Marketers play an important role in helping drive business growth. They promote a company's brand, products, and services and ensure that the company is reaching the right customers. They do this by planning and overseeing a variety of marketing activities — from conducting market research and creating buyer personas to building winning programs and campaigns.
But building a strong marketing team isn’t easy. There are tons of companies competing for top talent, and it’s tough to find (and retain) the best fits for your organization. Plus, the cost of mis-hiring is high, typically more than five times the candidate’s salary.
This is why it’s imperative to bring the best marketers into your organization, and it all starts with the questions you ask them in an interview. Check out our 10 favorite marketing interview questions you should be asking every candidate to determine whether they’re right for your business.…
1.) What’s your understanding of our target audience and how we help them?
Effective marketing is about understanding and meeting customer needs. You want to know that your candidate has taken the time to research your company and familiarize themselves with the people you serve. That genuine curiosity and empathy is the foundation of marketing success — if they don’t have it, why would they want to market on behalf of your organization?
2.) What do you think sets our brand apart from our competitors?
Great marketers are visionaries who can quickly identify connections between the existing marketplace and what your brand has to offer. What does this candidate see that others don’t? Do they bring a fresh perspective to your product or market? If so, they may be a major asset to your marketing team.
3.) Tell me about a time when you had to act quickly but didn’t have a lot of data to inform your decision. What did you do and what was the outcome?
Today’s marketers have more data at their fingertips than ever before. But in situations where the data is limited, you need to know that your new hire has good instincts and reasoning skills to guide them. It’s important for them to think through decisions carefully, but they also need to feel comfortable acting fast when a situation calls for it.
4.) Tell me about a product that you successfully marketed. What was your strategy and who was your audience? What channels did you use and how did you measure the impact?
One of the best ways to predict how well a candidate would run your marketing campaigns is to learn how they handled a previous one. You want to know that they can plan, launch, and measure a campaign, overseeing the efforts of their team and making strategic adjustments along the way to optimize the outcome.
5.) Describe a time when a marketing campaign you were involved with failed. What did you do?
A great deal of marketing is experimentation, so there are bound to be a few failures on the road to success. In those situations, you want a marketing manager who takes responsibility and looks forward, rather than making excuses or blaming others. They should focus on solutions, not problems, while still learning from every stumble.
6.) What’s a new marketing tactic that you’ve tried recently? What did you learn?
The marketing landscape is always changing. As new tools emerge and audience expectations evolve, marketing managers need to stay on top of these changes to optimize their team. That’s why the ideal candidate will be a dedicated lifelong learner who takes the initiative to further their professional development.
7.) Tell me about a time when the demands of a project changed significantly. How did you ensure a successful outcome?
This question tests the candidate’s adaptability, which is an important trait in the fast-moving world of marketing. Maybe a project’s budget was suddenly halved, or key members of their team were needed elsewhere. You want to know your candidate can take sudden changes in their stride and make strategic pivots to drive a project to success.
8.) What is a recent piece of content that stood out to you?
A growth-focused content marketer will be curious and always keep an eye out for success stories from other companies and industries. You can then ask a follow-up question, such as how they would promote this piece of content and improve it if possible. Any marketer should have a general idea of what stand-out content looks like. You’ll get a great idea about what the candidate feels is valuable and if it matches what you're looking for.
9.) What do you think of our current social media presence? What would you improve?
Is your candidate prepared, and do they know what they’re talking about? That’s what this question addresses. You’ll be able to immediately pick up if your potential marketer knows what it takes to create a successful social media strategy and see if they’re well equipped to make impactful changes to your current strategy.
10.) Why do you love marketing?
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.
BONUS: What questions do you have for me?
The best marketers — and strong candidates in general — have questions for the interviewer(s). After all, this is the company where they’ll invest their time and energy, possibly for years to come. Remember to allot time to open the floor for questions. Keep in mind that it’s definitely a red flag if they don’t have any questions as this is a general sign of disinterest and that they’re likely not serious about the role.
We hope these questions are helpful as you build a stellar marketing team that will help you reach your business goals in a timely manner.
Check out the other posts in our “The 10 Most Important Questions” series here: