Hiring a talented marketer isn’t as straightforward as say, finding a great engineer. Marketing, by nature, is amorphous and lacks clear definition. So many skills, responsibilities and concepts can be tied into marketing that it makes it difficult to evaluate the right person for the job. The questions you ask during the interview process can provide a window into the way a particular candidate approaches work. In addition to your typical list of questions, add these challenging questions to your process to really dig into what makes a candidate tick.
“Tell Me About Your Personal Brand”
Candidates can view this question as a softball because it gives them a chance to talk about their experience and identity, but it’s actually a deep question in disguise. The way a candidate answers can tell you whether their priorities lie with helping the marketing team boost the company brand or whether they are more interested in boosting their own brand.
Look for an answer that talks about the way a candidate works with the team to help a company be successful. A brand that is too independent could mean the candidate is only focused on personal advancement. Marketing is not an individual sport, and this question can be a great way to uncover true team players.
“Tell Me a Story About a Topic You Care Deeply About”
Marketing is all about storytelling and advocating for a brand. This question can help you determine how adept a candidate is at doing both.
Don’t judge the topic they choose to discuss – that is irrelevant to your needs. Instead, pay attention to the way they craft their narrative, how passionate they are about the topic and whether they can present a compelling story in a concise manner. A good storyteller can hook you quickly on a topic as dry as weather patterns in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Tell Me About a Time You Were Tasked With Doing Something You Had Never Done Before”
This situation happens to everyone, so it should be an easy answer for any candidate. Marketers need to be flexible, adaptable and curious, and this question will show how eager a candidate is to learn new things and how they handle the stress that comes with having to admit (if only to themselves) they don’t always know exactly what they are doing.
Great answers will focus on the learning aspect of these uncomfortable situations. They may speak about how they were interested in learning the new skill and how it enhanced their work moving forward. Strong marketers are not afraid to tackle the unfamiliar, and are able to pull lessons from every new experience.