- Marketing Managers: Especially if you’re new to hiring and team-building.
- HR Professionals: If you’re not marketing savvy, use this guide to move past generic interview questions.
- Job Hunters: Consider this guide a cheat sheet to what you might encounter.
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Download 20 Bonus Questions + Interview ScorecardOnce you actually conduct an interview, you'll end up asking tons of questions (that's why this post provides so many options). But, what happens when you have to sit back, reflect, and really analyze what the answers to all those questions mean? Use this free scorecard to help yourself assess and compare answers from candidates. Plus, snag 20 bonus questions.
Conducting the InterviewEvery company I’ve worked for has gone through three rounds of interviews. They’ve typically broken down into three phases:
- A phone call.
- A culture fit interview.
- A skills assessment.
Round 1: Getting to Know YouFirst, once a candidate has been assessed as a potential fit, a simple phone call works well. Find a time that works for both parties, and just have a simple conversation about themselves and what they do. This will give you some idea of what they’re like as a person.
Round 2: Finding Your FitNext, it’s time to get some face time with the candidate. This can mean either an in-person interview or a video call (I’ve done both at this stage). At this stage, questions should focus around:
- What have you done in the past?
- Why are you looking for a new job?
- What are you like as a person?
Round 3: What Can You Do?At this point, questions get more specific about the actual role itself. That includes things like:
- What are your professional strengths and weaknesses?
- What specific experiences have you had that would make you a good fit?
- How would you tackle specific problems at this company?
What’s the Goal of All These Questions?The idea behind the questions on the following lists is to ask things that are specific to learning about a candidate’s capabilities for specific marketing functions. For any role, you need to know:
- How does this candidate learn best? You can't learn marketing in college. you need to be keeping current or you're outdated. So, it’s helpful to know how they keep themselves sharp and devise smart strategies for the company to help support them.
- Does this person understand the purpose of marketing? The goal of marketing is driving a profitable customer action. It’s surprising how often candidates miss this point.
- Showing they’re a strong fit for a specific type of role: If an applicant doesn’t know what it is they are applying for (beyond a role somewhere in marketing), that might be a red flag.
15 General Marketing Interview QuestionsThe following questions typically apply to most marketing roles.
- Tell me how you got started in your career.
- What makes you passionate about this work?
- How has your skillset grown over time?
- Are there skills you’d like the opportunity to develop in the future?
- How did you learn about this open position?
- What can you tell me about our company?
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- What do you consider to be your core strengths?
- What motivates you to succeed?
- What publications and blogs do you read?
- What was the last book you read?
- Who's your favorite marketer and why?
- In your own words, what's the goal of marketing?
- What's the definition of [department name like "demand generation"]?
- If we asked you to improve [INSERT METRIC] by [INSERT PERCENTAGE] by [INSERT DATE], what strategies and tactics would you use to achieve that goal?
20 Marketing Manager / Director Interview QuestionsGood teams need good leaders. Finding them, though, is easier said than done. The ability to do the work doesn’t necessarily translate into helping others get work done, too. Consider pulling some questions off this list to help identify the right qualities for a manager-level position.
- Have you managed staff before, and if so, for how long?
- How many people reported to you?
- Describe your leadership style.
- Tell us about a time you helped a struggling employee succeed.
- What is the first thing you’d do if hired for this position?
- Tell us about a time where you were responsible for setting strategic vision and overseeing a team to execute it. What were the results?
- When faced with reasonable pushback from team members, how do you respond?
- Describe a time where you were faced with a conflict in regards to decision-making, and helped lead the charge toward a positive outcome.
- How do you convince other executives about the value of marketing?
- When marketing campaigns or projects fail, how do you respond?
- Which metrics do you consider most important for gauging success?
- Which marketing software platforms do you have first-hand experience with?
- Are you comfortable using large amounts of data to guide decision-making?
- Which channels would you say this organization should focus on? Are there any we are not using but should, or those we are using but shouldn’t, in your opinion?
- Are you familiar with our industry?
- Who would you guess are our biggest competitors, and what might you do to help differentiate us in the marketplace?
- Describe a time where you had to oversee a major project from start to finish, and the results it produced.
- Tell about the most successful campaign or project you ever worked on.
- Have you ever taken a risk on a new tactic or idea? If so, can you tell us about a time when a risk paid off?
- Which software platforms do you prefer, and why?
10 Marketing Intern Interview QuestionsGood interns can be immensely valuable when you find a motivated candidate. All of us had to start somewhere, and internship programs are also a good way to pay it forward. At this point, you’re primarily looking for potential, and candidates who can A) get real work done for you while B) learning how to take the next step to get their career off the ground.
- What interests you in a marketing career?
- Have you worked in an office before?
- Do you have experience working with [INSERT SOFTWARE]?
- Is there anything in particular about our company or industry that interested you?
- Have you had previous internships or relevant work and volunteer experience?
- How has your college coursework prepared you to succeed in this role?
- What would you most like to learn about marketing in your time with us?
- Tell us about something you achieved in school that you’re proud of.
- Ultimately, what type of position would you like to secure in the industry?
- What do you hope to get out of an internship with us?
10 Entry Level Marketing Interview QuestionsHiring marketers at this level is similar to adding an intern. Most young staffers don’t have all the skills necessary to run with a job on their own. But, there are plenty of passionate new grads out there ready to contribute and be mentored into rock stars.
- Tell us about your university and internship experiences.
- Which skills do you have that would best fit this position?
- Are there any areas where you feel you could improve?
- Where would you like to see your career in three years?
- Describe a time where you made a mistake, and how you handled it.
- What do you feel separates you from other recent graduates?
- Can you tell us about a volunteer experience you enjoyed?
- How would you define the goal of marketing?
- What attracted you to this job specifically?
- Tell me about your best friend.
20 Copywriter Interview QuestionsWriting to sell isn’t an easy skill to develop, and it’s not something just any writer off the street can necessarily do well. Ask some of these questions to sort out copywriting candidates that know how to motivate readers to purchase.
- Do you consider yourself a writer first, or a marketer first?
- Tell us about a creative campaign you wrote starting from conception to execution.
- Are you familiar with search engine optimization?
- In the past, how have you measured the effectiveness of your copy?
- Is creativity or driving sales more important to you?
- How well do you handle tight deadlines?
- Are you comfortable with ambiguity or do you prefer detailed creative briefs?
- How skilled are you in adapting your writing to a brand’s voice?
- Have you worked with designers in the past?
- Which types of copy have you created in the past (web copy, blog posts, PPC ads, social media posts, white papers, ebooks, video scripts, etc.)?
- Are you skilled at explaining complex ideas in language anyone can understand?
- Who are some of your favorite writers?
- What’s the best ad you’ve ever seen, and what did you appreciate about it?
- Tell us about an effective campaign you planned and executed.
- What’s your top tip for handling a difficult client?
- Are you able to produce clean copy without much editing?
- How much time do you spend writing headlines for a typical piece?
- Do you consider yourself more a technical writer or creative writer?
- Do you have experience developing and using personas?
- How comfortable are you with interpreting creative briefs?
5 Product Marketing Interview QuestionsProduct marketers need strong copywriting skills, but they also need to understand product development cycles and how to introduce new products and features to the public. For this type of role, consider all the copywriting questions above, along with the following.
- How familiar are you with our product?
- How would you market an existing feature of our product?
- How would you position [INSERT PRODUCT] to a Millennial audience? How would you market that same product to a Baby Boomer audience?
- If presented with a new product or feature to market, where would you start your research?
- Are you comfortable interviewing experts to learn about subjects you need to write about?
10 PR Interview QuestionsWhile a lot of marketing roles appeal to introverts, PR pros often need to be opposite. That’s not to say introverts can’t excel here, but people who are attracted to public relations typically have more outgoing and extroverted personalities.
- What attracts you to PR specifically?
- How comfortable are you talking to new people?
- Do you have experience working with the media?
- How would you pitch [INSERT PRODUCT] to a journalist at [INSERT NEWS OUTLET]?
- Which news sources, blogs, and media outlets do you follow in our niche?
- Are you able to stay calm under pressure?
- Tell us about a time where you had to de-escalate the conversation during a crisis.
- How much experience do you have planning PR strategies?
- What are your thoughts on using content marketing and social media for PR?
- What do you feel is the true purpose and value of PR?
15 Graphic Designer Interview QuestionsHere’s a tip: never ask a designer if they can make something “pop.” Ask these questions instead.
- Describe your design process for starting new projects.
- In your own words, what do you think quality design should achieve?
- Have you worked as part of a marketing team before?
- How do you respond to feedback and criticism?
- What are your top three brands design-wise?
- When stakeholders or clients don’t understand something about your design, how do you explain your decision-making?
- How much guidance do you like to have before starting design on a project?
- Are you comfortable collaborating with other team members, like copywriters and project managers?
- Are you capable of turning around quality work on tight timelines?
- Tell us about a time you missed a deadline (it happens sometimes) and how you handled it.
- Tell us about your most favorite project you’ve ever worked on, and what you enjoyed about it.
- Who are your design heroes?
- What was the creative energy like at your last place of work (stagnant, restricting or open, agile, inviting, etc.)?
- Which niche within the design industry are you most excited about (illustration, branding, animation, etc.)?
- When it comes to design, do you consider creativity or effectiveness to be more important?
20 Social Media Marketing Interview QuestionsMarketing on social media means more than slapping creative captions on goofy GIFs. Narrow down candidates who actually know how to do marketing on social (rather than just know a lot about social media) with this list of inquiries:
- Do you have a strong grasp on basic marketing principles?
- How would you rate your creative writing skills?
- Which social media channels do you have the most expertise with?
- Do you have experience with audience research?
- Which social media content types do you have experience creating?
- Have you ever been tasked with running a social media campaign, from ideation to execution to measurement? And if so, what were the results?
- Do you have previous experience managing online communities?
- Have you reviewed our business’s social media presence? If so, are there any specific things you’d recommend changing?
- Tell us about a time you were confronted with a social media crisis, and how you handled it.
- Which metrics do you consider most important for measuring social media success?
- Which blogs and news sources do you read to stay on top of social media trends and changes?
- How familiar are you with running contests on Facebook without running afoul of that platform’s guidelines?
- Do you have experience blending organic and paid social strategies?
- Which social media platforms are your favorite for personal use?
- What’s your opinion on using social media for customer service?
- Are you familiar with Facebook’s guidelines on promotional posts?
- Which social media marketing and management tools have you used in the past, and which have been your favorites?
- What are your favorite brands on social media and what, in particular, do you think they do well?
- In your own opinion, what can social media do to impact business outcomes that other channels and tactics can’t deliver as well?
- Do you have experience managing a social media calendar?
20 Content Strategist Interview QuestionsThe term “content strategist” means different things, in different contexts, and for different types of businesses and organizations. However, it’s a common job title these days, and the folks doing this work are essential in all the various capacities they serve. These questions will help you find a strategist who fits what you need.
- In your own terms, how would you define content strategy?
- What do you think separates excellent content from average work?
- Describe your process for generating new content ideas?
- Have you ever conducted a content audit?
- How would you rate your knowledge of search engine optimization?
- Would you describe your writing style as more clear, or more complex?
- What types of industries and businesses have you worked with previously?
- Which types of content do you have the most experience with (websites, blog posts, video, social media, etc.)?
- Tell us about a content project that went wrong and how you recovered from the experience.
- Do you prefer strategic planning or executing work yourself?
- Are you better at tackling big-picture problems or handling deeply detailed tasks?
- Tell me about the last book you read.
- What sorts of side projects do you do outside of work?
- Are you familiar with how to use a CMS and common content marketing software?
- Define the difference between voice and tone.
- Can you describe your editing process?
- How do you measure the effectiveness of content?
- How would you approach content planning for a new website project?
- Do you have a basic knowledge of UX?
- Are you comfortable with presenting ideas, concepts, and campaigns to clients/internal stakeholders?
15 Marketing Analyst Interview QuestionsYou’ve probably heard terms like “big data” and “data-driven marketing” before. But, what does that mean, and how do you actually make data actionable for marketing? If you’re in a large enough organization, you might benefit from having a dedicated analyst.
- Explain the difference between causation and correlation when it comes to marketing activity and results.
- Explain the difference between, and importance of, qualitative and quantitative research.
- When presented with a large amount of data to analyze, where do you start?
- Tell us about a time where you had to explain the meaning and relevance of complex data to an audience unfamiliar with data analysis.
- Which tools do you prefer for gathering marketing data?
- How much do you know about predictive modeling and analytics?
- Do you have a specific story you can share about a time where you found a particularly interesting data-driven insight, and it make a substantial impact on a business?
- How do you respond when you’re asked to figure something out under a tight time constraint?
- Describe your level of comfort and experience with data visualization.
- Have you used a CRM before, and if so, how would you describe your level of expertise with using one effectively?
- When a team member struggles to understand complex data, how do you help them grasp your insights?
- Have you produced reports before, and if so, what do you think makes a marketing report most useful?
- When management wants to move in one direction, but data says the team should go another way, how do you approach that conversation?
- How skilled are you in challenging your own assumptions?
- What sorts of processes or techniques do you follow to separate meaningful insights from all the noise in large data sets?
20 SEO Interview QuestionsPeople have been saying “SEO is dead” for at least a decade, which also means that people have been wrong for … well, at least a decade. SEO is very much alive and well, and spans a diverse set of skills and disciplines.
- What is the purpose of search engine optimization in your own words?
- Do you have experience with front-end development?
- Are your specialties primarily in on-site, off-site, or technical SEO?
- Describe your typical keyword research process.
- Have you ever encountered a website that received a manual penalty from Google? If so, how did you approach resolving the issue?
- Have you ever made a major mistake with SEO? If so, what happened, and how did you correct the issue?
- If you had to build an SEO strategy from scratch, where would you start?
- What the most important trends you see developing for SEO over the next six to 12 months?
- Tell us about a time where you successfully increased a website’s traffic to a significant degree using your SEO skills.
- How do you learn new tactics and information regarding SEO?
- Do you have experience combining both organic and paid search strategies?
- When compromises need to be made between content, UX, and SEO, how do you approach tough conversations to ensure the application of SEO best practices without hurting other aspects of the site and business?
- How important do you consider search engines other than Google for SEO?
- Do you know how to properly apply rel=canonical tags?
- Tell us about a time where you needed to drive major SEO improvements with limited resources, and how you achieved your goal.
- Do you understand how to properly use 301 and 302 status codes?
- Do the words “Panda,” “Penguin,” and “Hummingbird” mean anything to you?
- Do you know how to structure content to capture Featured Snippets?
- How familiar are you with the various elements of a typical search engine result page on Google?
- Which ranking signal do you consider most important to focus on?
Assessing an Interviewee’s AnswersSay a candidate appears to nail the interview. That’s it, they’re hired, right? Not quite. Follow a few tips to read between the lines and accurately assess an interviewee’s questions.
Look Closely at Work SamplesIn addition to what a candidate says they can do, look at what they’ve actually done. Ask to see some samples and cross-reference what they said they’ve done, with their real output.
Get ReferencesSimilarly, take the time to call references. If someone is good at what they do, they’ll be more than willing to tell you what makes them worth hiring. Ask the following questions:
- How do you know [CANDIDATE]?
- Have you worked with [CANDIDATE] before?
- How would you describe their strengths and weaknesses?
- Has [CANDIDATE] ever been promoted before?
- How would you rate this person’s communication skills?
- Do you know why [CANDIDATE] may have left a previous position?
Beware Red FlagsIf a candidate seems deficient in certain skills or otherwise doesn’t feel like a good fit, carefully consider how much you can compensate for, and whether or not someone just can’t cut it. Remember the statistic from early in this post: a mis-hire can cost you five times that person’s salary.
Keeping Your Team Organized With CoScheduleOnce your team is assembled, CoSchedule is the best platform to keep your team organized.
- View your entire marketing strategy on one calendar.
- Managing team collaboration and workflows.
- Automating publishing for blog posts, social media campaigns, and email newsletters. Plus, it integrates with tons of other tools and software platforms.
- In-house marketing teams.
- Small businesses.
- Solopreneurs (and even if you work solo, you may still have collaborators or team members.