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You’ve perfected your digital marketing CV, written excellent cover letters and applied to a large variety of jobs. Now what?
Once you receive a response from a potential employer, the dynamic of searching for a digital marketing job changes dramatically. You’re closer to achieving your goal, and the only barrier that still stands in your way is the biggest of all - the interview.
Interviewing for a digital marketing job can be a daunting experience, particularly if you’re new to the industry. There’s terminology to familiarize yourself with, questions to answer, skills that you need to demonstrate, as well as a variety of other challenges.
It’s no surprise that even the most experienced digital marketing professionals can feel nervous when interviewing for a new job.
The key to beating this nervousness and doing well in your job interview is preparation. Below, we’ve listed seven tips that you can use to beat nervousness, impress your potential employer and make yourself a serious candidate for any digital marketing job!
Start with an outstanding CV
Your CV is more than just a ticket to an interview. It also frames the topics of discussion for your job interview by highlighting your skills, listing your credentials and sharing your achievements with your prospective employer.
We’ve previously shared our five-step formula for creating a digital marketing CV that sets you apart from the competition. Our first step (and perhaps the most important) is to tailor each of your CVs to a specific position.
A targeted, tailored CV lets you highlight your qualifications, skills and achievements that are the most relevant for the job you’re applying for. As such, you send a specific message to the interviewer about your biggest strengths and relevant skills.
This doesn’t just get you the interview - it also helps the interviewer decide what to talk to you about during the interview. In many cases, the skills and experiences that you mention in your CV play a major role in determining the questions you’ll face.
Before you apply for any digital marketing job, check that your CV is perfectly tailored to the position. Not only will you stand out before the interview, you’ll also set the stage for a more specific job interview that emphasizes why you’re the best choice for the job.
Show that you're a great researcher
Few experiences are as frustrating for interviewers as speaking to a candidate that clearly isn’t as aware of the job - or the employer - as they should be.
Before you even consider scheduling an interview with any employer, learn as much as you can about the company:
- Search for the company on YouTube and look for press conferences, announcements and presentations that could give you more information about their current direction.
- For small and mid-sized companies, Google the company’s senior management and look for interviews and media pieces with information on any new developments and challenges.
- If you’re interviewing for a digital marketing job with a technology company, search on TechCrunch for recent coverage of events that could affect the company’s priorities.
- Find the company’s Wikipedia page and make note of any new products, services and other offerings that you could talk about during your interview.
- Find the company’s profile on GlassDoor and make a note of any interesting reviews from previous employees.
- Create a Google Alert so that you receive articles and discussions about the company via email as soon as they’re published.
While you’re researching the company, take detailed notes of any specific points that you think are relevant. Familiarize yourself with their products, unique technologies, company culture and other topics that you can mention during your interview.
Doing this demonstrates three things. First, it shows that you’re familiar with the company and a good match for its needs. Second, it shows that you’re a talented researcher. Third, it shows the interviewer that you’re willing to go the extra mile to offer as much value as possible.
Digital marketing jobs rarely go to the unprepared. Dive into the company’s background before your interview and you’ll walk in with a deeper knowledge of its history, its culture and its goals for the future.
Practice answering the “essential few” questions
Even with a great understanding of the company, it’s possible to stumble on a question that you didn’t expect. It only takes one bad answer to potentially ruin a job interview, making it essential that you’re prepared for at least some of the questions you expect to receive.
In any industry, most job interviews consist of the same, or similar, questions. Apply the Pareto Principle to your interview prep and spend your interview prep time working on answers for the vital few questions that determine your suitability for the job.
Unfunnel has a great list of 30 common digital marketing interview questions. HubSpot has a similar list of 10 questions aimed at general marketing job interviews. Both lists contain a few “critical few” questions - the questions interviewers use to assess your skills and attitude.
Preparing ahead of time for critical questions has several benefits. The first is that you’ll have clear, reasoned answers for the questions that matter. You’ll be able to answer right away and provide real value, differentiating yourself from other candidates.
The second, and perhaps the biggest benefit, is that you’ll gain confidence. Instead of having to stop and pause, losing your tempo in doing so, you’ll go into each question with confidence that you know how to answer not just satisfactorily, but in a way that truly impresses the employer.
Perfect your online presence
Today, 93 percent of employers use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to screen candidates either before or after the job interview process.
Gone are the days when you could show up to a job interview relatively anonymously.
Interestingly, employers look at social networks in all stages of the interview process. Data from an AdWeek survey shows that:
- 47% of employers look at a candidate’s social media profiles after receiving their application
- 27% check a candidate’s social media profiles after their first interview
- 15% check after their second interview with a candidate
- 4% check just before making a job offer
This means that even if your interview is successful, a poorly thought out Tweet from years ago or a Facebook party photo could be all it takes for you to miss out on receiving a job offer from the company.
Avoid missing out on great opportunities by perfecting your social media presence before you begin the interview process. Adjust your Facebook account’s privacy settings so that anything aside from your name and location is invisible to non-friends.
Scan your Twitter account and delete any tweets that could affect your reputation. Check that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and reflective of your current skills. Google your name and scan the first two pages to make sure there’s nothing that could hurt your chances.
CBS News has a great guide to preparing your social media profiles for job seeking. It’s 2016, and there’s a good chance your prospective employer will Google you! Stay one step ahead to turn your social profiles into valuable assets instead of potentially dangerous liabilities.
Demonstrate hands-on experience
Study data shows that people with industry experience are 2.38 times as likely to get a job than their peers with similar qualifications and no experience.
Employers choose interview candidates based on qualifications and skills, but they’re far more likely to hire based on experience.
Whenever possible, use your interview as an opportunity to highlight your relevant hands-on experience:
- When you mention how you would solve a problem or overcome a challenge, drive the point home with a specific example of how you’ve solved a similar problem in the past.
- When you get the chance to mention your past achievements, be as specific as you can with exact figures, statistics and improvements. Avoid round numbers and give specifics, since they’re more likely to stand out as concrete improvements.
As a marketing professional, you’re not just tasked with performing a job - you’re also tasked with controlling a certain amount of the company’s image. Show experience and you show that you’re a reliable, proven pick for the job instead of just another candidate.
Create your personal “Story Statement”
When you’re asked a personal question in a job interview, do you opt for the interesting answer or the button-down, “boring” one?
Most job applicants avoid telling their personal story during a job interview, instead opting for a short, clichéd answer about their professional background and interest in the job. The result is a statement that says everything about your career and very little about you.
Forbes contributor Jon Youshaei recommends replacing the standard personal blurb with your own “Story Statement” - a shortened, Cliff Notes version of your personal autobiography that shares just as much about you as a person as it does about you as a professional.
The goal is to describe yourself and your background, all while tying this history into the job that you’re applying for. Instead of being a brief snippet about you, it’s an engaging introduction that leads up to purpose behind your interview.
Just like your CV, your Story Statement should focus on a different aspect of your life for every job you apply for. Tailor your personal story to focus on your most relevant strengths, interests and passions and you’ll stand out as a highly motivated, engaging candidate.
Remember, the “classic” job interview rules still apply
Working at a digital marketing agency may not be quite like working at a Fortune 500 company, but it still has some aspects in common. Before your interview, remember that the classic “rules” of applying for a job still apply:
- Be polite and introduce yourself to everyone you meet with the goal of making a great first impression.
- Dress well (always dress at or above the standard for the employer) so that you stand out as someone that takes the opportunity seriously.
- Arrive for your interview on time (or preferably 10 to 15 minutes early) and bring extra copies of your CV and reference list with you.
- Avoid bad habits like slouching, fidgeting, chewing gum or mumbling. Meanwhile, focus on keeping great posture, maintaining eye contact and listening to your interviewer.
You are, after all, at a job interview. While the digital marketing industry is less formal than the norm in many ways, you lose nothing (and gain a great deal) by following the traditional “rules” of applying for a new job.
Are you ready for your digital marketing job interview?
Do you have a digital marketing job interview coming up? Whether you’re preparing to interview for an entry-level position or hoping to step up the ladder into a senior job, apply our seven tips to make a great impression, stand out from the crowd and obtain your dream marketing job.
About Ian Dodson
A visionary leader and prominent advocate for education and digital literacy, Ian Dodson is Co-Founder and Director of the Digital Marketing Institute. With a background in strategic leadership, business development, digital marketing and international partner management, he has been instrumental in the creation of a broad range of digital marketing and selling education programs from Specialist Diplomas to Postgraduate through to Masters.
His focus on education standards in digital has resulted in a set of certification standards which serve as a respected qualification and career pathway for universities, students and employers around the world.
As a digital expert, Ian speaks at international conferences and writes for various well-known digital and marketing journals. He is a regular commentator on the national news circuit and regularly contributes to well-known news sources, including The Irish Independent, Newstalk, Sunday Business Post and RTE News.
With a passion for student-centric outcomes and an advocate for education and digital literacy, Ian believes digital technologies are empowering tools for raising economic and social standards globally.