Hiring for marketing in today’s landscape can be challenging.
There are a lot of different types of marketing out there.
A lot of professionals are specialized working in one or sometimes many marketing channels.
It’s important to make sure that you’re able to hire somebody who is going to be able to do the job you need them to do.
Marketing is especially a critical aspect of any business, as marketing and sales are the lifeblood of an organization.
So making a good or bad hire in marketing can make or break your organization.
At the end of the day it all comes down to talent, so hiring the right talent is your job.
Hiring in general is tricky and interviewing truly is an art.
GETTING CLEAR ABOUT YOUR NEEDS
First and foremost, before you even get to the interview stage it’s critical that you have a clear picture of what you need.
Often times, hiring managers will start to interview candidates without having a clear picture of what they need.
You’ll want to sit down and get clear about what the different channels are that are critical for your business.
If this is already spelled out and clear for you then you can skip this step.
If not, we recommend truly examining this and deciding which channels are important to you.
Sometimes candidates have expertise and other channels that will crossover.
For example, search engine optimization and search engine marketing have a lot of crossover, but they’re not the same.
If you need someone who is heavily focused in SEO or SEM you’ll need to tailor your interview process to flesh out that person’s strengths.
Most people who do SEO also know how to do SEM, but they may be stronger or weaker in one or the other.
BEYOND SEO AND SEM
There are also many other digital channels that you could need for your business.
Some things to consider aside from SEO and SEM are email marketing, social media, paid social or other types of paid or display ads.
You might need someone strong in writing content for different ads, and/or someone stronger from a strategy perspective.
You need to take all of these things into account when you’re writing a job description.
Nowadays digital marketing people need to be much more involved from an analytics and campaign perspective.
You’ll need to figure out a way to screen for this if it’s important to your business.
WHAT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY?
The other thing that you’ll need to be clear about is how technical you need this person to be.
Are they going to be making website updates?
Do they need to have a design background?
Should they have some development skills?
Marketing is tied so much with technology nowadays that these are things you’ll need to consider.
Your position may be more or less specialized and you may need somebody with only one or two channels of expertise.
On the other hand, you may need someone who is extremely multi channeled who knows how to market in a wide variety of channels.
Getting very clear about all of this will help you tailor your interview questions.
DO NOT LEAD THE WITNESS
Many interviewers make the common mistake of what we call “leading the witness” when interviewing a candidate.
What we mean by that is asking questions that are too easy to answer.
Asking a question like, “are you good at search engine marketing?” makes it very easy for a candidate to just answer “yes.”
So they have told you exactly what you want to hear.
This is particularly important when hiring marketing folks, and especially when you need to hone in on someone with digital expertise.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Asking the right questions when interviewing digital marketing candidates is everything!
The number one thing to ask a digital marketing person is to tell you about recent campaigns and projects they’ve been responsible for.
Ask them to walk you through the day-to-day of running those campaigns and projects and what they have their hands on.
You want to ask open ended questions like, “walk me through your day to day” and “what are your most recent projects and campaigns?”
Asking this question in this way is going to give you insight into what the person’s day looks like and doesn’t lead to witness.
It doesn’t give them something to launch off from to tell you what they think you want to hear.
You want questions that actually have them walk through their day to day.
Then you can get a sense of what this person has been doing and see if that matches up with what you need.
The next critical question for marketing candidates is having them explain what their KPI’s are, and how they’re measured and managed for their performance.
Find out what they think important KPI’s are, how they measure KPI’s and how they adjust and optimize different projects in the campaigns they’re running.
It’s critical that a marketing person is connected to their performance and outcomes of their activities.
You want to get some insight into how this person knows they’re effective or not effective.
Another critical question is what they think the most important aspects of marketing are when it comes to acquiring customers.
You want to understand their philosophy, where they come from and how they think as a marketer.
It is critical for you to evaluate them as a marketer as well as to see if their philosophy on marketing lines up with your company values and strategy.
A fourth great question to ask candidates is to have them tell you about a challenging campaign or project that they have come across.
You want to hear of a major hurdle or article that they needed to overcome.
Have them walk you through what the problem was, what happened and how they dealt with it.
This will give you insight into their thinking and how they solve problems from a marketing perspective.
The more specific you get them to answer, the better, as you’ll get a sense of how they deal with problems as a marketer and how they overcome them.
HIRING FOR CULTURE FIT
Last, but not least you want to ask them to tell you what their idea work environment and company culture looks like.
When asking candidates this, ask them to be honest because people tend to want to tell the interviewer what they think they want to hear.
Candidates want to get the job and so they’ll likely tell you that they’re going to fit in with your company.
You want to really know if working together would really be a good fit.
There are lot of different people and a lot of personalities out there in the world and not everybody works well together.
It’s important to keep in mind that is not a problem at all, you just have to keep looking.
There is a lid for every pot and so you want to make it safe for the candidate to tell you about their ideal culture.
You want to be able to truly gauge if they would be a good fit for you and for them.
In the same breath you can also ask about some of the things that they don’t like in a work environment and culture.
You can gauge dislikes against your company culture as well.
These are some simple steps that you can apply when it comes to hiring digital marketing people.
If you’re smart you’ll be able to take these questions and apply them to any type of professional.
Your interview questions should all be tailored and used to hire the best marketing talent out there to grow and scale your business.
If you’re still building your interview questions, here’s a great resource! https://muse.cm/1hLMaHT
Have questions or want to find out about working with us? Let’s chat!