Recently, I attended a TAG Marketing panel event: CMO Roundtable Reveals: Which Marketing Metrics Matter – What’s Actionable and Why

The all-star line-up consisted of:

Nicole Wonjo – CMO, UserIQ
Alex Gobbi
– CMO, SecureWorks
Ellen Dalton
– CMO, Medecision
Joe Breen –
Former SVP Sales, SecureWorks
Genevieve Bos
– Moderator – Managing Partner, Thought Capital

It was a strong panel of top-tier marketing and sales experts who are CMO or senior-level executives and who have all hired digital marketers. While the event was not focused on hiring and interviewing digital marketing candidates specifically, the panelists discussed several key points about what they seek when they hire individuals for their teams.

This informative session inspired me to create the following interview questions that you can use to qualify a digital marketer (or anyone in marketing who contributes to company growth) during the hiring process.

 

Question 1. Thinking back to a previous position, describe the value your company and its products or services offered to your customer.

Why Ask:
This question will show the candidate’s ability to effectively understand and communicate the value of a company and its offerings. If the story is confusing, takes too long to tell or is unconvincing, then the candidate may struggle with succinctly relaying key messaging and value prop information. If this is the case, I encourage you to ask follow-up questions to better understand their answer. For instance, was the offering of the prior employer confusing at no fault of the candidate?

 

Question 2. What is your experience with Marketing Automation?

Why Ask:
If they say, “I’m not familiar with Marketing Automation,” or if they can’t name and discuss most of the top platforms, this is a pretty telling sign that they are not up to speed on digital marketing. As a marketing recruiter, I have had numerous candidates claiming to be digital marketing experts (they may have even had Marketing Automation on their resume, trying to include the latest marketing buzzword) who cannot answer this simple question. It’s a very fast way to narrow the playing field.

 

Question 3. Thinking in general or through a past role, how do you feel about sales?

Why Ask:
In the not-so-distant past, marketing and sales often had a challenged relationship. With marketing blaming sales for not following up on leads and sales blaming marketing for giving them poor quality leads in the first place. Both teams couldn’t help but play the blame game. Today, times have changed and, in order to grow effectively, marketing and sales must to join forces in working towards the same goal. By asking this question, you’ll quickly be able to determine if they are still under the blaming mindset or if this individual will be able to establish a strong, collaborative relationship with sales.

 

Question 4. Tell me about your experience developing and managing to KPIs and how they affect business.

Why Ask:
From their answer, you will get a good sense of their knowledge of KPIs, their ability to establish them, manage to and adapt to them.

 

Question 5. As a follow-up to Question 4, can you recall a time when you uncovered the nuances of a metric and how you adapted accordingly?

Why Ask:
This is a tough question, and depending on the candidate’s level of experience, they may or may not be able to answer it. Ask the question anyway. It will reveal a few interesting things about the individual. First, do they understand the question? Second, can they answer it effectively? Third, do they have experience doing it? If they do, great. If they’ve not had this opportunity in their past positions, you will at least have an idea about whether or not they are capable of learning.

Question 6. Name your top 3 favorite Marketing Technologies.

Why Ask:
You will immediately know if this individual regularly uses marketing technology or at least has knowledge of these tools.

 

Question 7. Do you have experience creating Customer Advocates? Please describe.

Why Ask:
Filling the funnel, generating and nurturing leads are requirements in most digital marketing roles. But, does the candidate have experience nurturing, cross selling and upselling existing customers and turning them into a referral engine for your business. Can they turn customers into advocates?

 

Question 8. What type of marketer are you?

Why Ask:
The idea here is to determine whether the candidate really is digitally driven or more of a traditional MarCom marketer. It’s open-ended and allows the candidate to speak in freeform. If you sit back and listen, you will uncover the information you need to assess this individual’s abilities.

Conclusion

The purpose of an interview question is not necessarily to get a “yes” for every answer. There are also no perfect answers and they may not have every box checked for every skill requirement you need. The most valuable part of an interview question is to determine if they have the ability to learn and grow into the role. Are they answering the questions truthfully? Are they humble in their responses versus boastful, personally taking all of the credit for a team’s efforts? No one does anything alone, be sure to note the candidate’s use of “I” vs. “we”.

At Marketing Mob, of course, we look for marketers whose skills match the open marketing opportunity. Just as importantly, we look to hire individuals for humility, curiosity, empathy and deliberateness. Individuals with these core characteristics tend to be honest, trainable, emotionally intelligent, respectful and intentional in their actions.

We’d love to help you find your next great digital marketer. Contact us to learn more.

Marketing Mob is a marketing recruiting and staffing firm that enables CMOs and their teams to streamline and expedite the hiring of qualified marketing experts who meet the needs of their organization.

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