There I sat. Palms sweating. Heartbeat racing. Mind spinning.
My first content marketing job interview.
I was prepared (for the most part). I had practiced and reviewed everything about marketing I had learned up until that point.
My jargon and marketing-speak were on point, I knew what KPI, SEO, and USP stood for; I knew that proven value, ROI, and data were the lifeblood of marketing success.
All I had to do now was show that I had the know-how and experience to do the job.
After going over my experience and explaining the position, it was time for the part of the interview that most interviewees overlook.
“Do you have any questions for me?”
I froze (damn!).
I didn’t have any questions beyond, “What is the company culture like?” I wasn’t seasoned enough as a marketer to know what I needed to know. Ya know?
Suffice it to say I didn’t get a second interview.
Now that I’ve been at both ends of the interview table I know that this point in the interview is a telling signal of exactly how experienced one is as a marketer.
Asking the right questions at the end of an interview shows just how much you, a professional marketer, are aware of what a marketing team is responsible for. Interviewers and marketing managers want to know that you have the experience to dig deeper and learn about what it’ll take to be successful in the position.
Furthermore, you’ll receive insight into the state and health of the company’s marketing department. Because the last thing you want is to get hired into a marketing role that is doomed from the start (unless you’re a glutton for punishment).
Do you want to come off like a content marketing pro?
Do you want to show that you have content marketing chops?
To save you from getting caught off guard like I was, I’ve put together nine questions you need to ask your interviewer to land your next content marketing job.
1. How is success measured for this position?
Forget the qualifications of the position for a second. Can you meet the expected goals?
How is the success of content measured in relation to the goals of the company? Before you step into the position you’ll want to know how your success will be measured once your strategies are off and running.
2. What are a couple of the bigger challenges the company is facing?
This is where you’ll learn about what you can bring to the table. Can you use your experience to tackle the one thing they’re currently trying to accomplish?
Don’t expect them to fully disclose issues like employee dissatisfaction, of course, but insight into what they’re struggling with will give you a good idea of how complex their challenges are and what you might want to brush up on before the next interview or your start date.
Bringing in more qualified leads, for example, is something that can be directly affected by content production. If you can contribute to solving a massive pain point for the company, you’ll more than likely end up starting on Monday.
3. Can you briefly outline your sales cycle? How do you manage churn?
Here is where you’ll learn how long it takes the company to turn a lead into a customer. And more importantly, what the company is doing to keep those customers.
How companies manage customer churn is a glaring signal of that company’s health. Remember that retaining a customer is much more cost efficient than acquiring a new one.
Can you help optimize the sales cycle to make it faster and more efficient? Can you increase the quality of leads or bring in more leads with more content amplification? What content can you add to increase brand equity among customers for retention?
4. What is your management style like?
Under what kind of management style do you perform best? Everyone works differently. Do you need to be monitored and told what to do next? Or do you prefer to operate independently?
Management style plays a huge role in your success, make sure the work environment suits you.
5. What kind of content has been found to be the most effective?
What has been done so far? How well has it worked to accomplish the goals of the company? By asking this you can get a sense of what is being done and what the company is trying to do with content.
Is the team focused and organized with their content efforts? If they’re blindly creating content without any aim, then there’s room to learn and grow. If they’re organized and calculated, then there are things to be learned and processes to adapt to. Either way you’ll want to know how and where content is being used to create revenue.
If the team is blindly creating #content, there’s room to learn and grow via @jordanlore6. Click To Tweet
6. Which marketing channels are you using to promote the brand and content?
What is the marketing team doing to promote the content? Is it maximizing for exposure? Or are key areas missing? Are the current channels the right channels for the brand’s target audience?
A lot of content marketing involves putting your content in the right place at the right time. Any connections you have in the industry or ideas for placement can go a long way in helping the brand.
7. How is reporting done? Which tools are used?
What tools for reporting is the team using? How is achievement of the monthly KPIs communicated to the executive team? How is the team using thorough reporting to build on successes?
An efficient reporting system has to be used to make sure a marketing team is staying on track. If no reporting is being done or numbers aren’t being visualized for the higher-ups, it might be hard to solidify ROI for the position.
An efficient reporting system has to be used to make sure a #marketing team stays on track via @jordanlore6. Click To Tweet
Value and ROI are huge in marketing and the costs must be properly communicated to executive teams. This might be one area where you can suggest analytic and reporting software for the team.
8. Is marketing automation in place? Have you found success using it?
Is any of the marketing for the company automated? Are any email drip campaigns, social triggers, or CRM processes automated to ease the workload of the marketing team? How effective is the content being used for onboarding?
Marketing automation can be a huge time saver in several areas. Working smarter, not harder, can be a huge cost- and time-saver for a marketing team. If you can bring automation knowledge to a team without any, it can provide massive value.
Writing effective email copy or educational content is an area where many companies need to optimize.
9. What is the relationship between marketing and sales?
How are the marketing and sales teams working together to turn leads into customers? How are leads being qualified? What sales numbers are communicated to the marketing team to calculate ROI?
The marketing and sales relationship is often ignored in business. The more efficiently the two can work together the faster a lead can be turned into a sale. It is then up to sales to communicate their needs with marketing to improve the quality of the leads.
How well is the content doing at reaching the right audience? Is it producing leads that sales is looking for? Is there enough content to help support each section of the sales funnel? Is the content sufficient enough for the sales team to reference to customers?
If the sales and marketing teams are disconnected, they’re set up for failure. To know this shows that you have a great awareness for the business and sales process.
A disconnected sales and marketing team is set up for failure via @jordanlore6. Click To Tweet
Job interviews can be an intimidating process. Obviously practice makes perfect but it helps to be prepared. In an industry still in its infancy, there is a lot of room for interpretation in content marketing interviews. For a lot of businesses, content is still an abstract, somewhat misunderstood concept.
Businesses, executives especially, want to know that the individual they’re hiring knows how to produce ROI with content marketing. They NEED to have confidence that this individual can turn content into a measurable return.
Show that you know your stuff at the end of your interview with these nine questions and land your next content role.
How did your first content marketing job interview go?
Are there any other questions that would help someone in their first interview?
Add your own questions or share your stories with me in the comments.