You Need To Hire A Marketing Director – Here Are Some Questions You Should Ask

Hiring & Recruitment

For many growing businesses with annual revenue under $50 million, hiring a marketing coordinator/manager/director can be a challenge. If it’s a first-time position for the company, it can be an uncomfortable step in the growth process.

Here’s why:

  • At this level, the company is typically looking for a multi-tasker; a combination manager and doer;
  • Many companies don’t have a clear understanding of what “marketing” means to them;
  • As a company grows, marketing has been a task handled by the owner or another employee;
  • Systems and metrics for accountability and results are often non-existent or inconsistently used.

To help, we are sharing some lessons learned.

Below are suggested questions to ask in your hiring process and the reasons for them.

Our goal is to help you be more comfortable in your hiring process and to help you be more focused on finding the right person for your team.

Podcast episode on this topic

So Warm-Up Questions:

Who has inspired you in your field?

Getting folks to talk about themselves is an easy way to make them more comfortable.

How do you stay inspired and up to date?

This will help you learn more about their professional curiosity. Are they independently curious? Is this important to them? Their answers should be important to you because marketing trends change with the demands of prospective audiences. Knowing what is working this year, as compared to five or ten years ago can sometimes be the difference between good and great results.

What do you think of our brand?

You’re really looking to see if they have done their homework. Have they researched your company at all? Be listening for signs that the candidate has done more than read the job description.

How do you work with people that have different opinions than yours?

Marketing professionals are often the bridge between many of a company’s departments or employees. Talking with product engineers or installers one moment, salespeople or management the next is a regular, daily occurrence. A professional who is comfortable talking about your business or goals with others who have different perspectives is important.

Some Deeper Questions:

Once you’ve had a chance to get to know your prospect a bit better, it’s time to move on to understanding their depth of understanding and skill when it comes to marketing, advertising, and sales.

They may not get the answers completely right. Because good marketing comes from a great understanding of the business and its competitive advantages in the industry. But even without your insider knowledge, good marking principles will be easy to spot. And someone who is confident in the role will be able to give general answers that highlight their understanding of your business issues and how marketing can help.

What do you think sets our company apart from our competitors?

Here, you want to look for:

  • Some deeper insight into their opinion of your company
  • Do they recognize who the competition is? Do they understand your industry?

Who do you think our target customer is and how do we help them?

Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, individuals make purchasing decisions. A great marketing person will understand that and hopefully, you’ll get an answer that sounds a bit like, “Decision-makers at businesses like X.”

Pro-tip: In today’s tight workforce environment, hopefully, they also say your employees! Keeping employees informed and engaged is a great way to keep, well, employees~

What do you think our marketing mix and budget should be?

It really doesn’t matter what the mix is, what matters most is that the candidate asks a follow-up question about what the intent is? Asking questions for clarity, intent, and additional details is an important task for employees today.

As in, a marketing mix for customer recruitment, for customer retention, for workforce recruitment? Or if they answer with those different segments in mind, that would also work. (i.e. “Well, for customer recruitment, I would really focus on digital advertising with some local tv and radio. I think social media would be important for workforce recruitment and I would love to see a monthly email newsletter to keep current customers engaged and aware of all our products.”) 

When it comes to the budget, the answer may be really different than what you are thinking. But it’s important that it be reasonable for a company your size. One million dollars for a 15-person accounting firm in Northern Maine would be a bit silly. But it might make perfect sense for a statewide car dealership.

Have you ever participated in a marketing campaign that failed? Why do you think it failed and what did you learn from it?

Here’s where you find out if they are good at self-assessment? Are they confident enough to own a failure without being a failure? Do they learn from past mistakes?

Tell me something new you’ve learned recently and how you applied it?

Here, since they are supposed to be the expert, you want to look for:

  • Are they sharing something new and exciting? Or something established by used in a whole new way?
  • Did the application of the idea seem well-considered and planned? Great marketing comes from planned strategy, not just luck.

Do you have experience working with sales teams?

This question might be as much for you as it is for them. You don’t want marketing to be on an island. And you don’t want sales to be removed from the marketing activity. Having a sales and marketing team work together is key in today’s world of consumer research and quest for answers and information. Noone knows what questions are being asked in the sales process better than your front-line folks.

How do you manage your day?

One of the most challenging components of work-life today is juggling priorities, deadlines, routines, and new demands. Again, keep in mind that the goal of this question is not to find the “right” answer but to see if they follow a system to keep themselves organized and work well-managed.

Here To Help

Hopefully, these questions help you find the perfect candidate.

Let us know if we can be helpful in any other way — we are always willing to help strategize. If you are looking for insight on any potential finalists, let us know. We are happy to review and add an objective point of view.