Matt Dodgson, founder of
, gives his insight on the best blend of interview questions to help you hire the right B2B marketer for your business
What’s the one type of question B2B marketing leaders would ask to assess someone’s marketing ability? A competency-based question. Yet, in the world of B2B marketing, there’s a flaw in relying on that type of question to assess someone’s attributes, and that could mean either
hiring the wrong candidate or missing out on the perfect one
In this blog, I’m going to explain why you shouldn’t rely on competency-based questions and offer up some alternatives to give you an excellent blend you can depend on.
What is a competency-based question?
Competency-based questions, according to Wikijob, are interview questions that require candidates to provide real-life examples as the basis of their answers. And there’s a considerable amount of sense in asking this type of question. Because if you think about it, past performance can predict future performance. They’re a great tool to assess the ability of the B2B marketer in front of you.
Examples could be:
Give me an example of a successful marketing campaign you ran – what did you do, why did you do it, and what were the results?
However, what if the person in front of you works for a company where ROI is difficult to measure? Maybe they don’t have the technology in place to be able to attribute leads easily. Or, their company’s sales cycle is incredibly long, so it’s difficult to look back and see what the initial conversion event was.
If that’s the case, it’s likely the candidate will give you an answer that’s vague and lacking in ROI. And the feedback we’d get in that scenario?
‘We like them, but they weren’t able to clearly articulate where they made an impact.’
So, is that the candidate’s fault, or the situation they found themselves in? Moreover, how do you know that the example that you’re being given isn’t somebody else’s work anyway?
Now, fortunately, my experience is that B2B marketers aren’t deceitful people. However, because marketers work close to each other and often on overlapping campaigns, taking credit for someone else’s success would be an easy mistake to make. And that’s why just relying on competency-based questions to assess a B2B marketer is flawed.
A blend of interview questions to ask
Using a broader blend of interview questions
will give you more opportunity to see the candidates real strengths.
And that could follow a pattern like this:
- Relationship questions
- Competency-based questions
- Behavioural questions
- Situational questions
- Questions for me
are there to break the ice and to settle the nerves of the candidate. They’re important because you want the candidate to feel relaxed, so you see their real personality in the interview.
How was your journey?
Where do you live?
How was your weekend?
like competency-based questions, ask for examples of your past but instead focus on your behaviour.
To be a successful B2B marketer you need to exhibit a variety of behaviours. These could include communication, conflict resolution, influencing, resilience, time management and patience.
Asking this type of question helps you understand how a candidate has previously reacted in certain situations.
Describe a stressful situation at work, how did you handle it?
Think back to the best manager you’ve had, how did they manage you to get the best out of you?
are questions that are based on scenarios that could happen in the role you’re looking to hire.
And for me, they’re probably the most underutilised question and yet arguably the most powerful.
- Test someone’s B2B marketing understanding – do they talk sense?
- Assess their mental agility – can they apply their knowledge to solve your problems?
- Weigh up whether someone can bridge an experience gap with their knowledge – it’s unlikely someone has done everything you need
If you got this role, what would you do in the first 30 days to set you up for success?
Based on what you know about what we do, what would you do to generate leads, and why?
If you were to run an account-based marketing campaign for us, what steps would you go through to bring it to life, and how would you define its success?
We’re not convinced our content marketing is getting traction. If you got this job, what would you do to understand if that was the case or not?
Questions for me
are literally questions that the candidate can ask you. Too often this is a throwaway comment at the end of an interview.
Yet they offer a couple of benefits. It allows you to discuss what’s important to the candidate in more detail. After all, you want to make sure they’re excited and motivated to join your business too. And based on the questions that they ask, it also gives you another opportunity to assess their ability and thinking.
For me, this section of the interview is a great way to differentiate yourself from all the other companies out there looking to hire marketers.
The best marketers want to know what’s in it for them. Typically, marketers don’t want to be joining a company where everything’s working smoothly, and all they need to do is replicate what’s been done previously. So keep everything on the table and be open and honest about the state of play.
In today’s job market, good B2B marketers are a premium. So making sure that you’re giving a candidate the best opportunity to impress you, is key to filling the role with the right person in as short a time as possible.