerry is the “voice” of best practices in the recruitment and hiring of ecommerce and digital marketing professionals. Jerry is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, “Careers in Ecommerce and Digital Marketing,” on Amazon, and participates in many leading digital marketing and ecommerce conferences. Jerry has been recruiting and placing marketing professionals for more than 28 years. Check out Jerry’s other insights on the Thought Leadership section of the Bernhart Associates website.

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