10 questions to ask when hiring digital marketing manager in nigeria and seo

A smiling black human resource manager interviewed the applicant with his curriculum vitae for the job vacancy. 

This piece originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse as 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Digital Marketer in Nigeria, and an SEO too!

As an employer, no doubt you want to hire the right digital marketer. Caroline Wabara wrote an extremely helpful piece on 10 Digital Marketing Job Interview Questions Nigerian Employers Ask.

You’re probably wondering next why you should be asking these questions, and what kind of answers you should be expecting in return.

Here are those 10 questions again, why you should be asking them and a rough idea of answers you might want to look out for.

1. What is your digital marketing framework or strategy for our organization?

This question lets you understand how the interviewee thinks: holistic or meager; long-term or short-term; sustained approach or quick-wins oriented. You get to know whether they fit your goal of eventual world dominance or not.

Just as there’s no point hiring a digital marketer who has goals way beneath your acceptance, it’s also futile interviewing a digital marketer whose level of achievement and remuneration are seventeen leagues ahead of your organisation’s. You both need to be right for each other.

You both need to be right for each other.

2. What made you choose digital marketing as a career?

If the interviewee is honest, this lets you understand their motive for being in the business. It’s not supposed to be a criteria to judge them, but it just helps you see with clearer eyes the person you’re dealing with. And if they give you template answers that they got from a Google search, it’s a no no.

3. How well do you handle digital media crisis? Give us an example of a crisis you managed successfully?

I reached out to people who are better at social media on this. Princewill advises that you watch out for the interviewee’s understanding of the crisis scope and how they approach the situation.

Adeniyi says you shouldn’t expect that everyone has handled a crisis in the past and that you should watch out for honesty. And lastly, Joe reminds us to look out for choice of words and attitude.

4. What is SEO?

If you’re going to ask someone what SEO is, you need to know it yourself. Quit the over-rambling about “keywords” and forget about reading that Wikipedia article on SEO. The first two paragraphs of this Moz article should give you a functional idea enough.

Once you’ve read up, sit back and listen to your interviewee. If they talk too much about keywords, that’s a red flag. You want to hear a few more advanced stuff like user search behavior, recent user search history, and site architecture (especially if you’re hiring for an SEO).

5. Give us 3 best SEO practices that help a company’s website rank from nothing to front page of Google?

If you focus on the phrase best practice, then you easily see why this is a trick question. Keyword stuffing, suspicious link sourcing such as building links from blog comments and automating linkbuilding with software, are not just Google-unfriendly but can easily get you demotion in search rankings.

It’s also a good idea to ask the interviewee what their view of “curated” content is.

6. If your company website’s SEO rankings suddenly went from 1st position to 3rd page on Google search and your boss is screaming, what would you do?

One of the first things to do would be to find out if there was a recent Google update. Did the website make any big changes, like moving over to a new domain? Was there any change made to the robots.txt page? Sitemap? Or better still, run an SEO audit to find out. Google’s Page Speed Insight and  Mobile-Friendly Test are good places to start. In any case, be very wary of overly short answers.

Really it’s pretty much like checking a car for mechanical fault. Look for the Roll-your-sleeves-to-work-and-find-out-what-the-heck’s-wrong Mechanic mentality in the interviewee.

Really it’s pretty much like checking a car for mechanical fault. Look for the Roll-your-sleeves-to-work-and-find-out-what-the-heck’s-wrong Mechanic mentality in the interviewee.

7. What major successful digital marketing campaigns have you handled in the past?

Success is relative. So, depending on what level of professionalism you’re hiring for, avoid putting the interviewee on the spot, else you force them to lie or claim a team member’s success that doesn’t belong to them.

Instead, ask if they have been involved in digital marketing campaigns in the past. What specific things did they do to help the campaign? How did they determine what success meant? How did they measure those?

8. What ideas do you have in order to reduce your company’s Pay Per Click ads budget spending from $3,000 dollars a month to $2,500?

Usually, answers will revolve around looking deeper into ad data for opportunities to better target the right customers  in areas including interests, geo-location, device, timing of day, demographics, and optimising to avoid bidding for non-converting over-competitive search terms.

But anyone can easily learn all of those by reading a few blog posts before coming to your interview; so you can’t feel too smart yet. What you’re looking for areideas; they don’t have to be 100% actionable. Look for the reasoning behind the answers.

Ask further “How did you arrive at that answer?” “Why do you think it’s better to do it that way?” How does that method compare to this other method?” Then you can be sure that your prospective digital marketer’s answers are original and they have what they need to push on for your business.

9. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What area of digital marketing are you really good or weak at?

If your dude says something like, “Nah, I’m equally great in all aspects of digital marketing”, and you go along with him, it’s really your risk to take such dishonesty lightly.

Digital marketing involves social media, SEM, SEO, display advertising, email marketing, content creation, content marketing, analytics, design and more. For your candidate to say that they are evenly rounded in all aspects of digital marketing would make even Superman scared of them. And so should you too.

For your candidate to say that they are evenly rounded in all aspects of digital marketing would make even Superman scared of them. And so should you too.

10. Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?

Career question. You don’t need my help figuring what the right answers might sound like. You’re the CEO; you’re the Boss. Hiring and keeping staff will remain your toughest job but you can succeed.

To be honest, many factors contribute towards nailing a successful digital marketing campaign.. Find 7 of them here. That your digital marketer interviewee was successful with their past employer don’t mean they will automatically be for you. Asking the right questions means you can get an accurate picture of the person before both of you commit into a long-term relationship.

Happy Hiring!

Seun is great at Search Marketing and Web Analytics. He’s mostly working on digital marketing, SEO training, product management and humor with startup businesses that have Africa close at heart.