Hiring a marketer: questions to ask in a marketing interview - Patch

Hiring a marketer: questions to ask in a marketing interview

We’ve all been misled in an interview, whether it be as employer or employee. It’s disappointing for everyone. You’re excited about a hire, you bring them in, but it quickly turns out they were a top blagger. On the other side of the coin, we’ve all been sold an exciting, inspiring company story as candidates and joined a business full of beans, only to have our can emptied within a few days.

Asking the right questions is key to identifying whether your candidates really know their craft. We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask in a marketing interview to help you separate the fluff from the facts…

Questions to ask in a marketing internship interview

If you’re interviewing somebody for a marketing internship, don’t expect them to have much experience in the things you’ll need them doing day-to-day. Here, it can be most beneficial to focus on cultural fit and willingness first and foremost: you can teach somebody everything there is to know about marketing – but you can’t teach the right attitude.

To find out more about whether a marketing internship candidate is the right fit for your team, you might want to find out more about what their interests and hobbies are – insight into their personality will be key at this stage – why they’re interested in your business or marketing in general and how they anticipate this role to look:

  • What do you enjoy doing outside of work or study?
  • Is there a particular area of marketing that interests you so far?
  • What appeals to you about that (or marketing in general)?
  • What are your expectations of this internship?
  • What are you hoping to gain?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

Questions to ask a digital marketing manager

When interviewing a digital marketing manager, you’ll want to go into much greater detail about their experience and relevancy for the role on offer. You will need to identify whether their skill set falls within a specific area – for example, they might be a PPC expert – or whether they have broad experience of a range of digital marketing disciplines.

If you’re looking for an all-rounder, you will need to find out about their experience within each of the digital marketing disciplines your candidate will be working in. If you’re looking for somebody who is focused on one or two areas – for example, search: SEO and PPC – you can delve into this in much greater detail and gain a real understanding of their knowledge and experience. You may even choose to use situational questions as well as knowledge-based ones to allow your candidate to demonstrate their experience. Try to make your marketing interview questions as open as possible:

  • Can you tell us a bit about your experience in PPC? (or whichever discipline(s))
  • Which metrics would you focus on to measure the success of an SEO campaign?
  • Can you tell us about one of your most successful campaigns so far?
  • What about one that perhaps didn’t go as well as you hoped?
  • How do you communicate with clients who may not have a clear understanding of digital marketing disciplines and may be questioning the actions, purpose or results of a project?
  • What motivates you?

Questions to ask a marketing director during an interview

When it comes to hiring a marketing director, the management skills of your candidate are going to be just as important as their technical knowledge. Their CV should really demonstrate solid digital marketing experience at this level, but you can’t usually find out about somebody’s management style or approach to leadership in quite the same way.

Somebody might tell you that they’ve been leading teams in established businesses for the past eight years, but you won’t know that they’re the right fit for your team unless you ask the right questions and are able to gage a good understanding of their personality in interview. Will your new hire need to work alongside other marketing directors on the team? How would this shift the dynamic? How do they approach hierarchy?

You may also like to give them the opportunity to actually meet some other team members if an interview is going well: invite them into the main office space to say hello and get a feel for where they’d actually be working. Your existing staff will likely form an opinion quickly from this first impression, but you might not want to take it having met your candidate in full. Sometimes, however, it can be very insightful.

So, aside from questions on technical ability and marketing experience (see above interview questions to ask a digital marketing manager), you might want to ask more specific questions about culture and leadership when it comes to interviewing for a marketing director.

  • What is your opinion or approach on hierarchy in the workplace?
  • How do you maintain a work-life balance? What example do you set for your team?
  • How do you respond to mistakes?
  • How would you describe your approach to leadership?
  • How do you celebrate team wins?
  • What is your approach to providing feedback?

Questions to ask in a marketing agency interview might differ from an in-house hire and your choice of questions will vary dependent on the role you’re hiring for and at what level, but ultimately, knowledge, experience and personality fit should be the key factors that you’re reviewing for any new hire.

One of your top candidates may have a hugely impressive CV with household name businesses, managing large teams or demonstrating extensive experience in digital marketing disciplines, but if they aren’t the right personality fit, the whole dynamic of your business is going to change. We’ve all seen an outstanding CV and been disappointed in interview. Remember: you can’t teach attitude!