How to prepare for a Marketing interview
In this article:
Joining a marketing team or creating one from the ground up can be a rewarding experience and one that you learn and grow from regardless of where you are in your career journey. Every department's structure will be different based on the company's structure, needs and size.
Professionals in this field possess a wide range of skills, each unique to their specific focus, and work together with the combined goal of promoting a business or brand with a clear objective for their efforts. While this may seem a bit confusing, marketing at its core is simply any action a company takes to attract an audience to their product or services through a variety of incomparable messaging.
Marketing professionals are central to promoting a business, with a clear objective of using marketing platforms and tools to connect with customers and drive sales and engagement. Marketing involves advertising, selling and delivering products to consumers or other businesses. The full scope of your role may include broader skill sets like graphic design, public speaking, relationship management, budgeting and general administrative skills.
Professionals who work in marketing departments try to gain the attention of key potential audiences primarily through advertising. Promotions are targeted to specific audiences and may include celebrity endorsements, catchphrases or slogans, memorable packaging or graphic designs, and overall media exposure.
With that in mind, it stands to reason that one of the biggest elements of marketing is having a connection to the company’s target audiences and an understanding of how to deliver on the promise of the company’s products or services.
Soft and Hard skills for marketing roles:
Marketing is about communicating to an audience at its core, and being able to express yourself and convey your message accurately in an engaging way will be an essential skill.
Attention to detail:
Your work as a marketing professional will be subject to review even before it reaches the intended audience. Accuracy is essential to maintaining branding and tone of voice for the company.
Marketing is a creative process, and thinking outside the box will help you, and the company, stand out from the competition.
Finding creative and novel solutions to problems will be fundamental to your success as in the marketing department. Platforms are often changing and updating their algorithms, and adapting your content to fit an ever changing market will be highly beneficial.
Developing your leadership skills over time will help guide your career development within the marketing department. This could start with leading smaller projects, and eventually move onto leading an entire department.
The importance of communication as a soft skill goes hand in hand with your ability to write. Whether it’s long form copy, or social media posts, writing will be an essential part of your career.
Every campaign you work on will start with research. This will help inform your approach to creating content, help establish best practices and most effective strategy. This may take the form of competitor analysis, product research or social media analysis.
Together with research, analysis is important for reaching your campaign goals. ROI (return on investment) will always need to be considered when judging the effectiveness of a campaign, and will help inform future projects.
SEO and social media marketing:
Optimizing your content for paid or organic search is a fundamental skill to have. While you might not be a specialist in paid search, understanding the basics will always be important. Social media is one of the most effective forms of marketing, and knowing how to utilize these platforms will be an important skill to have.
While you do not need to have the same skills as a backend developer, knowing how to update pages, build landing pages and other basic functions is vital.
Remember to do thorough research on the company , along with their products as this often forms a fundamental part of the interview question set. On occasion, you may also need to do a mock campaign to highlight your proficiency within your field.
Tips for acing your Marketing interview:
Think like a marketer:
As part of your Interview preparation, approach answering your practice questions like a marketer: What story do you want to tell about yourself, and what is the most effective starting point for that story?
Highlight your skills:
Think about the skills you’ll want to highlight throughout your interview, and talk about your past experiences as they relate to those skills. It’s okay if you didn’t use those skills in a direct marketing capacity, open-ended questions will give you space to draw your own connections to the topic.
Consider campaigns within the company, or other companies, that you have reacted positively to. This can be discussed from the standpoint of both the consumer and the marketer. What was it about that campaign that worked for you? The most crucial part of discussing your favorite campaigns is to assess how you might apply those positive attributes to future campaigns with this company (especially if the brand you’re highlighting is vastly different from the company you’re interviewing with). Show that you’re excited about the marketing techniques rather than the campaign’s subject matter.
Goals and Values:
Think about your most important goals and values in the workplace. Show that you know what you are looking for by speaking clearly and confidently, and frame your questions around what you feel you need in order to be successful in this role.
Don’t feel like you have to save all your questions for the end of your interview. If the topics you were curious about come up throughout the interview, weave them in. This can help make the interaction feel more like a conversation with two active participants, and will allow you to demonstrate your engagement over your entire time together.
Social Media Presence:
When you are preparing for a job interview remember to ensure your Linkedin profile and resume and portfolio are up to date with your latest experiences. Linkedin has a segment for listing skills and accomplishments and even has short certification courses which allow you to highlight your expertise. Your portfolio as a marketing professional is important for highlighting your specific skill set and professional style.
If you will be working within the social media marketing space, having active accounts may be to your benefit, as it demonstrates your understanding of the platform.
Remember your body language:
Don’t slouch or lean on the desk and try to avoid fidgeting and fiddling. It’s easy to forget when you have a lot to think about, but smile, and maintain a good level of eye contact throughout the interview.
While every company has a different hiring process, many follow the same structure, and have similar elements across the board.
Multiple-round interviews are almost always expected, and are usually split into a skill set interview, which will test your ability to perform your expected tasks, and a personality interview, which will determine how well you fit within the company.
Some companies may have an initial screening process before selecting you for a real interview, while others may have pre- or post-interview tasks and assessments which allow you to demonstrate your skills and function as an additional screening step for the company.
Online vs on location
Remote hiring is definitely here to stay. Many companies have moved to remote interviewing processes as it allows a more diverse scope of candidates, and can significantly speed up the hiring process. There are a few nuances with remote hiring that you may want to consider before hand, luckily we’ve put together this handy guide to get you through your remote interview: 10 Top Tips for Virtual and Remote Interviews
On location interviews are still an option for many companies, who may prefer the in-person connection. This is also a great opportunity for the interviewer to give you a first hand experience of the office, and introduce you to your potential coworkers.
Technical interview: These interviews will test your technical skills, and give you an understanding of the key performance indicators for your roles. This generally starts with an introduction of the interviewer, and an opportunity for you to introduce yourself. You will then be asked a series of technical questions which allow you to think about the skills you’ll want to highlight
Assessment: Many in-house departments will ask you to complete a test or micro project ahead of time for them to test your technical and creative skills. Discussing this project may form part of your first interview, giving the interviewer a better understanding of your process and pain points.
HR interview: HR interviews are generally your final interview. You’ve met the core requirements for the role, but this does not yet mean you are the right fit for the company. This interview will focus on soft skills, culture fits, and the company’s expectations.
During an interview - this is where your research pays off, not only will this allow you to structure your answers based on previous campaigns you’ve seen work for your new potential employer but shows that you care enough about this role that you’ve invested time and energy into doing your homework.
Interview preparation questions:
Here are a few marketing interview preparation questions to practice:
Give us an overview of your previous experience, and how this has prepared you for this role?
What can you tell us about our company?
In your own words, what's the goal of marketing?
Discuss your favorite marketing campaign - what are the core takeaways from this campaign ?
What social media platforms are you familiar with ?
What marketing tools have you used in the past ?
How would you manage a new product launch?
What do you consider to be your core strengths?
What publications and blogs do you read?
What are your hobbies and interests?
* Tips on answering these questions: align your experience to the attributes listed on the job posting and/or company culture and values
Questions to ask your interviewers:
The type of questions you may want to ask will depend on who is interviewing you, or which round of interviews you are currently in. Typically, you may have your first interview with a senior marketing team member, or the head of the marketing department, followed by a second interview with an HR representative, or people’s team coordinator.
Head of marketing/ Brand manager
What does a typical day in this position look like?
How will my responsibilities and performance be measured ?
Will my role focus on a single product or service, or will I be responsible for campaigns across the board?
Has the company faced any unique challenges engaging with their target market?
How does this role contribute to larger company goals?
Which of the company’s past marketing campaigns were most successful?
How would you describe your management style ?
What are the biggest challenges I might face in my first few months in this role ?
What are the highlights of working for this company ?
Human resources/Head of people
How has this position changed over time?
What will my team's role hierarchy look like?
Is there anything about my application or qualifications that you’d like clarity or more information on?
Could you describe the company culture?
What are the growth opportunities for this role ?
How long does someone typically work in this position before advancing to the next step in their career ?
Interview follow up:
They say small kindnesses never go unnoticed and this is particularly true when it comes to interviewing.
A simple thank you email to your interviewer goes a long way to cementing you in their minds long after your interview is over. Your email could be as simple as thanking the interviewer for their time, or mentioning a particular part of the interview you enjoyed. This would also be a good opportunity to extend your interest in connecting via Linkedin.
Your interviewer will generally set the expectation for when you can expect to hear back from them. If nothing is set, a good timeframe for a follow up is two weeks after the interview.
Checklist for the day of your interview:
Get a good night’s sleep - This allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up.
Start your day with breakfast - You might find you feel a bit sluggish and struggle to focus if you don’t. Breakfast positively affects your mental performance, including your attention, ability to concentrate and memory. This can make some tasks feel harder than they normally would.
Wear clothing you’re comfortable in - Marketing departments tend to have a more casual dress code. With this in mind, it’s always better to overdress, rather than underdress. Comfortable clothing will also help you feel confident during your interview.
Leave your house early - Proper planning will help you arrive on time for the interview and eliminate any last minute stress. Double-check the interview location and your best route to get there. If you’re driving there yourself, it’s a good idea to consider where you might park.
If you are having an online interview, remember to log on early and test your setup. You should check your connection, camera and microphone, as well as ensuring your background or environment is free from clutter and distractions.
Follow in Superman’s footsteps - Try this right before you go into the room or join your call. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on your hips and breathe deeply. This is the Superman pose, specifically developed to encourage your body to regulate breathing and allow your mind to clear and your nerves to calm. Plus, you’ll feel like you could leap tall buildings in a single bound - what better way to take your next steps to professional success?
Now that you’ve just taken your next steps towards succeeding in your career, be sure to take a look at the Wizco Blog for more insider tips and tricks and walk into every growth opportunity prepared.