Our special guest contributor is Mark Miller of placement firm MarketPro, an AMA member of the Atlanta chapter. No matter how much experience we get with employment interviews, they can still be challenging. Mark has some straightforward suggestions and insights into common interview questions. Don’t get tripped up! Mark’s advice can help.
It’s funny how many career marketers founder during basic steps of the job search process. Even seasoned marketing veterans who could sell dry air to a fish often struggle to market themselves; it’s a problem we see here at MarketPro on a daily basis. One of the most common points that seems to give marketers trouble is the interview. Even seemingly straightforward questions require a nuanced response.
There’s no magical answer to a good interview question. You’ll always have to take a personalized approach to each response and make it relevant to your experience and qualifications. That said, there are a few questions that frequently trip up marketers that can be overcome by using a particular approach or strategy. Next time you’re prepping for a big marketing job interview, make sure you’re ready to respond to them.
How Will We Benefit from Hiring You?
Questions like this come up frequently in interviews of all kinds. They’re tricky because they’re (often intentionally) kept very vague. There are a lot of answers you could theoretically provide.
The key thing for marketers to remember when faced with a question like this, what they really mean is “How will we profit.” Using that narrowed, focused perspective it’s a relatively simple matter of describing how you can contribute to the bottom line. It’s great that you’re a great team member or have a reputation for bringing killer brownies into the officer every other week. But lead and focus on how you’ll be able to directly contribute to ROI.
How Will You Adapt to the New Environment?
This question comes in a lot of forms about how you would on-board yourself, how you would integrate yourself into a new team, or how you’d familiarize yourself with a new industry/brand/product, etc.
Again, this is something you’ll want to give an honest, personal answer to based on your past experience adapting to new environments. As a professional operating in today’s fast-paced marketing environment, your marketing leader wants to know that you’ll be able to come in and make a difference fast, and that you’ll come in with a plan. One of the best ways to do this is to develop a 30/60/90 day plan, though it’s up to you to determine exactly what would be most effective for you.
What Do You Think About Your Work at a Current/Previous Employer?
It’s common practice to ask candidates about their experience with previous employers. As a marketer this is an opportunity to talk about valuable experience you got and things you learned. Show how you improved your contributions over time, and identify things you wish you had done better.
Be as thorough as possible, but also discrete with the information you disclose. Take care not to give up any information that your employers might consider confidential or proprietary, including special internal processes and systems. And avoid speaking poorly about the organization as a whole and individuals in particular. It’s considered poor taste to emphasize negative aspects of a former employer, even if you have a good case to make them. Knowing how to keep your mouth shut at the right time will show your interviewer that you’ll be a good steward of their own information, too.
It helps to come into the interview with a strategy for certain tricky questions. But the most important thing in general is to actually spend meaningful time researching and preparing. It’s amazing how many people still walk in to these situations with virtually no prep. It’s likewise amazing how far doing even a little homework can get you. If you understand the company you’re trying to join and (more importantly) truly understand yourself, then you’ll be ready to tackle any interview questions successfully.
Bio: Mark Miller is Marketing Manager for MarketPro, a marketing recruitment firm. He writes on marketing career development and trends that can impact marketing jobs. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.