By Christina M. Nguyen
Once you’ve developed the hard and soft skills for a marketing role and perfected your resume and cover letters, it’s time to embark on the next stage of the marketing adventure: the interviews.
This is one of the final hurdles before landing that dream marketing job. Demonstrating your hard skill set but also your emotional intelligence in responding to questions will be the key to a successful discussion with the company’s interviewers. Here are a few tips to help you get ready.
You should start by looking into the company in depth. First, download our guide to Analyzing a Company’s Digital Marketing Presence for an Interview. If you’ve applied, chances are you know what the company does – at least on the surface. But you’ll need more to stand out. Scroll back several months in their social media, look for any press about them, and learn about all their products. So, you’re prepared, take a look at the company’s reviews on Glassdoor or other sites that can give you an indication of how they treat employees.
Interviewers will almost always ask what you know about their company and brand, and why you’d like to work there. Having answers ready for those questions will certainly help demonstrate your serious about taking on the role. When asked a question such as: “Why do you want to work for us?”, interviewees will sometimes answer in very generic ways: “I like your brand and products.”. So, finding more specific reasons will help you stand out. This can include small things such as the humor or tone you noticed in the way a company promotes one of its products or services. Maybe it’s the smart way they provide practical information that’s helpful to customers. Or, the social impact the company had by leading an environmental or diversity and inclusion campaign. Those types of answers demonstrate your potential to have an emotional commitment to what the company does.
If you want to take your research a little further, you can look up more information about your interviewers if you’ve been given their names. Just looking at their LinkedIn profile can be enough. This way, you can make a personal connection by mentioning a similar goal, perhaps a school you both attended, a skill, language, or other interests you have in common.
One of the hardest things to do in an interview is to exude confidence. Yes, it’s a new role and there are things you don’t know about how the company operates. But recruiters looked at your resume and found that you had, on paper, the hard skills that were relevant to the role. And you can certainly speak to your background better than anyone else. So, as you enter the interview, you should feel confident you had the experience that they already pre-qualified you for.
One thing you can do: Look at your resume and be ready to summarize your experience and why you think it’s relevant to this new role. Rehearsing what you will say about yourself will give you added confidence. Second, it’s good to remember that the company has to sell you on the role as much as you’re trying to sell them on your fit. If they make the interview so difficult or painful, you might not want to work for them anyway. In a tough job market, certainly companies have the advantage, but a good company will want to make you feel comfortable. So there’s no reason to get anxious if you believe in your ability to talk about your background and skills.
“Tell me about yourself.”
This is usually one of the first questions asked in an interview. It’s short, vague, yet is overwhelming due to the mass of information that could be used to answer it. Some interviewees might delve into their family history from the 1700s. Some focus only on their education and experience. Ideally, you should discuss some personal details, educational background, job experience, unique perspectives, goals, and wrap it up with a few lines on why you chose this company.
The underlying aim of this question is to learn how you present yourself and what details are important to you. It’s a preliminary way to get a sense of your values and cultural fit. If you keep emphasizing making money and say nothing about helping others, that’s a red flag to a company that values social impact over personal gain. If your description characterizes you as a rigid, serious, no-nonsense person, a company with a more laid-back atmosphere may not favor you, especially if they’re looking to take their marketing down a more lighthearted route.
You should be careful not to disclose too many personal details, such as your social interactions or wild party habits from college. Even if going to twenty raves a year somehow contributed to your glowing confidence and social skills, keep it professional. Don’t be afraid to mention your love of ultimate frisbee, playing the guitar, or hiking. Your hobbies are a part of you anyway, and some interviewers actually ask this. Finally, focus on your strengths, passions, and interests. Which characteristics you choose to discuss most will give the interviewer a quick impression of what’s important to your identity.
You’ve probably seen a few infographics or videos on the topic of “What to wear to an interview.” Most sites recommend dressing conservatively – business attire – and more neutral colors such as khaki, navy, and black. While these outfits are certainly proper, “interview attire” isn’t one-size-fits all (particularly now in the age of virtual interviews).
Generally, the digital marketing industry is more relaxed than most. Unless you’re specifically told by a recruiter to dress in a particular way, you’re probably safe dressing more in a business casual fashion. Research the company on Glassdoor for their dress code and dress a step above that. If your position will be at a law firm or a financial services firm, you may still have to dress in business professional attire (suit or dress).
Good luck. And don’t forget to download our guide to Analyzing a Company’s Digital Marketing Presence for an Interview.