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Building a marketing team by hiring the right people can be challenging, and it’s the interviewer’s job to make sure your next marketing hire is a slam dunk.

The interview questions will mainly boil down into just three things: whether the candidate has the ability to accomplish the task, whether the candidate is a good fit to your team, and whether they are willing to join your team.

These 5 questions below will cover those three factors, giving the chance for the candidates to showcase their abilities, their marketing knowledge, and their personality.

1) Imagine you are an immortal with unlimited money and time. What would you do with your life?

This is an excellent question to ask, that will give you insights on various aspects of the candidate:
  • Some candidates might not be able to answer this question at all, which is a good sign that they don’t have any vision in their lives. Some might need some time before they can give an answer—this is probably the first time they came upon such thought, after all—. Give them some time to think and aim for clarity.
  • Since the question “what would you do with your life?” is pretty broad, they might answer about changing the world in some way (showing ambition), money (i.e. investing the money, open a business, etc.), or person (spend time with loved ones, etc.). You can figure out their priorities and check whether they’ll be a good fit for your company culture.
  • This question is also a good way to weigh their confidence (if they are willing to be upfront about their ambitions) and honesty (some might provide obscured answers that totally didn’t make sense).
  • In some cases, you can also figure out their ethical standards and work ethics (even political views).

This is also an open-ended question, that might open up possibilities for lengthy conversations and more questions (i.e. more details about their vision, etc.). 

2) What Is your preferred method to enhance your knowledge about marketing these days? Give examples.

Marketing is far from being a static field, and there are always new tactics and trends every single day.

If the candidate shows signs that they are not updating themselves according to the changes, then it’s a major red flag. 

Some candidates might say that they read marketing blogs and might name famous sites (HubSpot, Neil Patel, etc.).

Some might say they read books about marketing frequently and will name recently released titles.

Some others might say they listen to marketing podcasts or watch YouTube videos.

Some, however, might say that they “learn by doing, and this job will be my chance to learn”, which might or might not be a red flag. 

This is also an open-ended question. For example, if they mentioned a book you’ve also read, you can talk about the book and analyze their thoughts about what’s discussed in the book. You can also discuss recent trends and topics in the marketing world to weigh whether they are really keeping up with the changes.

3) How are you handling failures? If any, share your past experiences.

Marketing, is by nature, about embracing failures. No matter how perfect you plan your marketing strategy, there will always be challenges along the way. 

This question gives you insight into two things: How the candidate will handle failure, and whether they have the courage to experiment.

Both are very important marketing traits.

Generally, you’d want to hire candidates that see failures as another learning point—and data—, and not an unforgivable thing they should avoid at all costs. If they had any past failures, ask how they handled it, whether they documented it and discussed/shared it with their peers and superiors.

People that are more likely to keep their failures to themselves (because they don’t want anyone to know) are generally bad candidates.  

It’s also important to assess their stance about risk management. We should differentiate between people who are willing to try and fail, and those who simply fail all the time. Finding the right balance can be difficult, but is a very valuable trait in a candidate.

4) How will you contribute to our marketing/business In General? Anything you’d want to change?

This can be a difficult question to ask, and in general, most candidates will play safe with their answers.

Expect diplomatic and conservative answers, but they should have their answers nonetheless.

If they can’t show something specific they’d want to contribute one—or change—it’s a strong sign that they lack any vision, a red flag. Remember that marketing is about creativity and problem-solving.

Some candidates might even tell you specific problems in your company that you haven’t even thought about before and suggest solutions. 

If necessary, encourage them to be honest and upfront, convince them that it’s okay. 

Another giant red flag here is candidates saying that they haven’t had a chance to do their research.

Depending on their answers to the previous questions, you might give them some time to research (let them browse on their phones or give them your computer). This is a good way to weigh how fast they can think on the spot and be creative in providing solutions.

5) To your knowledge, what are the things our competitors doing that we aren’t? Should we do it?

This one is fairly obvious. This question will help you look deeper into whether the candidate has spent enough time about your business, the market you’re in, and your competitors. 

Competitive analysis is definitely an integral aspect of any marketing, and this question will also provide a chance to weigh the candidate’s analytical abilities—essential for your marketing team—.

If a candidate provides good answers, we can then ask follow-up questions about their action plans to achieve the change(s), how they will organize the timeline, and so on. 

So, these questions will show us how the candidate process data and think for potential solutions, and whether they can provide realistic plan (regarding timeline, budget, resource allocation, etc.) to implement their suggestions. 

If a candidate can provide good, realistic answers, they are definitely worth keeping.

Wrapping up

Interview a marketing candidate has two main goals: determining whether they are a good fit for your marketing team, and on the other hand, convincing them that you are the right place for them to grow.

The five questions we have discussed above will achieve those two important things.

Remember that the best marketing talents are likely to have multiple offers on their hands, so showing them that your company is exciting, creative, and engaging is also very important. 

Written By
Mike Khorev is an SEO consultant and digital marketing expert who helps SaaS, Software, IT and Tech companies generate more leads and sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based digital marketing, web design, social media, search engine marketing, and many other online practices.

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