For job interviews, as with dating, people are only too willing to offer unhelpful advice: be yourself, but not TOO MUCH; don’t spend the whole time complaining about your ex (partner / employer); don’t wear sweatpants.
I know little to nothing about the dating game (I once drunkenly brought a date back to my place then fell asleep fully clothed in my bathtub). However, fortunately for the sake of this blog, I do know a thing or two about digital marketing and what it takes to stand out in an interview. And being a humanitarian, I have taken the time to share some of my accumulated wisdom here:
Know your stuff and your people
On the face of things this probably seems obvious, but I never fail to be astonished by the sheer number of people who turn up for interviews unprepared (I once interviewed someone who didn’t know what SEO stood for, which is kind of a red flag in digital marketing).
Obviously if you’re relatively new to digital, you won’t be expected to display the same knowledge as someone with several years of experience. But if you’re going to be successful, you need to wow your interviewers.
There are plenty of excellent websites you can visit to keep you abreast of all the latest developments in digital marketing. Here are some of our favourites:
Also, given that you’re looking for a digital marketing job, it’s pretty much a certainty that the organisation you’re applying for will have their own blog, resource centre or equivalent. You should really check that out too: it’ll give you a useful glimpse into the topics they consider important, and a feel for the type of people who work there.
How and why are you interested in digital marketing?
Your interviewer will want to know why you’re applying for the job in the first place. Some people are more nervous in interviews than others, and that’s fine, but it’s important that you’re able to communicate your passion for a career in digital. If your interviewer is left with the feeling that this is just another job for you, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be making you an offer any time soon.
Of course, it’s difficult to explain why you’re so interested in the job if you don’t really understand the role in the first place. This feeds into the previous point about doing your research, and also the following piece of advice…
What do you consider to be good digital marketing?
A great way to stand out in an interview is to express your opinions on digital marketing and some of the key themes it involves. What’s the future of SEO? What’s more important, paid or organic? What’s one thing that brands are consistently bad at when it comes to digital?
Don’t be afraid to be a little outspoken here, as long as you can justify your point of view. Even if your interviewer doesn’t agree with you, they’ll certainly be more likely to remember you.
Be specific: Think actions and outcomes
Digital marketing (and any form of marketing, for that matter) is all about one thing: results. It matters not if you produce a series of beautiful creative content campaigns if the right people don’t see them and they end up providing little or no business benefit.
It’s important to show your interviewer that you understand this. If you’ve got prior digital experience, go into specifics: detail the projects you worked on, how they performed, and what this meant for the client. If you’re applying for your first role in digital, cite some examples from other jobs – it’s all about understanding your own value.
Our inspirational leader Guy Levine regularly talks about the importance of asking ourselves: “What’s the point?” If we’re working on a task (whether it’s for a client or something internal) and we can’t explain its purpose or expected outcome, chances are we probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Try to structure your interview answers with that in mind: tell your interviewer what you did, but most importantly, explain how it helped.
At Return, we’re always looking for ambitious, passionate and talented people to help us deliver results for our lovely clients. If that sounds like you, send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.