How To Hire an e-Commerce Director & What to Avoid

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring An E-commerce Director

Every company is looking to improve or grow their e-commerce business and drive better results for their digital marketing. The online market is expected to grow by 8-12%+ over the next few years so it’s no surprise that companies will need to hire more marketing professionals with e-Commerce and digital experience. How do you avoid hiring the wrong one?

1. Use the correct title.

The biggest thing to consider when you want to hire an e-Commerce director or digital marketing director is to truly understand what you are looking to achieve. These titles are often used interchangeably and that’s where a lot of companies can attract the wrong candidates and struggle to find the right fit. You may think you need an e-Commerce Director but what you’re really looking for is someone with CRM, SEO, Paid Media, e-mail, banner, and social media experience – all skills a Digital Marketing Director, Growth Marketer or Acquisition Marketer would possess. On the other hand, if you need someone with more operations, merchandising, site-management, platforming, Amazon selling, loyalty, UX experience an e-Commerce Director title is a way to go.

2. Focus on goals, not tasks.

If you know what problem you want them to solve, then write the job description to solve those problems. Don’t write a checklist that looks like a wishlist. If you want someone to re-platform your website within the next 6 months, increase customer acquisition by 10% or create a better customer experience by revamping the check-out experience, state it clearly and you’ll attract candidates that are up for the challenge and can excel in the role. 

3. Ask open-ended specific questions.

Once you are clear about what you want the eCommerce Director to accomplish, prepare the right how & what questions based on your needs and use these to build an interview process to vet them properly. Ask them how they would approach your current eCommerce challenges and how would they analyze the data? Find out what their thought process is and if their Digital Strategy is in alignment with yours. Unemployment is at an all-time low and you can’t afford to lose a candidate due to a poor interview process that is vague and confusing. 

4. Judge by accomplishments, not titles.

Since every company buckets their eCommerce / digital marketing responsibilities differently, they also title things differently; Performance Marketing, Growth Director, Director of Acquisition & Retention, Lead Generation, Product Marketers and Director of Customer Experience, to name a few. Dig into someone’s title to understand who they report to, who reports to them and what roles they play. What were their responsibilities? And most importantly, what did they actually accomplish and how can they do it for you?

5. Be open to other industries.

It would be great for them to have exact industry experience but don’t overlook someone just because they may not have luxury, beauty, fashion, travel, or the like. Have they increased e-commerce sales? Have they increased the shopping cart size? How have they improved the customer experience on the site? And most importantly do they want the job? Do they have a passion for what you are selling? You can’t teach passion but you can teach them about your industry. 

6. Hire people who compliment your digital marketing team.

We usually like people like us. However, if you really want your eCommerce business to grow, you have to hire someone that has a different digital marketing skill-set, an innovative way of thinking or an interesting way to position your brand that’s different from yours. Do you want someone with a merchandising background or operations or customer experience background? Find people who compliment your weaknesses and cherish them. 

7. Be realistic in your eCommerce goals.

eCommerce Sales account for about 10% of total retail sales; therefore, unless you are a new brand or a digital-only brand then you cannot expect huge increases in eCommerce revenue. What are you looking for your e-commerce Director to achieve in 30, 60, 90 days and then after a year? What does success look like? Be clear and realistic in your expectations and goals, then support them however you can to achieve those goals. If they succeed, so do you.

I know that this process can be time-consuming and stressful, but make hiring a priority and treat candidates the way that you’d like to be treated.

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“Oh Ship!” is about celebrating the failures, sharing those stories, learning, and laughing along the way.

Melissa Pacheco

Called a “Recruiting Extraordinaire” with 15+ years of Digital Marketing and E-commerce recruiting experience, Melissa has worked with SapientNitro/Digitas, PwC and Robert Graham.

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