Marketing Job Interview Tips and Questions

While interview preparation is important for any interviewer, it's imperative for marketing job candidates. Marketing is the lifeblood of a company, so most marketing interviews are designed to make sure you're the right candidate for the job. Unlike career fields such as accounting, where one qualified job candidate is pretty much the same as the next, good marketers are a unique and rare breed. Marketers must understand the fundamental principles of good marketing, but they must also be creative, ambitious, strategizers, and have the ability to think and work outside of the box. Marketing interviews are designed to test a candidates knowledge of the marketing field and evaluate the personality traits that make a good marketer.

Before we get started, we recommend you first read the following three articles. They'll provide you a foundational knowledge that will prepare you for next job interview.

You really want to land the marketing job? Then you not only need to meet, but exceed, the interviewer's expectations. The best way to do this is by (1) showing quantifiable results you've achieved for previous employers and (2) demonstrating how you'll generate business for your prospective employer. Do these two things effectively and you'll have a big advantage over other job candidates.

Show Quantifiable Results
So you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Most marketing job candidates are adept at talking the talk, but few can walk the walk. If you want to set yourself apart from the competition, you need to show that you can walk the walk. You need to demonstrate how you've developed innovative, effective marketing solutions, that addressed real world problems, and generated measurable, quantifiable results.

Consider the answers below to the question "What is the most meaningful thing you've accomplished for your previous employer?"

Average Answer
As associate product manager at Procter & Gamble I assisted the senior product manager define and implement a brand marketing and product launch strategy for one of their most success women's shaving lines.

Best Answer
In 2001, I was hand picked by the Procter & Gamble Vice President of Sales North America to help one of the company's senior product managers define and implement the brand marketing and product launch strategy for Venus, a women's shaving line. The campaign we implemented for Venus generated over $1 billion in sales during its first three years and become one of P&G's top 3 international brands.

Need we say more?

Give the interviewer cold, hard, facts. Show them that you're not just another talker.

Show Them What You'll Do
Companies hire employees to grow revenues, lower costs, or in some other way increase profitability. Notwithstanding, hiring a new employee is a risk. There's no guarantee an investment in you is going to pay off. It's the job of the recruiter, hiring manager or interviewer to minimize the risk associated with hiring new employees by making sure the company only hires candidates they're extremely confident will payoff. Not only does the interviewer want to find a good candidate, they want to find the best candidate--the one they believe will provide the company the largest return on investment.

Your job is to convince the interviewer that you're not only a good investment, but you're the best investment. Now that you've shown them what you've done for your previous employer, show them what you'll do for them. The best way to do this is by providing the interviewer with actual marketing tactics that the company would benefit from implementing.

Consider the answers below to the question "Why should we hire you?"

Average Answer
I'm a good fit for the position. My 5 years of marketing experience with Procter & Gamble as a product manager uniquely qualify me for the position you're looking to fill. I have the knowledge, experience and ability to solve the problems you face and get the job done.

Best Answer
Based on my understanding of the position from previous conversation, you're looking for a marketer that can hit the ground running and make a meaningful contribution in a short amount of time. I also know that you're experiencing some problems with a new women's clothing line you just launched. During my 5 years as a product manager with Procter & Gamble I dealt with several troubled product launches. In fact, the first assignment I received was to turn around an unprofitable line of women's hair care products. I did so within 7 months. Not only can I hit the ground running but I have some ideas that I'm confident can get your new women's clothing line profitable by the end of the year. Please excuse me if this seem presumptuous, but I would recommend...

Show the interviewer that you're unique. But more importantly, show the interviewer you're ready and able to make a real contribution to their company.

Common Marketing Interview Questions and Answers
The following are common marketing job interview questions, along with suggestions on how to answer each question. We recommend reviewing each question, then coming up with your own answer using tips above, as well as those addressed in the articles referenced at the top of this page.

What types of marketing campaigns have you run in the past?

When answering questions about previous accomplishments, the key is to be specfic. Even though the question may seem like it merits a general response, interviewers want specific examples of campaigns you've run, you're exact role, and the results of the campaign. The following are example answers to this question.

Poor answer:
I've run several online marketing campaigns. At the previous company I worked with, it was my job to make sure our online marketing campaigns targeted the right consumer groups and stayed within budget. I also managed the entire online marketing process from start to finish for all departments, including concept design, implementation and results analysis. As online sales accounted for a large percentage of the company's revenues, our online marketing campaigns were vital to the success and profitability of the company.

The answer above says a lot, without saying anything useful at all. It tells the interviewer what you did, but doesn't tell the interviewer what, if anything, you accomplished.

Effective answer:
My primary responsible at ABC Company was to design, implement and monitor the effectiveness of all online marketing efforts. However, I was hired specifically because of my experience optimizing Google pay-per-click advertising campaigns. While I worked at ABC Company I managed 10 separate Google pay-per- click marketing campaigns aimed at increasing sales and brand recognition. Within three financial quarters from the time I took over, online sales increased 325%, our web traffic conversion rate increased from 5% to 9%, average purchase amount per consumer increased from $35.33 to $49.22, and our new customer acquisition cost dropped from $23.30 to $16.23.

How effectively can you work under tight budgetary constraints?

Even when the interviewer turns the discussion to the future, you need to bring it back to your past accomplishments. The best way to demonstrate how effectively you can address future issues is to show how successful you've been up until this point in your career. Consider the following two responses to this question.

Poor answer:
I'm able to work under just about any conditions as long as minimal funds are available to support marketing efforts.

The above response is reasonable, but not compelling.

Effective answer:
Between 2010 and 2013 I worked as the director of marketing for a startup. Funds were tight--and that's putting it mildly. Everything we did was on a shoe string budget. I became very adept at developing effective, low cost campaigns that employed various guerilla marketing tactics. On an almost inexistent budget I was able to develop several low cost lead generation strategies, viral marketing campaigns, and afilliate programs that boosted profits by over 300%."

Tell me about an marketing campaign you managed that did not succeed?

This is the marketer's version of the job interview question "Tell me about a time when you failed". This question isn't designed so much to see if you're a competent marketer as much as it is to see how you grow and learn from your mistakes. The key to answering this question effectively is to (1) maintain your composure and not get defensive, (2) share a time you failed using real numbers and analytical measurements as examples, and (3) explain what you did to make the campaign more successful.

For this question it isn't necessary to choose an example that shows your incompetence. In fact, we highly recommend you don't do that. Before the interview, identify a few instances where a marketing campaign or tactic didn't succeed the way you had planned or wanted it to, but that descent outcome. Always put a positive spin on your story--even if you didn't meet expectations.

Below is a list of additional questions you can expect to see during a marketing job interview. Take some time to review and answer each of the questions below using the tips and techniques we've present thus far. Preparing answers for each of these questions will help you prepare for your next marketing interview--and provide you the confidence you need to succeed.

  • What factors do you consider most important for influencing consumer behaviour?
  • What are the biggest factors a marketing manager faces today?
  • How do you define a successful marketin campaign?
  • What can you tell me about our target market?
  • What marketing strategies would you consider using for our products
  • Tell me about a time when you successfully changed a customer's mind

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