How To Interview A Marketing Candidate

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How To Interview A Marketing Candidate

Finding a marketing candidate that fits your brand, marketing style, team needs, and revenue goals is rarely easy- and there are many factors to consider. The first thing to evaluate is the marketer's core competencies- do they have the skills and technical abilities to reach your market? Next, do they understand your customers? Are they proficient with the tools necessary to help you achieve quarterly goals and objectives? Do they understand your brand and value proposition? All of these will play a role in the success of your product or service and should be key considerations when evaluating marketing candidates.

Understanding the Importance of Interviewing Marketing Candidates

Marketing and advertising are the core revenue drivers of a business- making this a key hire. Marketers create the first thing your customers will see, whether that’s an ad, email, presentation, blog post, or other marketing collateral- their work IS your brand’s first impression on your customers. As such, having a strategic plan to find and hire the right marketing candidate is fundamental to your long-term success.

Hiring the wrong marketer will be equally impactful. A candidate that lacks the necessary skills or doesn't align with your brand can lead to wasted time and resources, as well as potentially damage your reputation among potential customers. It's important to understand the significance of effectively interviewing marketing candidates to make the best hiring decision for your business.

How to Interview a Marketing Candidate

To find the best marketing candidate for your team, you’ll want to begin with an outline of your goals and quarterly sales expectations. If you understand your marketing funnel well, you can align your growth goals with the hiring criteria and team’s expectations. For example, let’s say that you discover that 100 inbound leads per week directed to a landing page offering a white paper results in 10 sales conversations, with 3 of those leading to a sale. How many sales must you achieve to meet quarterly targets? This is a reverse-engineered hiring criteria.

Now that you have those metrics, you can reframe them in your interview process in the form of behavioral and situational interview questions. Incorporating both types of questions will allow you to assess the candidate's past experiences and critical thinking skills for a potential fit. Ask them to tell you about their previous marketing campaigns and how they achieved their results. Have them walk through a hypothetical scenario and explain their thought process for tackling it. These types of questions will give you insights into the candidate's approach, problem-solving abilities, and decision-making skills.

Additionally, consider asking questions that specifically relate to your brand or industry. This will help you gauge their preparedness for the interview and any relevant industry experience that they have. In the next sections, we’re going to cover not only how to interview, but how to interview well (So you get the best results).

If you’re currently struggling to identify the best candidates for your team and would like to see how Pillar’s interview intelligence software can help you make better hiring decisions, chat with someone from our team to see our suite of effective hiring tools.

How To Interview Effectively

Now let’s drive into conducting the interview. Before a candidate ever shows up to an interview, we need to cover our bases to ensure we’re prepared and equipped to interview them effectively. As we discussed in the last section, once you’ve reverse-engineered your sales criteria (to use the marketing hire as an example), you must create a job description. There are many resources out there to help you do this, and this post from LinkedIn happens to be one of our favorites, but even tools like ChatGPT can get you 50% of the way to an accurate job description.

Next, we need to create a pool of applicants who are qualified and interested in the role - most often this will mean sharing the job post with colleagues, posting it on job boards, and asking your network to share the open role with qualified candidates. Once we have a pool of applicants, it’s time to begin the interview process.

How to Interview Effectively

The first step in effectively interviewing is to set clear objectives for the interview. This will help guide your questions and ensure that you gather all necessary information from the candidate. An opener like, “Hey (name), it’s great to meet you. Over the next 30 minutes we’re going to cover…” and list the clear objectives you’ve outlined for the interview. These should cover rapport building with the candidate, company details, the role and expectations, and the candidate's qualifications for the role. 

Beginning with your screening call and at each point of connection throughout the interview process, your candidate should have a clear timeline, next steps, and expectations. This will not only help you keep the process moving smoothly, but it also demonstrates your company’s organization and professionalism to the candidate- further increasing their interest in joining your team.

How to Conduct a Job Interview - Preparing the Environment

Before conducting an interview, it’s important to prepare the environment for both yourself and the candidate. Make sure you have a quiet space with minimal distractions where you can focus on being present. Candidates feel this, and it can make all the difference in their impression of your company. Additionally, ensure that any relevant materials you may need are organized and easily accessible. Resumes, portfolios of work, online social profiles, and other resources that validate the candidate’s experience will help you make better hiring decisions. Additionally, using tools like interview intelligence software will help score the candidate objectively and deliver AI-powered interviewer insights.

Finally, use a structured approach when interviewing. This means using a consistent set of questions for all candidates to ensure that you’re comparing candidates on an equal basis. Keep in mind that the goal is not just to evaluate the candidate's skills and qualifications, but also to assess their fit within your company culture and team dynamic. This will make all the difference as the team faces the challenges of doing business in a rapidly changing world.

How To Interview An Internal Candidate

Internal candidates are generally much easier to interview than those who’ve come from external sources, the reason for this is rapport. We already know how they’re going to perform and fit into company culture. But that doesn’t mean we should overlook the principles of effective interviewing. In fact, I believe we should be more vigilant. Recently, we’ve seen the failures of candidates who’ve been promoted to roles they weren’t ready or even qualified for just because they were internal hires. These hires have often led to the failure of business units which were on a “rocket-to-the-moon” trajectory before being handed over to new managers.

How to Interview an Internal Candidate

Let’s go back to our marketing candidate- which will give us the best illustration of the difference between how we interview candidates for a job from external sources vs internal ones. When interviewing an internal candidate, leverage your pre-existing rapport but maintain a structured interview process. Discuss their achievements, how they envision their transition into the new role, and any gaps in skills or knowledge they might need to bridge. For an external candidate, you will not have the same rapport to draw upon, so it’s important to build a relationship with them during the interview process. Create a relaxed atmosphere, set the stage, build rapport, be present, and engage the candidate. Ask great questions and leave room for the candidate to do the same.

Having a list of marketing interview questions with answers would also be helpful. This will allow you a better evaluation of candidate responses that align with your company goals and objectives. Structuring your questions with a mix of technical, situational, and behavioral inquiries allows you to thoroughly assess the candidate's qualifications, problem-solving abilities, and potential cultural fit for your team. When it comes to interview questions, we have tons of helpful resources on our blog or you can chat with someone from our team to see our library of interview questions. The library has more than 1000 questions that can be added to your interviews with just a few clicks.

In conclusion, mastering the art of interviewing is paramount for making informed hiring decisions, whether you're evaluating an external applicant or an internal candidate. Being prepared, creating a relaxed atmosphere, and having access to the right interview questions will greatly improve your chances of finding the best fit for your team and company. If you’re currently struggling to hire top talent, we’d love to help you build a structured hiring process that attracts the best of the best. Book a demo of our interview intelligence today to chat with our team. Happy Hiring!