Going for an interview can be a nerve-racking experience, especially if you're going for a new type of job and aren't completely confident in your skills.
As the demand for skilled digital marketers continues to grow, there’s also a lot of competition out there for roles with great prospects and benefits so it’s worth putting time and energy into doing the best you can to get that interview right.
But when preparing for a digital marketing interview, there are things you can and should do to get yourself ready, as well as a few things to definitely avoid. Plus, many interviews now take place online which adds a new dimension to the interview process (here's an article for some great online interview tips).
Let’s find out some of those important don’ts that you should keep in mind during an interview to ensure that you pass with flying colors to make it to the next round.
“The interview is a case of make or break. It’s there for you to really shine and really highlight what your skills are. So preparation is going to be key.” Eimear Walsh, Managing Partner of Alternatives & a Director of the Brightwater Group
Just as companies want people who are passionate and driven, they also want team players who care about the growth and success of their company. It’s up to you to not only show knowledge about the company but also a passion for what it does.
By researching before the interview, you can demonstrate why your goals and skills are in line with what the company wants to accomplish and show that you’re a candidate who can help them achieve their goals.
“Research the company and look at the location or locations the company is in. Look at the functions and products and services that they offer. Look at the website, the industry-pulled publications, and all social media. Do a complete review of what this company is all about," says Eimear Walsh, Managing Partner of Alternatives and a Director of the Brightwater Group in our recent webinar.
Remember that the interview isn't just about the interviewer learning about you: it’s also about you demonstrating what you know about the company and why you're a good fit.
They say the devil is in the details, and while you should try your best not to ramble in your interview, you should also make an effort to provide enough detail about your experiences, knowledge, and skills so the interviewer will get the full picture of your abilities.
“If you've been shortlisted for an interview, chances are on paper, the company feels you're a really great fit for the role,” says Walsh. “Where people fall down short is limited answers. What I mean by that is not using examples to flesh out answers, not giving different scenarios or talking through an example of what you achieved, how you maybe overcame an issue with a colleague, or maybe how you reached a deadline quicker, whatever it might be.”
This can be a balancing act because while you want to provide a lot of detail, you also want to be to the point with your answers. Be clear about your skills and relevant experience, and tie these things into why they make you a good fit for the current position.
Top tip: Don’t use your resume as a crutch in the interview. If you're asked to provide details, don’t just reference what's already on paper. Instead, flesh out the ideas on your resume, and use the interview as an opportunity to connect your past experiences and skills with the role the agency needs to fill.
An interview is your time to shine, and that means explaining why what you’ve done in the past makes you an ideal candidate for the future.
Lots of people aren't comfortable talking about themselves, but the interview is when you want to pull out all the stops and explain how the things you’ve already done have helped others find success. Tell them why you'd be a good fit for the firm you're interviewing with, and how your skills and knowledge fit the requirements the company is looking for.
“It's important that you really highlight what you've achieved within your current role. Talk about promotions, talk about awards, talk about how you've gone above and beyond, maybe is it a testimonial you've gotten from a client or a customer, but ensure that you're really selling yourself as best you can,” Walsh advises. “You’ll have 30 or 40 minutes to impress this audience. If you don't, unfortunately, they'll move on to the next candidate.”
The best way to prepare for this is also the simplest: read over your resume before the interview. This will help refresh yourself on the courses you’ve taken, the knowledge you’ve acquired, the jobs you’ve had, the experiences you’ve been through, and the things you’ve done to help other companies or brands to reach their potential.
Digital marketing is a specialized field with its own terminology, technology, and metrics, and you should know something about these things before going to an interview.
That doesn’t mean you should spend the entire interview throwing around jargon, but you should be familiar with important topics that matter to a company like call-to-action, click-through and bounce rates, conversions, GA4 and local SEO.
Walsh would advise people to avoid usually acronyms or jargon at an interview but believes for digital marketers it’s a necessity. “Within the marketing space and specifically in the digital space, there are so many buzzwords and acronyms, it's great to throw some of those in there if you know that that company would use those regularly."
This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert and know everything about digital marketing, but you should have enough relevant experience and a basic understanding of the practice to be able to discuss it with confidence.
While there’s a lot of jargon that gets used in digital marketing, you should resist the temptation to pretend you know a term, or the ins and outs of a particular technology when you don’t.
For one thing, you may end up caught in a lie, and that will be much more awkward than just admitting up front that you didn’t know. Plus, honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to a potential employer.
Remember, not knowing something isn't a thing to be ashamed of. It’s an opportunity to show you want to learn something new, and any employer will be impressed if you use chances to expand your knowledge base.
Top Tip: A desire for lifelong learning is one of the most important traits a digital marketer can have, so it’s always good to show that you're keen to learn new things.
Digital marketing is dedicated to improving performance and optimizing results, so if you see areas where a company can improve its own activities or campaigns, then feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations.
For instance, maybe you’ve noticed that the organization doesn’t have a great presence on social media (particularly if you’re going for a social media role). Suggest a few ways they could increase their reach such as repurposing top-performing content or trying a different content format.
Not only will this demonstrate that you’ve done your research into the company, but it will also show that you're analytical and care about the success of the company. It also shows that you’ve got what it takes to do the job, and are dedicated to helping others improve.
Passion and drive are key traits in successful digital marketing professionals, so you want to showcase your hunger for knowledge, your desire to learn new skills, and your love for digital marketing.
It may seem cool to be nonchalant in some situations, but this isn't one of them. Show that you're eager, that you're interested, and that you're keen because passionate people are the ones with the drive and motivation to go the extra mile.
Walsh believes this is particularly important in the final stages of an interview process. "It's really important to come across as genuinely interested and passionate about the role. If you're in the final stages of entry, you're most likely going to be up against maybe no more than one or two other candidates. Really demonstrating that interest, that passion, that genuine ability to do the role is what's going to make it for you."
Consider how you can showcase your skills and past projects or campaigns. Maybe bring in samples of your work or prepare a visual presentation. Even if you don’t have previous experience working in digital marketing, you can use a personal blog to highlight your content writing, SEO, and social media marketing skills.
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