It’s usual for an interviewer to give you the opportunity to ask questions at some point during the interview. Usually this happens at the end of the interview when you have spent at least half an hour being grilled. So it’s a very good idea to have some questions prepared in case your mind goes blank. It’s also a good idea to have them written down. This shows that they’ve taken the time to prepare and put work into the interview.
When I interview potential candidates for marketing roles, the people that impress me most are those who have questions that I’m not expecting. Questions that demonstrate a keen interest in the role and the industry in which they want to work in. Again, it shows that they’ve done their homework, they already have some knowledge of the subject and they are keen. Enthusiasm goes a really long way in an interview for an entry level job.
But, before I give you the ‘3 Search Marketing Killer Interview Questions’ I’ll let you into the 2 responses that really underwhelm me and I think should be avoided at all costs in a first interview.
Questions you should avoid asking in an interview…
In a first interview don’t focus on salary, bonus or benefits especially if it’s in the first interview for your first job in digital marketing.
When I’m asked this as the first question I immediately think that the candidate is more interested in money than the role. While the intention of the question may well be genuine and not money-grabbing, that’s not the impression it gives. I’d expect the interviewee’s questions to demonstrate more interest in the opportunity of the role and the company.
Don’t agree to attend an interview without first asking what salary the company is paying. You can usually do this over email which makes it a lot easier to ask. It also means you are attending an interview for a role that pays what you are happy to earn and so no-one is wasting their time.
Secondly, when asked if you have any questions, it’s surprising how many people simply say “no”. I expect in reality that this isn’t the case at all. , but their mind went blank and that they left the building kicking themselves with all sorts of questions flooding into their brains as the walked away from the building.
The lesson here… prepare some questions. And prepare questions that are unlikely to be covered so you have at least something to say.
Ok, let’s get on to what you are really here for:
The search marketing killer interview questions I promised… (and why they work).
For your first role, no interviewer is going to expect you to be an expert in the subject. But if your questions can demonstrate some knowledge of the subject, a curiosity in the business and a passion to learn you will no doubt impress and stay in the interviewer’s mind.
1. Demonstrate knowledge of Search Marketing:
Q: How did the last Google algorithm update [insert name] affect your website rank?
This shows you are keeping up to date with search news and you are aware that Google’s algorithm updates can have big impact on a website’s rank. Don’t ask this question without understanding what the update entailed and how it affected other businesses. You can find out about the latest updates here: https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change and a simple google of the updates name, (the last named one at the time of writing this is Rank Brain) will provide plenty of commentary about the update. Then you will be able to have an informed discussion with the interviewer and really shine.
2. Demonstrate a curiosity in the business:
Q: How has search marketing contributed to the success (sales) of your organisation?
This is a great question. The answer you get will tell you how much the organisation values search marketing and where it fits into the wider marketing strategy. It will also show the interviewer that you care about getting results and sales. Too often I’ve interviewed marketing people for more senior roles and they don’t have a clue about their traffic and sales numbers. That is a travesty (in my book!) Your job as a search marketing professional will be to drive web traffic and sales, so show you care about it right from the start.
3. Demonstrate a passion to learn:
Q: What will I learn in the first three months on your search marketing team?
The answer to this question will show you if there is already an induction plan in place for the new starter. Their response will also give you some insight as to whether they are a more organised or relaxed manager. More than anything this question shows the interviewer that you want to learn. You are keen, and you are enthusiastic. Regardless of their management style, this will go down well.
Of course there are many good questions that you can ask at interview and having a list of questions is no bad thing. If the interviewer gives you a thorough explanation of the role and the business, you don’t want to be left with no questions to ask so that you have to meekly say: “No I think you’ve covered it all.”