There are always bits of jobs we don't like, but project managers typically work on the projects that they are assigned. It's fine to have preferences, but you're looking for someone who can respond to business needs even if that isn't their top choice of project.
Managing up means working well with people more senior than you. Project managers do this all the time, so it's good to find out how they make those relationships work.
Marketing is changing constantly at a rapid pace -- so anyone in a marketing role needs to know how to stay on top of and adapt to these changes. Do they know where to look for industry news? Are they familiar with and subscribed to top marketing blogs? What do they do when they see a change has taken place, like when Google updates their algorithm?
This gives you an indication of how they do their job. Someone who spends all day at the PC may suit your environment, or you might be looking for a project manager who gets out and visits clients most days of the week. Remember that they might be prepared to do something other than what they do now, so if you hear something that doesn't fit with the post you are recruiting for, don't rule them out before exploring this further.
It will show you what's important to them at work: green credentials, career progression, work/life balance, working for a big brand etc. It will also tell you if they are actively job hunting or whether they saw your ad and couldn't resist (either is fine).
Before giving you an answer, the best candidates will come back and ask you about the blog's metrics, how many leads and customers it generates, what the goals are for it, how much you're investing in it, and so on. This is also a great way to test whether they actually prepared for the interview by reading your blog.
This will help you work out if they are happy to be honest and tell you about a time that something went wrong. This shows their capacity to learn from mistakes and how they deal with information overload. Delegating work packages is key to project work and you'll want to hire someone who understands that.
Not everyone has the chance to work on business critical, exciting projects that make for a great CV, but everyone has the chance to offer some suggestions for improvements (even if they aren't taken up). Look for someone who has ideas and who isn't afraid to put them forward.
It will show you their priorities and whether they have actually thought about what a project manager does. It will also demonstrate whether they are a good cultural fit for your team. If you have a strong focus on process and they think the most important thing is to be flexible and adapt processes as you go, then you probably won't get on.
If candidate's answer on above question is $0, they are lying. If they are unsure and say not that much. They are lying. If they are truthful and say quite a bit, and then go on to explain how that taught them lessons on strategy development, budgeting etc, then I'd hire them.
This question will help you assess a candidate's ability to explain a concept they know intimately to someone who isn't as familiar with it. If their hobby is training for a marathon, ask them what advice they'd give you if you woke up one day deciding you wanted to train for a marathon. Are they able to communicate it clearly?
One candidate taught me how to make tagliatelle, which is hand-cut Italian pasta. She gave me the full run-down on how you make the noodles, how you form them and cut them, and which ingredients go into the sauce. She relayed the step-by-step process to me in a way that was very clear and understandable. I felt like I could've gone home and made tagliatelle myself. Not only did this tell me she knows how to convey information clearly, but it was also gave me insight into her personality and interests.
If you're doing digital communications, you'll probably be involved with content and content management systems. Hopefully your candidate will have used a few and have been paying sufficient attention to prefer some over others, and have intelligent reasons for doing so.
Do their points suggest an awareness of the strategic issues at play in choosing a CMS? Issues like security, updating, the availability of developers to work on a particular platform, data liberation, and open source will hopefully be raised.
You should try and answer this question as honestly as you can. Think about why you applied for your first digital marketing job – was it the reputation of the industry? Its fast-paced nature? The fact high-paying salaries were on offer? Or the fact that it's constantly changing, growing and adapting on a weekly basis?
The employer is asking this question to test your commitment to the industry and to find out what makes you tick as a digital marketing candidate – so your answer needs to convey your commitment and enthusiasm for the sector overall.
A good answer would be to say that you were attracted to the industry because it's got a good reputation and there are lots of opportunities available to progress your career, learn new skills and expand your knowledge. This answer shows you're committed to the sector long-term and demonstrates that you're a candidate who's constantly looking to improve and enhance their skills.
☛ prove that you have assessed the company's current strategy and tactics
☛ prove you can be honest about the fail points you have identified
☛ show that you can do more than just criticize by offering constructive strategies for addressing fail points
☛ prove you have the confidence to tell their future employer when they are making a mistake
Don't dislike any part of working in the digital marketing industry? Sorry but I think you're fibbing! And the employer will too! Why? Because there's always something, big or small, that everyone dislikes about their job.
Think about which parts of your last job you dreaded and why – and consider what bugbears you have with the industry. Above all, be honest! You never know; the employer might feel the same way – and it might convince them to take you on. Similarly, if you voice your dislike of a particular task now, the employer might end up tweaking your role if they do take you on to ensure you don't have to do something you don' like.
Earlier this year the ICO formally began enforcing an EU privacy directive from 2009 that covers cookies. This is why you now see so many popups on websites asking you to consent for cookies.
The ICO's guidance on consent, in the run up to the enforcement deadline, was a source of heated discussion. Shortly before enforcement began, the concept of ‘implied consent' was introduced. Whether your candidate thinks this was sensible pragmatism from an organisation tasked with enforcing an impossible EU directive, or a frustrating last-minute change of tack that has abandoned consumers to continued electronic surveillance and marketing, the main thing is that they can give you an answer. You certainly don't want to see a glazed expression .
It can demonstrate their awareness of PMI Code of Ethics and even if they aren't aware of that, their general approach to work. You can also use it to open up an interesting discussion and allow you to judge how they will fit into your business culture.
With this question, it's all going to come down to your own personal experience – so think about what you've done in the past and what skills you've picked up which they might not necessarily have in-house which could benefit the business overall. Also consider any particular digital marketing campaigns that you learnt a lot from – and how this particular knowledge could help the business or one of the business' existing clients.
In this instance, the employer is really asking what differentiates you from the rest of the applicants – so think carefully about what makes you unique (in terms of your digital marketing skills, knowledge, experience and contacts) and how this could have a positive effect on the business.
We're looking for technical skills, strategic direction, problem solving, stakeholder management, expectation management, and a drive to learn from problems and improve processes. Don't hesitate to ask them to frame their answer differently if it's not making sense.
Hopefully their response will go beyond measuring statistics like ‘time on site' and ‘number of pages per visit' and talk about measuring the achievement of the organisation's aims using digital.
Ask them how they'd measure the achievement of the organisation's aims online, and what experience they have in doing this. Of course, once you're able to measure how well an organisation's digital presence is helping it achieve its objectives, you can try to improve thi, in an evidence-led way.
They might also hit on the thornier question of social media measurement. They'll hopefully talk about engagement. Perhaps they're even reading Beth Kanter's new book ‘Measuring the Networked Nonprofit'. Ask them how they've increased this, how they've measured their successes, and what returned has come from this.
Do they care about their field? Are they excited by it and its possibilities? Hopefully you'll sense some in their eyes as they answer this question.
This question also probes whether they have their ear to the ground. As a follow-up question you could ask: What makes for good content or a good digital campaign?
☛ Tell me what you know about SEO
☛ What is the difference between 'On Page' and 'Off Page' optimization?
☛ What is the difference between 'White Hat SEO' and 'Black Hat SEO'?
☛ Tell me about the latest Google algorithm changes.
☛ What SEO tools do you use?
☛ What tool(s) do you use to track your rankings?
☛ What is page rank or PR?
☛ What is a 'Backlink'?
☛ What is the purpose of social media?
☛ Give an example of when you have had to write a social media strategy explain how you approached this task
☛ What are the differences between writing for traditional web channels and writing for social media?
☛ Why do you think we should use social media?
☛ In what ways do we need to be careful when using these tools?
☛ How do you measure social ROI?
☛ What is your experience managing multiple social media accounts?
☛ What social media tools have you experience with?
☛ Which social media brand strategy has inspired you lately?
☛ What is your policy on moderating comments?
☛ How does social media affect SEO and your online profile?
☛ Can you tell us about some of the challenges you have faced when introducing social media in your previous job, and how you overcame them?
☛ Can you explain what PPC stands for?
☛ Do you have experience directly managing a Google Adwords campaign?
☛ How do you improve quality score?
☛ What does CPC means?
☛ With CPC ads, how can a lower click through rate lead to a higher ROI (Return on Investment)?
☛ Is it good, bad or indifferent to pay for ads on terms that you already rank on for natural search?
☛ How do you measure ROI?
☛ What's your methodology in creating ad copies
☛ What web analysing packages are you familiar with?
☛ Why it is important to monitor your website traffic (or the lack of it)?
☛ How do you assess engagement/the value of a visitor to the business?
☛ What is 'Bounce Rate'?
☛ Explain the difference between a page view, visit, visitor and unique visitor?
☛ What does Google Webmaster Tools do?
☛ Explain what a conversion rate is.
☛ Talk about one of your most effective campaigns. What made them so effective?
☛ How do you know when a campaign has failed? What metrics do you use?
☛ What does the conversion funnel look like at your company?
☛ How many people are on your current marketing team? What are their roles?
☛ How would you describe your current brand's tone of voice and visual identity?
☛ How do your customers inform your approach to brand-building?
☛ How do you get product feedback from your customers?
☛ What tools do you use to stay organized?
☛ Talk about your experience with editorial calendars.
☛ What is the relationship between SEO and content marketing?
☛ What are some common SEO mistakes in digital content production?
☛ What are the most important and effective social media channels for your brand?
☛ What is your experience with marketing automation?
☛ What role does paid advertising play in your overall strategy?
☛ What is your experience with co-marketing campaigns?
☛ What is the importance of thought leadership at your current organization?
☛ Describe a time you worked with a team to create a campaign on a tight budget.
☛ What is your approach to structuring a marketing budget?
☛ What is your approach to editing copy?
☛ Describe a time you gave constructive feedback to a colleague.
☛ Describe a time your team didn't agree with your direction. How did you handle it?
☛ How would you handle negative feedback about your brand?
☛ What's interesting about our current marketing? What could we do better?
☛ Can you explain what content marketing is?
☛ What blogs do you read?
☛ Why and how would someone share your content or talk about your company?
☛ Explain the link between content marketing and SEO
☛ Explain the link between content marketing and your social media strategy
☛ Can you explain the steps you would take to build a content strategy for our business
☛ Can you talk to me about a content strategy that you have implemented? Was it successful?
☛ How important is video content?
☛ How would you explain the difference between online and offline marketing?
☛ How do you foresee the future of online marketing?
☛ What does it mean to have a responsive website?
☛ Have you looked at our company website, can you suggest how you would improve it?
☛ What is the most effective way to increase traffic to your website?
☛ Explain how you would carry out keyword research? Which keyword research tools would you use?
☛ What website CMS platforms have you administered in the past (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla?)
Hopefully you'll have some idea about what could be improved with your digital presence before the interview. If you don't have any expertise in house, I'd recommend jumping on to a platform like Sparked and asking the volunteers there for their opinion before the interview. The community there is very helpful with challenges like this, and will give you some good ammunition.
There are lots of things that could be wrong with your digital presence. Perhaps the website displays horribly on tablets, maybe the twitter presence is more marketing spam than useful, engaging material. Perhaps the branding is sloppy, the accessibility is imperfect, or the tone is all wrong. Maybe the digital communications are focusing on the wrong things.
Whilst the substance of the answer to this question is important, also evaluate how it is articulated. Is this someone who will be able to diplomatically deal with stakeholders across the organisation?
Does it feel like they'd focus on the core issues, or get lost in vanity projects or sideshows?
I use this type of question as a way of exploring whether they take a strategic or tactical approach to marketing decisions. Far too often, the responses I received were tactical. They'd describe what they would do on Facebook (or whatever channel or tool I presented them with), rather than taking the time to step back and consider the situation before jumping to a solution.
The answer I would want to get to that question would go something like:
Well, before I can answer that, I'd have a few questions for you -- who, specifically, are you trying to reach and what, specifically, are you trying to achieve?
When an employer asks you this question, they want to know how you deal with challenges and roadblocks and – potentially even how you deal with failure. Why? Because challenges are guaranteed to crop up in every role – and the employer wants to make sure you're not going to crumble and struggle to cope when they do.
Think carefully about the challenges you've encountered in your career and what the outcome of these challenges have been. In this instance, it's OK to mention a challenge which resulted in failure – as long as you can say what you've learnt from it and how you've used that knowledge to affect the success of a future campaign.
For example, you could talk about a site you've worked on that was hit with a Google Penguin update – and how you had to work hard to clean up the site's link profile in order to recover rankings and Google's trust. In this case, you could say that you learnt that Google's constantly changing its algorithms, you learnt what makes a good/bad link and the importance of sticking with a project from start to finish and you learnt the importance of keeping a clean backlink profile.
This'll show you how well a candidate understands all the different tactics of inbound marketing and how to tie them together into a holistic plan. It'll also give you insight into how creative they are and whether they can come up with new and interesting ways to do marketing.
This will also start to give an idea of whether or not the applicant possesses cross-platform skills or if they are more heavily skilled in some areas over others. SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing are all one in 2016.
Now obviously this one will only be relevant to graduates but it does get asked, particularly if you have a degree which isn't necessarily directly related to marketing or digital marketing. In this instance, consider what core skills you needed to complete your degree and dissertation and how these can be transferred to the digital marketing industry. For instance, if you have a Journalism degree, you could talk about how your degree has equipped you with knowledge of how to approach outreach – and how to structure an article/report properly.
Similarly, if you have a degree in Economics or Maths, you might want to talk about how your degree has benefited you when you've had to manage budgets and calculate daily spend allowances for PPC campaigns.
With this question, the employer wants to know what skills and knowledge you picked up at university that could benefit their business in the long run.
Things are changing fast, so if you can't say how you've bettered yourself in the last year you're pretty much moving backwards. Hopefully you've learned from your own experience, and from changes in the wider world of digital communications.
Follow up: How do you keep up-to-date with changing practice?
They may well use a mixture of twitter, in person meetups and RSS feeds. Ask them to name a couple of favourite sources of information – they can be people or organisations or websites.
Most applicants can rattle off the blogs and podcasts they know are leaders in their industry. I then follow that question up with, What have you learned recently from one of those resources, and how will it change the way you do your job? This follow-up separates the contenders from the pretenders. You can't fake it. Applicants either have a quick, confident response, or they flounder. Job seekers should prepare for questions like this by paying attention to the leading industry blogs, podcasts, and newsletters. Then, they should think about how recent changes impact their current or past companies.
I would need to hear about the determining goal of the campaign (brand awareness, leads, social media followers, etc) and then planning the campaign around the desired result. Candidate will need to talk about TRACKING and using analytics (Google or otherwise) to get as much data as possible. Tell me how they're going to track it. Adding URL parameters and the like. The key to digital marketing is having as much data as possible in order to be able to leverage that data to make actionable insights. The more they can tell me about how they're going to gather the data and the ways they can look at the data to see what worked, what didn't, and where things could be improved the more likely it'd be they would get the job.
Do they know who the main user group is? How do they know this? What sort of testing have they done to find out? What sort of data have they used? Have they made assumptions?
It's worth probing the technical skills of candidates. Can they talk knowledgably about fishbone diagrams, De Bono's thinking hats, role play? Branch out to talk about the last project issue they resolved with creative thinking.
Again, with this answer, it's best to be honest. Consider which tasks you look forward to in your day and which areas you particularly enjoy working in… but be careful not to just go for the ‘easy' tasks. The employer wants to hear that you enjoy being challenged and is again looking for an insight into who you are as a candidate.
With this answer, it's best to list a couple of things, preferably across a range of niches (eg. SEO, PPC, Social, Affiliates etc) to demonstrate your skills and your passion for the sector overall and to show that you're not a ‘one trick pony'.
With this question, the employer is asking why you applied for the job so it goes without saying that your answer needs to reflect the job advert and the business you'd be working in. Think back to when you first saw the job advert and ask yourself what it was that made you click ‘apply' – was it the actual role itself? The business? The location? Or was it the salary? Normally I'd urge you to be honest, but if you did apply for the job because it had a great salary, I'd urge you to keep quiet in this instance – you don't want the employer to think you're greedy!
With this question, the employer is testing you to see how much ambition you have and to see how much you've thought about where your career is going to go. Now, we've addressed this one on our Blog before but in regards to digital marketing, if you really want this particular role, I'd urge you to think about the role you're being interviewed for and how you might be able to progress within that particular company before you give you answer.
It's OK to be ambitious – but you also need to be realistic too. If you're interviewing for a digital marketing executive role, you could say you'd like to be a digital marketing manager either in-house or in an agency – which will show the employer you're keen to progress and take on extra responsibility – possibly at their business. On the other hand, if you're applying for a digital marketing manager vacancy, you could say you see yourself in a Head of Digital role – or running your own digital marketing agency. Although the latter might put a few employers off, it shows you're keen to be successful and not just stagnate in one role.
You want to hire someone who's both qualified and has the desire to do the work. Otherwise, why would they work for you instead of the company next door?
Part of their answer will lie in their body language and enthusiasm. The other part will lie in how concrete their answer is. Get at the details by asking a follow-up question, like: "Let's say you're at home, kicking around, and doing something related to marketing. What is it that you're doing?" Perhaps they're reading their five favorite marketing sites, or analyzing traffic patterns of websites for fun, or writing in their personal blog, or optimizing their LinkedIn profile. Whatever it is, you want to be sure they're deeply passionate about the subject matter you'd hire them for.
This will show you how they value their career and whether they see themselves progressing in a PM role. Ask them why they chose that rating.
This is a slightly mean but actually very manageable question about search engine optimisation (SEO), designed to trip up charlatans. If knowledge of SEO is on the job description, don't be satisfied with waffle about keywords and page rank.
This question refers to two big changes to the workings of the Google search algorithm in the last year or so. These are the 'Panda' and 'Penguin' updates. So this question will tease out whether they keep up-to-date with search engine optimisation (SEO).
In short, Panda aimed to reward sites with quality content, and to punish sites with low quality and duplicate content. The Penguin update aimed to tackle sites that manipulate search engines to rank more highly than they deserve to be ranked. This includes tactics like stuffing pages with keywords, or obtaining links from disreputable websites in an attempt to pretend that a website is seen as useful.
This question lets the employer know that the potential employee understands the importance of interacting with people online and not just scheduling daily posts.
This question isn't coming from a particular angle, but should hopefully see how they combine problem solving, instincts, data, initiative and creativity, as well as their ability to deal with uncertainty.