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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Job Interviews: Part 1
The marketing job interview is your chance to show off your skills to a potential employer, but if you don’t bring your ‘A game’, you will most likely need to keep searching. Part 1 of preparing is mastering your fit stores.
By JR BLASZEK
Congratulations! You networked like nobody’s business, wrote a killer resume and cover letter and just got offered a marketing job interview for your top choice in company! Now the real preparation begins. Everything you’ve done up to now was “pre-game”. The interview is where you really get to show your strengths when it matters (no pressure!).
Marketing interviews tend to be a grueling process full of different types of questions and situations. In an interview a marketer is usually looking for a few different characteristics in the candidates: leadership, creativity, teamwork, strategic thinking, and problem-solving abilities. In order to determine whether or not a candidate has what it takes, an interviewer will use a variety of interview questions. The first set of questions that you will encounter are what we call “fit questions”. These are the questions that test your ability to blend in with the culture of that particular company. The second set of questions that you will see are case-based questions. These are designed specifically to test your marketing acumen.
If you want to nail the marketing interview, you need to be sharp on both types of questions. Part 1 of this interview guide will help you polish your skills on the Fit Questions.
How to Impress During the Fit Interview
The fit portion of the interview is where you will see questions resembling the ones below:
“Tell me about a time when you led a team through a difficult project.”
“Tell me about a time when you solved a problem that nobody else could solve.”
“Tell me about a time when you failed and what you learned from it.”
As you can see, if you aren’t prepared for these types of questions, they can definitely catch you off guard. Here are some tips to ensure that you’re as prepared as possible for the fit portion of your interview.
Prepare Multiple Stories
Remember…there are only 5 or 6 traits that every marketer is looking for in a candidate. Among those are: leadership, problem-solving, creativity, and teamwork. The tricky part of an interview, however, is that you might be asked multiple questions that ask essentially the same thing. If you only have 1 good story on each trait, you will be struggling when the time comes to answer a similar question. A tactic that I always used was to create 3-4 stories for each type of question that I could get. That way I could pick and choose the answers that I wanted to give during an interview and not worry about similar questions later on.
Use CAR Format
Remember how in the resume we used ACR format? Well in interviews, you want to switch it up a bit and use CAR format (Context, Action, Results). The CAR format is a bit better for storytelling (unlike ACR which is better at grabbing attention).
Each story should begin with a context that stems from the question. The context should ground the interviewer in the situation so they clearly understand what you’re talking about. Next, you should have 3-5 unique action statements that show how you responded to the situation. Finally you should end with a clear, quantifiable result. Every story should have a good ending and you need to “close the deal” with you interviewer with your results.
Answer the Question
This seems pretty straightforward, but when it comes to actual interview time it is much harder than you’d realize. By the time you interview, you should have all of your CAR stories memorized. Just keep in mind that just because you rehearsed each story 100 times, doesn’t mean it’s going to answer the exact question that is being asked. When you are given an interview question, you need to take your time, internalize the question, choose the best story to answer that question, and fit your stories to answer the question. You might have an amazing leadership story that you want to tell, but if the question is about analytics you might want to save that story for later on.
Practice, practice, practice
It always feels a bit awkward preparing for an interview. But the reality is that it helps tremendously. When you have an interview coming up, you should practice that interview with real interview questions. You should ask your friends and/or family to help ask questions. They should time you. Each answer should be 2-3 minutes. You should never spend more than 4 minutes on a given question.
If you don’t have anybody to practice with, practice in front of a mirror – OUT LOUD. You want to physically speak your response multiple times. This way you get a good feel of your tempo, the inflection points in your voice, and any parts of the story that you may trip up on.
We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our Marketing Interview Guide. Make sure you stay tuned in for Part II – The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Cases.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to leave them below. Also, if you’re interested in some additional personalized help, sign up for a mock interview. We’ll get you on your way through your Fit Interview and into a great marketing job!