6 interview questions to help you find the best marketers

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The marketing function has boomed in recent years, with new technologies and channels ushering in innovative techniques – and fresh talent.

In order to maintain an effective and efficient marketing service within your organisation that drives business performance, you need to identify and attract the best talent you can find. This means sourcing the skill sets and experience that will create and implement campaigns to drive revenue and ultimately have the most impact on your marketing function.

Here are six key questions that can help you identify the marketing talent you need on your team.

What channels did you use in your last role?

In today’s digital age, the sheer variety of different marketing channels available can be both a blessing and a curse. From advertising channels, such as Facebook and magazine advertisements, to email marketing, social media and direct campaigns, there’s a huge range of channels that can be utilised in a modern marketing plan. Smart Insights has an impressive list of current marketing channels that can help you to identify the approaches you’re currently using, and those you would like to implement.

Whether you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades or a niche specialist who can take charge of one specific area, you should find out as much as you can about the experience candidates have with various channels. Marketers should be able to speak confidently and clearly about channels they’ve used recently, with examples of the types of strategies they’ve implemented to maximise success. For example, someone specialising in pay-per-click search marketing should be able to provide guidance on CPC bids, ad rank and keyword relevance and research.

What steps would you take to run a typical campaign?

While there’s not necessarily one right answer to this one, it’s a key question to help you assess a candidate’s basic marketing approach and thought process, and whether these align with your own marketing strategy. Ask the candidate to talk you through how they’d approach a new or unfamiliar marketing campaign from end-to-end. Some might have questions regarding wider business objectives, some may want to talk to sales people and other key stakeholders to ensure they are aligned, while others will jump straight in and start forming timelines and targets.

While fresh approaches to campaigns can be hugely beneficial for your marketing team, it’s also important for team members to have shared understanding and vision. Studies show that teams who have a perceived shared understanding in the workplace feel more confident and effective. A marketer who has a completely different way of structuring a campaign – or indeed, isn’t sure how they would go about it – may not be an ideal fit for your team.

How do you approach working with agencies?

Firstly, you want to find out whether a candidate has experience working with and managing external agencies. Depending on the role you are trying to fill, you may want a certain level of confidence and proficiency in dealing with third party suppliers. Ask them how they brief agencies, what management they prefer, how they approach feedback delivery and how they oversee budgets.

The ever-evolving digital landscape has provided both opportunities and challenges for the marketing function, with a complex combination of creative, social, analytics and media agencies jostling for space in a crowded market. The specialised expertise that can be gained by harnessing relationships with external agencies needs to be tempered with skilled management and relationship-building by your marketers.

What technology and tools do you feel most comfortable with?

The MarTech suite of tools is now so large (the marketing technology landscape has grown by 40% in the last year alone) that it’s impossible for even the most experienced marketer to be across the latest products and technologies. However, a good marketing team will have a mix of experience across a selection of the most popular and powerful tools for your business, whether that’s social media advertising, in-depth analytics software or virtual reality. Knowledge can always be taught, but it’s good to know ahead of time what skills your marketing team brings to the tables.

What was your most successful campaign?

This question tests what candidates view as success, and what data they have to back that up. If a candidate points to a campaign that was their most commercially successful, and rattles off the financial results to support this, then they’re likely commercially-driven with a focus on the best outcome for the business in a monetary sense. Other marketers might describe campaigns with a higher-than-average click through rate, conversions that increased brand awareness or even those that resulted in happy clients and positive relationships. Ideally you’ll want a balance of both within your marketing function – a team who can crunch the numbers and provide a good return on investment, while still ensuring the reputation and relationships your company has are positive and strong.

What is your approach to working with the sales team?

The alignment between sales and marketing is absolutely crucial for organisations, yet few strike the right balance. Just 10% of B2B organisations are completely coordinated in terms of sales and marketing alignment, according to Corporate Visions, with 25% of respondents saying the lack of alignment has led to lost conversions and deals. A good candidate will have experience working with sales teams in both directions – gaining customer insight and ideas, as well as chasing and following up. Ask candidates how they have worked to determine customer profiles with sales teams, what they think the best approach is to data sharing across teams, and how they like to communicate and work with the sales department.

Tie it all together

A great marketing candidate may not have all the experience and solutions you’re looking for, but will be able to think creatively and work proactively to learn what they need to know and deliver great results for your organisation. The above questions will help you to determine if someone is a good fit for your marketing team, but if you need additional support in identifying and attracting the market’s best talent, talk to the experts at BMS here.

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