Hiring Questions for Content & Social Managers

The hiring process can be a drag. If you’re wondering how to manage the continuous growing pains of your ever-expanding business, or are scratching your head about how to hire the right people for the right clients, you’ve come to the right place, because that’s exactly what we’re discussing today!

Hiring is very similar to looking for clues to discover your customers’ buyer intent. You do so by observing their behaviors and interests on your websites or meeting them on the trade show floors, or even at different touch points.

You send or share information or encourage them to engage with you so that you can get a glimpse of where they are at their buying stages, or sometimes you just need to get some information to know if they are even your target prospects.

You need to do the same when you interview candidates to work in your team. Asking the right questions will give you clues if a candidate is a right fit for your company and your team.

Many companies do personality tests or conduct panel interviews. These formats are fine, but I firmly believe the best way is to have an in-person, one-on-one interview.

During a 1:1 interview, you can ask many questions to get a sense of who they are and how they may perform at their jobs.

Content planning and writing are essential skills for content marketers and social media managers. The quality of writing and ability to write can give you a sense that they are interested in writing by asking some seemingly unrelated background questions.

Background Questions

  • When you were in high school or college, did you ever participate in a yearbook or the school newspaper?

People that have been a part of the yearbook or newspaper in school are accustomed to creating relevancy out of mostly mundane content. They typically also learn the value of deadlines early and carry the skills into the workplace.

  • What clubs were you an active participant in during high school or college?

You are looking for clubs that require regular interaction and solving complex problems. Chess, VICA, Band, and Photography are all very good clubs that attract great potential content managers.

  • Have you ever held an unpaid leadership position for a shared interest group?

It’s important to locate leaders and taskmasters. Leaders in unpaid positions know what it takes to “Herd Cats” and drive hard to meet deadlines.

  • In your previous or current roles, did you participate in activity planning?

A person that has helped plan parties, recognize birthdays, and organize happy hours is usually a good candidate. Also, anyone who takes lots of pictures at events (look out for them at events for recruitment) can smoothly transition to the content manager.

Interest Questions

You are looking for hobbies that demonstrate curiosity about the world around them. Photography, reading, and political causes are all very good interests for people we classify as “seekers.” Seekers are generally very interested in the details of an issue and can create meaning from the mundane.

  • What are the top 3 blogs/publications/creators you read/watch?

The blogs/publications/creators should represent content marketing industry tactics, general interest blogs with a compelling spin, or something representing exploration. This question should be answered quickly as the right candidate regularly knows what they read. National Geographic, Vice, Juxtapose, and Reddit are mainstays for seekers.

  • If I were visiting your hometown, what 3 restaurants would you recommend?

Seekers make specific recommendations about exploration and deliver answers with passion. Food is a great common interest of people, and great content marketers explore and recommend only the best.

  • What are your 3 favorite TV shows?

This is a culture and a tactical question. Depending on what type of writing skills you are looking for. Sorry sitcoms, but seekers generally don’t watch television with laugh tracks. Look for people that like current events, non-fiction, or dramas.

  • What is the favorite place you have visited and why?

Travel is typically a big part of a seeker’s life. If the answer is short, this is probably not an appropriate candidate.

  • Name something you would like to do before you die.

The right content marketer will probably have a hard time naming one thing. After he or she has thought about it for a few seconds, put the question into context and ask about the top 3 things on his or her list. If the candidate articulates bucket list items with passion, voice inflection, and imagination, the interviewee could be a good fit. Seekers usually pause before answering as if they are imagining themselves accomplishing the event.

Screening Questions

These questions can be sent to applicants to help determine if they’re worth pursuing further.

  • In your opinion, what is the best way to measure results in content marketing?

You’re not looking for one answer but how they answer the question. This is a trick question because measuring results is largely based on what the purpose is in the first place. If they attempt to level-set and ask additional questions about goals, you potentially have someone you can work with.

  • Can you articulate how your going to add value to the team? (Purposefully misspelled – “your” to test if they will catch it and mention it)

Details, details, details. A majority of all content marketing is still written. If they cannot make mistake-free content at a high frequency, you might be hiring two people. One for ideas, and another to execute ideas flawlessly.

  • How far in advance should a working content calendar be finalized?

This question will reveal their project management methods. Content calendars should be finalized weeks in advance of publishing.

It’s generally true that if a person applies personal interests to his job, he will enjoy his role more and is likely to be a much more productive team member. Determining these areas of interest in advance will help you predict whether or not a prospective hire will find joy in the role and give it 110%.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you use a cookie-cutter version of this hiring survey; additional questions need to be added to tailor your version appropriately, especially if you are interviewing for specific marketing roles, such as data scientists, data analysts, marketing strategists, and more. However, the checklist above is a great starting point, and I’d definitely recommend using any/all questions you see as a good fit.

What questions do you ask when hiring content marketing managers, and what kinds of slightly unorthodox questions might you consider folding in now that you’ve read my question? I’d love to hear about it, so let me know in the comments or on social media!

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