You've got your sights set on this new marketing gig that could definitely be a great next career move for you.
Maybe the job has an awesome brand presence or promises of a snazzy title upgrade, or perhaps it comes with a huge bump in salary, that puts your current one to shame. Whatever the specifics are, you want this job – badly.
And here’s the deal. Preparing for a marketing interview isn’t the same as preparing for any other role. There’s a lot of jargon, specificity, situational questioning and more that can come your way. In order for you to nab the role, you need to have all of this down pat and handle whatever’s thrown at you with knowledge and finesse.
As someone who has done her fair share of hiring for all sorts of content, marketing, and creative roles in the past, I’ve laid out everything you should know to be successful in your next interview.
If you have a plethora existing marketing experience, you’re likely already in a great position to answer most questions. But if you’re trying to move to that next level and haven't experienced everything under the marketing sun, these recommendations are sure to guide you through the conversation.
The 8 Common Questions You'll Hear in Any Marketing Interview
- What attracts you to marketing?
- Between all the mediums of content marketing (like video, infographics, blog posts, etc.), which do you think our business should focus on – and why?
- Have you ever had a campaign go off the rails? What happened?
- I've asked you to manage a campaign around our new annual report... what's your plan?
- We've got great followers on Twitter, but we have little to no traction on Facebook and LinkedIn, and now everyone is telling us we need Instagram. Where do we start, and how are you going to improve the situation?
- I'd like to know how my blog content is performing. How do you propose we find that out?
- Last year, we spent 250k on two tradeshows and we only made about 360k for the year that we think we can attribute to those two tradeshows. Was there a high enough ROI for this? How would you go about letting us know if this investment was worth it, and recommendations for next year?
- What are your hobbies?
How Best to Answer Each of These Questions
Question 01: What attracts you to marketing?
How to Answer:
There is so much to love about marketing, and this question can really only truly be answered by you - but for some, what people love about marketing is the hustle that comes with the trade.
You also can't deny the great ability to be ultra creative in campaigns, the opportunity to be a magnet in a social community, access to data-driven that impact business decisions, or even the possibility of reporting on the success of your very own campaign to show that your teams great work as sincerely paid off!
So be prepared to answer this question as it's likely one of the first you'll be asked!
Question 02: Between all the mediums of content marketing (like videos, infographics, blog posts, etc.), which do you think our business should focus on in this upcoming quarter – and why?
How to Answer:
First things first, review the company's existing content resources as best as you can you can. You can start doing that by:
- Visiting how they are sharing their content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc...
- Discover what downloadable resources they have on their site
- Hint: look for "hubs" or resources" pages in the navigation
- Subscribe to their blog and read a few of them
- Review any video or interactive content they have placed on platforms like YouTube
Once you've done the research, check out their competitors, see how they are treating content and take some notes on the good and the bad.
From there use your best judgment based on the target audience of the organization and general content marketing best practices. Some of those best practices are:
- Consistent Blog content is your brand's running narrative and supports your overall brand's voice. It's also a huge launch point for SEO boosts to your site, AND it's the easiest & quickest to produce.
- Interactive content is all the rage these days, it's a great way to display content in an unexpected manner, be innovative, and also produce quality lead generation.
- Webinars are also a great way to capture more leads. Putting them on once a month quarterly is a great way to boost the personal brand of your marketing, share thought leadership and capture a captivated audience.
- Email is never ever ever ever dead. So invest time in a solid email nurture strategy customized to relevant segments and watch the engagement go.
- Gated content is a tried and true method of capturing leads through a high-value piece of content, however, it's important to be smart about this one. These types of pieces take longer to produce, so putting all your eggs in 1 basket might not always be the best for the company you're interviewing for, again, use your best judgment in your answer.
- And don't forget social media, but make sure whatever you're putting out in the streets is the right road to go down. What I mean by this is ensure through content is being shared on Social Media platforms where the organization is gaining the most followers, likes, and ultimately attention. Social content is just as important as gated, if not moreso depending on the target audience.
Question 03: Have you ever had a campaign go off track? What happened?
How to Answer:
Frankly, this has happened to every marketer I know, so be honest, tell them what the plan was, and how it didn't go according to it, what were your lessons learned, and ultimately what did you do in that instance or the next time around to make it better.
Here's a pretty spot on an example of how to answer something like this:
Yes! At my first job, we created a promotional campaign for a flash sale. I was responsible for scheduling the email blasts and accidentally set them in the wrong time zone so customers ended up getting the emails after the sale had already ended. I felt awful for the mistake – but I copped to it and asked my manager for approval to extend the sale so customers could still enjoy it. Thankfully, they appreciated my honesty and said yet to extend the sale. I also learned a big lesson about checking time zones and campaign timing elements for accuracy!
Question 04: I've requested you to create and manage a campaign around our new annual report... what's your plan?
How to Answer:
Ah, a "marketing request". You should be no stranger to being asked to plan a new campaign, or at a minimum, tackle as an aspect of it. But - how do you handle a question like this in an interview?
The first thing you should really be doing in any new request whether it's an annual report campaign or not is understanding the requirements around it. In your interview feel confident in asking some of the following questions to your interviewer, they will see that you're aren't planning a campaign without any data to back its validity. Here's what you can ask:
- The Report:
- Has the annual report already been completed?
- If so, great I'd love to see it.
- If not, should I assume the assembly of that report will also be my responsibility? Did we do one last year, I'd love to take a peek!
- The Need & Goal:
- Why is this initiative so important?
- What are the goals & KPIs surrounding it?
- What are business KPIs driving this initiative?
- The Audience:
- Who's this campaign for?
- Is this a new market or an existing one?
- The Resources & Stakeholders:
- Are you the owner of this initiative?
- Are there other stakeholders I should be aware of?
- Are there any resources I have to help accomplish this?
- The Timeline:
- What is our requested "go live" date?
- Is that date flexible at all?
- What is driving the timeline?
- Are there any other milestones I should be aware of at this point?
So, you can dig into the requirements with an interviewer to show your strategic thinking or you can even answer it plain and simple like this:
My first step would be to gather information, including how the campaign was managed around the annual report was managed in the past, the findings of this year’s report and the company’s goals in publicizing it. Then, I would use this information to determine the audience we want to reach and what action(s) we’d like to incentivize them to take.
Question 05: We've got great followers on Twitter, but we have little to no traction on Facebook and LinkedIn, and now everyone is telling us we need Instagram. Where do we start, and how are you going to improve the situation?
How to Answer:
Alright so your question won't be exactly worded like this, but this is a very common scenario in marketing. You have 1 or 2 social media platforms that are performing great and some not so much, and then there is always another new and exciting way to market in a platform you don't even current;y support that is a potential carrot dangling from a string of prospective opportunity.
To answer this question you really need to understand what their audience is and take an audit of what's currently going on there.
Here's an on-point example of how best to answer something like this.
I would start by doing a social media audit for the company. I’d review the tactics being used on your existing Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, and then review your buyer personas to see what ideal customers look like. From this, I can then see which social platforms have audiences that best align with your target buyers, and come up with a strategy for increasing the quality of your social posts, interacting with others on these channels and ultimately gaining a better following.
Question 06: I'd like to know how my blog content is performing. How do you propose we find that out?
How to Answer:
This one isn't rocket science but is often times an initiative that goes by the wayside.
The easiest way to determine if your blog content is performing well is by looking at the numbers you have accessible. Metrics like the number of social shares, page views and links clicked can give me fairly good insight into the traction you’re getting through your blog posts.
Also, don't forget to mention the importance of Google Analytics to give you some substantial data on how your content is performing over time.
Question 07: Last year, we spent 250k on two tradeshows and we only made about 360k for the year that we think we can attribute to those two tradeshows. Was there a high enough ROI for this? How would you go about letting us know if this investment was worth it, and recommendations for next year?
How to Answer:
This is a fairly loaded question, amiright? To best answer this, you've likely needed to have experienced something like this, but also apply a level of common sense, if you're making more money then you're spending, in this instance over a 100k, and the experience overall was positive, then it's likely an initiative worth repeating.
Here's a great sample answer that will help you better understand how you can approach a question like this in your interview:
Before I can answer that, I would want to know what your average ROI is on other marketing efforts. If I can see that, I can tell you whether this amount of ROI is on par with your other initiatives, a poor use of resources or worthwhile. Additionally, I'd also like to know if you have other deliverables that aren't tied to revenue? For example, did you achieve and increase in brand awareness? Did your CEO make two valuable relationships that can be nurtured? I like efforts to have ROI metrics that are tied to more than just revenue.
Question 08: What are your hobbies?
How to Answer:
This might seem like a silly question to add to the list, but it's one our CEO Justin Gray asks in every single interview, he feels it tells a lot about a person.
Maybe how active they are in the community, how creative they are, how dedicated they are to family, or maybe that they have none.
I can tell you, every person I've seen answer this is a bit caught off guard when asked. Some simply say... "I have none, all my time is dedicated to working!" Please, whatever you say, don't say that, because you're not fooling anyone.
So just take a beat to think about it and avoid the blank stares that could come your way if you're not equipped to say something.
That about, wraps it up!
As you can tell, your interviewer will probably want to know what you think about their business and their marketing efforts. You don’t have to know every piece of their marketing plan, but do some background research before the interview so you know the basic tactics they have in place and how you can specifically contribute. Also, be prepared for personal questions, like the one about hobbies or what you do outside of work. Interviewers will want to see your personality and know that you are a well-rounded person.
Having answers to questions like these is a really good start. But we’re not done yet!
In our next post, I’ll lead you through some terms you need to know and examples of your work you should be able to discuss. Check back soon for those tips, so you can be fully prepared for your next marketing interview!