During a marketing job interview, you might be asked to demonstrate more book-smarts than creativity, depending on which of two definitions of “marketing” the company uses. Smaller companies often use “marketing” as a catchall word to refer to advertising, promotions and public relations. Larger companies include more research and number crunching in the definition.
Training and Education
One of the first questions you might be asked is to detail your marketing skills. This can include college courses, seminars, workshops and working under experienced managers. If you have no formal marketing education, impress trained marketers by citing one or more books you’ve read by Philip Kotler or Peter Drucker, who are considered the gurus of marketing. Volunteer your understanding of the differences among advertising, public relations and promotions.
Here’s your chance to show you not only talk the talk, but have walked the walked. When you list the positions and responsibilities you’ve held, link each one to one or more accomplishments. Ads you’ve created, promotions you’ve coordinated and events you’ve run all have a goal. Discuss how you increased website traffic, sales, new users or subscriptions and mention other tangible benefits you generated. If you have budget experience, highlight your successes in delivering projects on or under budget.
Let your interviewer know you already understand the company’s needs by showing you know who the company’s target customer is and how the business has developed its marketing messages to communicate a brand, or image. Visit trade association websites to learn the demographic profile of people who buy the company’s product or service. Look at the company’s website to determine what benefit the company is emphasizing. Be prepared for questions such as, “Who is our target audience?” and “What would you say our brand is?” Refer back to a print ad, website banner or promotion the company has used in the past to show you understand how the message related to the company’s brand. If the company has a slogan, bring it up and explain how you think it works for them.
During your interview, you might be asked to solve theoretical problems or address opportunities with different marketing strategies. This is your chance to shine creatively. You might be asked about which media choices you would use to advertise to the company’s target customer. You might be asked for ideas about supporting retailers who carry the company’s products. Be prepared to respond to a question about cause marketing, including what charities might make the best fit with the company’s target customer. Re-introduce samples of your previous work, even if you’ve already shown them, to reiterate how they helped solve a problem or create opportunities.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.