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Top interview questions to ask your next marketing executive

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MarketPro's checklist of interview questions is designed to tease out insights about your marketing candidates you may otherwise miss.

Your next marketing executive could determine the future competitiveness of your company. The only way to find out if a candidate really has what it takes to grow your business is to strategically evaluate and interview them.

Generic interview questions get you generic answers

The checklist from MarketPro combines decades of experience among the agency's veteran marketing executive recruiters. The questions can be applied to candidates for nearly any marketing executive position and are designed to tease out specific insights and details that may otherwise be missed.

"Generic interview questions will get you generic answers," says Bob Van Rossum, president of MarketPro Inc. "Our checklist is specially tailored for experienced marketing professionals to expose the strengths and weaknesses you wouldn't normally see."

Here is a preview of just some of the interview questions that appear on MarketPro's checklist:

"How will we profit from hiring you?"
One of the most important things you need to establish about your candidate is how results-driven they are. You can be direct and ask straight out: "How will we profit from hiring you?" It's up to you whether you ask this question at the start of the interview or later on. Questions such as "What would your first 30/60/90 days on the job look like?" will give you an idea of how they would transition into productivity within their first few months.

"How are you going to fail before you succeed?"
Even the best marketer out there wouldn't be able to step in and operate at full steam from day one. There is always a knowledge gap that needs to be filled first. Asking "How long are you going to fail at this job before you succeed?" is geared toward getting the candidate to acknowledge this obstacle rather than dismiss it, and talk through how they will tackle it.

"What do you think of our customer experience?"
Asking the candidate about the organization, its website and social media presence, can help reveal how much research and preparation the candidate has done ahead of the interview. An important question to ask is "What do you think of our customer experience?" In an era of customer empowerment and choice, the customer experience is a key differentiator. It's one of the first things any modern marketing leader should evaluate when researching a potential employer and considering a new position.

"How would you be a leader in our company as a whole?"
Every executive has a responsibility to serve as an inspiration to the entire company. A question such as "How would you be a leader in our company?" should prompt the successful candidate to suggest ways they would champion company-wide policies, act as an industry thought leader and use their expertise to enhance functions across the organization.

"How does this position fit in to your long-term personal and career goals?"
For excellent marketing executives, taking a new job is a calculated career move that helps them reach their ultimate goals, which could be personal, professional, or both. Asking a question like "How does this role fit in to your long-term personal and career goals?" will help you see if the candidate has long-term ambitions.

Give candidates a positive experience of your company
Today's top talent in marketing is in very high demand. Top-performing A-players with a strong track record can afford to be very picky with where they choose to work. They have high standards and frequently aren't primarily motivated by pure compensation. In fact, 63% of candidates will turn down a job offer after a negative candidate experience, according to Software Advice.

"Marketing has changed and evolved drastically in recent years, and leadership positions in the field have had to change quickly to keep up," says Van Rossum.

"In particular, it's important to select a set of interview questions that will provide a well-rounded understanding of a candidate's marketing capabilities, leadership, aptitude and culture fit," he adds.

Next steps

MarketPro has the following advice on how to make best use of its checklist:

  • Make sure your interview panel reviews the checklist before the interview and is prepared to modify them as needed to make them more appropriate for your organization.
  • Agree on some formalized, documented review processes to compare candidate responses and interviewers' notes.
  • Consider partnering with a marketing executive search firm if at any point you find yourself struggling to find the right hire. You can't afford to put the future of your business in the wrong hands.

Download the full checklist from MarketPro: 20 interview questions you must ask your next marketing executive

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