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Why this matters:

Effective marketing is about understanding and meeting customer needs. You want to know that your candidate has taken the time to research your company and familiarize themselves with the people you serve. That genuine curiosity and empathy is the foundation of marketing success — if they don’t have it, why would they want to market on behalf of your organization?

What to listen for:

  • Evidence that the candidate thoroughly researched your company, beyond looking at your website
  • A keen understanding of your company’s value proposition
  • Great answers that demonstrate an ability to quickly get into the mind of the customer

Why this matters:

Your new marketing manager will be responsible for overseeing critical campaigns, so it’s vital that you feel confident in their ability to make the most of their budget. You’ll also need to know if they understand various marketing channels and can think strategically about how to align on the right channel mix to meet campaign goals.

What to listen for:

  • Answers that demonstrate good judgment, fiscal responsibility, and a creative approach
  • Signs that the candidate is focused and goal-oriented
  • Ideally, answers that show that they take both the big-picture strategy and the tiny details into account

Why this matters:

Great marketers are visionaries who can quickly identify connections between the existing marketplace and what your brand has to offer. What does this candidate see that others don’t? Do they bring a fresh perspective to your product or market? If so, they may be a major asset to your marketing team.

What to listen for:

  • Evidence that the candidate recognizes who your top competitors are
  • Clues that they possess a keen eye for the nuances that make you distinct
  • Answers that demonstrate an ability to think creatively about how to marry your offering to the market need

Why this matters:

Today’s marketers have more data at their fingertips than ever before. But in situations where the data is limited, you need to know that your new hire has good instincts and reasoning skills to guide them. It’s important for them to think through decisions carefully, but they also need to feel comfortable acting fast when a situation calls for it.

What to listen for:

  • Answers that concisely outline the situation, the candidate’s reasoning, and how it led to a positive outcome
  • Great answers that demonstrate the candidate’s problem-solving skills and ability to apply logic under pressure
  • A very slow answer, which may indicate an inability to make quick decisions

Why this matters:

One of the best ways to predict how well a candidate would run your marketing campaigns is to learn how they handled a previous one. You want to know that they can plan, launch, and measure a campaign, overseeing the efforts of their team and making strategic adjustments along the way to optimize the outcome.

What to listen for:

  • Sign of an experienced candidate who has many examples to draw from and the ability to talk you through their strategy from start to finish
  • Specific measurement techniques, such as analytics and surveys
  • Evidence of passion, like an animated tone

Why this matters:

A great deal of marketing is experimentation, so there are bound to be a few failures on the road to success. In those situations, you want a marketing manager who takes responsibility and looks forward, rather than making excuses or blaming others. They should focus on solutions, not problems, while still learning from every stumble.

What to listen for:

  • A thoughtful discussion of what went wrong, demonstrating high emotional intelligence
  • Answers that indicate that they learn from failures and view them as an opportunity to optimize future campaigns
  • A willingness to admit mistakes

Why this matters:

This question is designed to screen for collaboration skills. Marketing managers need to be team players, but they also need to be capable of steering the team toward a common goal. Since people won’t always agree, this may require making tough decisions. Top marketing managers always put the needs of the project first, while still making everyone feel heard.

What to listen for:

  • Answers that indicate the candidate took the initiative to get everyone back on track
  • Mentions of specific strategies, such as striking a compromise or making an executive decision
  • Signs that they weighed up what was best for the project before acting

Why this matters:

The marketing landscape is always changing. As new tools emerge and audience expectations evolve, marketing managers need to stay on top of these changes to optimize their team. That’s why the ideal candidate will be a dedicated lifelong learner who takes the initiative to further their professional development.

What to listen for:

  • Top answers that indicate that the candidate is always seeking to grow and develop their craft
  • References to books, courses, and events that taught them new tactics
  • Great answers that elaborate on how this has improved their work

Why this matters:

This question tests the candidate’s adaptability, which is an important trait in the fast-moving world of marketing. Maybe a project’s budget was suddenly halved, or key members of their team were needed elsewhere. You want to know your candidate can take sudden changes in their stride and make strategic pivots to drive a project to success.

What to listen for:

  • Answers that show that the candidate was able to rapidly adjust their strategy according to the new direction
  • A solutions-oriented mindset, which is critical
  • Great answers that may also cover how they kept their team’s morale high
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