How to Suck as an Interviewer During a Marketing Interview

How to Suck as an Interviewer During a Marketing Interview
How to Suck as an Interviewer During a Marketing Interview

Your company is growing, and as the marketing director you decide that it is time to hire an online marketing manager to provide Internet Marketing solutions to your webpage and online community. The idea you have in mind is, obviously, to increase sales, but also to improve your SEO and engage the online community by establishing a social media strategy.

You go ahead and compose the following ad:

The purpose of the Online Marketing Manager is to develop, manage and execute the online marketing activities for an online community and related online and offline training events.
Specific responsibilities:
SEO and SEM activities
Online Media Buys and Media Placement
Oversight and direction of online banner advertisements
Direct response online marketing activities
Distribution of speaker interviews and news articles to media outlets and event partners
Distribution of online press releases
Creation of podcasts for each event
Development and execution of social media marketing plan
Manage of  Twitter account s
Creation and maintenance of Linked In and Facebook groups
Creation and maintenance of event related blogs
Required skills and competencies:
Marketing degree
Exceptional interpersonal skills
Excellent communicator, verbal and written
Outstanding organizational, prioritization, and multi-tasking skills
Ability to work independently under tight deadlines
Detail oriented
Self-driven and results-oriented with a positive outlook
Minimum of 3 years experience in online marketing

You have a few people applying for the position, combining some interesting experience in online marketing. One of this people is yours truly, a person who ‘eats’, ‘breathe’, and ‘sleeps’ Internet marketing.

The following is a description of the interviews I have gone through, up until the point they decided to go back in time:

The first interview was a phone interview. The recruiter asked a few questions about SEO, social media, and some analytics problems that made me think a bit. At the end of the 30 minutes conversation, I was told to show up to an interview at the company’s headquarters in NYC. Wow, I thought to myself, I am getting a chance to engage in a conversation on a topic I am really passionate about, Internet Marketing.

The day of the interview arrived, and I was ready to meet with my interviewers. A quick hello, and before I know it the conversation accelerated into a deep discussion about different Internet marketing tactics and strategies. How to improve SEO, what social media tools to use and why, keywords search, analytics, and basically everything you can ever imagine about Internet Marketing. After a full hour of conversation, I was told to come back for a third interview, but this time I need to prepare a 16 week online marketing plan for an event the company is having in April. I have a week, and $5,000 to complete the project. I am told that I will receive an email with all the details regarding the event, including the marketing brief. Excited about the fact I advanced to the third interview, I am eager to start working on the project.

A week has past, and the 16 week online marketing plan I worked on is ready to be presented. I go to NYC to meet with my interviewers, getting ready to put my marketing skills into action.
After about 15 minutes presentation, I am ready to answer some questions. This is the part I need your help. I need to know what would you have done in this situation as an interviewee and as an interviewer?

Back to in the interview. As you can see below, I presented an Internet Marketing plan, with a detailed explanation of how and when to launch every single tactic (the actual detailed explanation provided in the printed15 page marketing plan given to the interviewer).

Internet Marketing Plan
Internet Marketing Plan
SEO Strategy
SEO Strategy
Internet Marketing Cycle
Internet Marketing Cycle

This is when things started to look a bit weird and unrelated to the job description described above. I have been asked to provide traditional marketing solutions that did not make sense to me. I was criticized for only using $2,000 of the budget, even though I proved that my plan will generate more sales to the event. It was obvious that the interviewers were skeptical about this type of marketing, and were 1) afraid to engage in this type of marketing, or 2) had no clue what I was talking about.

Needless to say that I did not get the position. The way things were done bothered me to the core, which made me think about the title of this post, and increased my motivation to compose this post.
I thought about this for a few days, and concluded the following:

  1. If you are still stack in a 1990’s type of marketing, it is okay as long as you teach yourself about the new type of marketing before you go and interview a professional in the field.
  2. If you are looking for an online marketing manager, do not ask questions about outdated traditional marketing tactics. It only generates awkwardness on both the interviewer and interviewee’s faces.
  3. There is nothing wrong with realizing that the person you are interviewing is more knowledgeable about the topic. After all, it is why you are hiring her/him. Let them speak, and do not scoff at what they have to say. Especially when your counter-respond to email marketing is a magazine ad.
  4. Online marketing is not a “black and white” field. Rather, it is a very dynamic field that requires various strategies and not one big master-plan to solve it all. Remember, you are dealing with people, and not an ad space.

I posted a question to our awesome marketing community to see what they had to say, and their respond was exactly what I expected it to be. The question was this: Let’s say you are deciding to hire an Online Marketing Manager? What questions would you choose to ask during the interview.

I’m hoping the next interview will bring more online marketing challenges, and less outdated questions that do not help anyone.

What is your thoughts on this one?  I’ll take criticism too, if you think I am wrong.

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