How to properly assess your marketing candidates in an interview

Interviewing can be a tiring and cumbersome process for hiring managers, and it is difficult to decide how to best assess candidates with differing levels of experience and skill sets. Hiring the right person is crucial, which is why it is important that hiring managers learn how to effectively determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for a role. 
Everyone will have an ‘interview version’ of themselves. Some thrive in an interview but don’t have the knowledge to back this up in the role, while others may be perfect once they get through the door, but crumble during the interview process. It is crucial that you are able to assess the many different personalities that you will come across. 

Marketing roles that are difficult to hire for

When interviewing potential candidates, assessing whether an individual will fit with the company ethos and working environment is notoriously difficult. It is important to understand what the candidate’s key drivers are for interviewing with your business, what they would bring to the company, and how well they would work with the team.  
Category managers
These individuals are typically assessed on their analytical ability, rather than their power to influence. Influencing is a key element of this role, as they will need to build rapport and influence retailers. Category managers should be put into a roleplay situation, where they are given time to pull key insights from a data set and to take their findings to a ‘retailer’. This roleplay will assess both their analytical, and influencing abilities. 
Product managers
Product management abilities are difficult to assess, as there are so many elements to the role. Assessing all of these during an interview process is near impossible. You should discuss what skills are most important for your industry, before meeting with the candidate. When assessing a product manager, be sure to test smaller parts of their role. For example, attention to detail, organisational skills, prioritisation ability, and their written/verbal communication capabilities. 

Interview questions designed for marketing professionals

It is crucial to ask a mixture of questions to assess a candidate’s capability, as well as their potential to grow within the organisation. You should identify a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, and assess them against their creativity and commerciality. Be sure to ask competency and behavioural based questions, as this will give you the best view of the candidate and their suitability for the role and business. Here are some insightful questions that you could ask a brand manager during an interview.
  • What are your key priorities when you are managing a brand/project?
  • How do you assess the success of your brand/project?
  • What efficiency measures would you put in place to maximise ROI?
  • How would your manager describe you?
  • What brands make an impact and why?
  • Where do you see this brand in the next two years?
  • What makes a brand successful?
  • What were your key tangible achievements on your previous brands?
  • If you could change one weakness of yours into a strength, what would it be?

What you should look out for during an interview

Spotting a good candidate from the outset can be harder than it seems. Look out for enthusiasm when they speak about the business and role, but also gauge how much preparation they have done prior to the interview. Secondly, if they have done any competitor analysis or SWOT analysis before the interview, this shows their commitment to interviewing for the role, their observations and thought process that stems from that.  
View our free eBook for more advice on assessing a candidate during an interview.

How to secure top talent after the interview

It isn’t uncommon for businesses to lose a top candidate after making an offer. Most top candidates will be interviewing for multiple roles at the same time, and therefore businesses will be competing for the same talent. You should move quickly after identifying a candidate that is suitable for the role.
  • Run a streamlined recruitment process, with prospective dates for each stage of the interview secured. 
  • Make sure all of the relevant decision makers are involved in the interview process. It is also important that they are competent at interviewing and assessing candidates. 
  • Give comprehensive interview feedback quickly. 
  • Once you have found the ideal candidate, ensure that you have all the relevant details from your recruitment partner. For example, other processes they are in, salary expectations, and right to work documents. 
  • If there is a slight delay with making an official offer, ensure the candidate is aware of your intention to offer.
It is important to keep candidates engaged throughout the interview process. Make sure they are aware of the many positives of working for your business. If you master the recruitment process, it will improve your chances of becoming an employer of choice and winning top talent.
If you are interested in learning more about the skills to look for when hiring marketing professionals, read our article ’10 skills driving the marketing function forward in 2019’. Alternatively, learn how to assess your candidates’ skills in job interviews with our free downloadable webinar. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants to discuss your hiring needs today.
Sevda Savas
Managing Consultant, FMCG Michael Page Marketing 
T:  +44 1932 264191