By Christina M. Nguyen
A marketing interview typically consists of getting to know your personal background, hard skills, and soft skills. Here are 6 commonly asked questions that can oftentimes stump unprepared candidates. Note: More specific questions may be asked for specialized roles, but here’s what you can reasonably expect across most marketing positions.
Obviously, it’s important to research the company. At Find My Marketer, we have developed a free whitepaper, Analyzing the Digital Presence of a Company for a Marketing Interview, that will help you prepare. In addition to that, it’s good to also research, the company’s mission and values, tone and voice, as well as target audience and competitors. If you really want to stand out, look through any press on the organization for the past few years and bring up any notable news.
One way to attack this question is to discuss your past experience so that it builds up to the particular job that you’re interviewing for. Don’t forget that many roles you might have had previously – even volunteer ones – are fair game if they demonstrate some of the skills or interests required for the job. Also, if you have researched the company thoroughly as suggested above, you will likely be able to address your culture fit and how your beliefs align with the company’s values. Finally, it’ a great opportunity to discuss the ways your hard skills and knowledge can be applied to help the organization moving forward.
If you have a hard time with it, that’s OK. What’s important is that you focus on the positive aspects of past criticism – in particular, the ways it perhaps changed your point of view or made you think about something differently moving forward. What’s important with this question is that you respond honestly and focus on the ways you’ve grown. With marketing, oftentimes people can argue over one implementation or another. So if there has been criticism in the past and it’s been over a marketing-type decision, one way to answer that is that you’ve learned ways to compromise, including make suggestions for A/B testing to see which approach is right.
There are a few reasons interviewers have for asking this question? Sometimes, they want an outside opinion to validate their own. Sometimes they want to learn new issues about a website that interviewees may help them discover. Nearly all of the time, however, they want to know how much due diligence you have done in terms of looking at the user experience, which from a marketing standpoint is always critical. First, make sure to download our free whitepaper, Analyzing a Company’s Digital Presence for a Marketing Interview, which covers the core areas of analyzing a website. Second, after you’ve done your research, make sure to balance your suggestions for the company with what they have done well. For example, don’t fall into a trap of telling the individual responsible for the website that it’s an awful experience.
Keeping up with trends and various changes is critical to staying relevant in marketing. One of the ways you can do this in digital is to follow blogs that are already out there, including from the following helpful sources:
In addition, think about what you’ve done to demonstrate improving your skills. Find My Marketer, for example, puts on a two-day (virtual or in-person) course that covers all the major aspects of digital marketing including SEO, content marketing, website design and strategy, social media, email, paid media (search, display, native), video, mobile, e-commerce, and even emerging technologies. If you find yourself lacking in any of those areas, take a course and get up to speed.
Oftentimes, interviewers will ask about past marketing campaigns or give candidates hypothetical situations about campaigns moving forward. This is where it’s helpful to be able to talk about 4 key areas: 1. The budgets you worked with (or costs); 2. The benchmarks you set; 3. The corresponding goals you wanted to reach or KPIs (key performance indicators), and; 4. The overall return on investment (ROI).
We’ll explain this as a process. Let’s say you have $10,000 to spend on a paid search campaign (budget). And in the past, let’s say you had a 150 percent return on investment (benchmark – i.e., you generally earned $25,000 for every $10,000 you spent). Let’s say you set your new goal/KPI as a 200% ROI because you believe you could optimize better over past campaigns. You then run the campaign and you measure how well it did. Did you achieve your 200 percent ROI? What went well that you did achieve it? Were your assumptions correct?
That’s a pretty simple example, and not everything you measure needs to have a ROI attached to it. Some KPIs might be a 20 percent open rate on email, 10% more click-throughs to a website (from a particular benchmark), or maybe even a certain number of downloads or impressions. The point is that you should be prepared to demonstrate the thinking behind measuring your efforts in a particular campaign or marketing initiative.
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