ConvergeDirect the marketing agency based out of New York has been rapidly expanding looking for additional resources to support their growing client base. I, Daniel Kamen, the SEO Manager in the New York City office has recently been interviewing candidates to fill an SEO Strategist role. After many interviews on both sides of the fence I have shaped my interviewing techniques to ensure I find exactly what I am looking for in a candidate.
As the employer the first question you need to ask yourself what role is this person going to play. It is one thing to write specific responsibilities on an ad on CareerBuilder, but is another to have a vision as how this person quantifiably have an impact to our organizations ROI. So the first step is to have a clear understanding of what you want this person to do rather than being told their is money to spend or from the top being told you need hire another person. Once you know this looking at resumes will be much easier.
Next you should make sure this person is bringing something to the table you do not currently have from your current employees or even yourself. Some strength that you can capitalize on as an agency and ensure that you utilize this persons strengths. Remember most people only have a few strengths and you must be able to see what these are.
Next you will have to decide what are the best questions to ask this candidate about their personality, logic based questions as well as SEO questions. Since this is a ‘Straight Talk SEO’ blog I will keep them towards SEO, which will give you a good understanding of the SEO strategist candidate you may be hiring shortly. Note, I think it is always a good idea to throw some curve balls at the candidate since it shows you how well they can think on their feet and proves their (or lack of) communication skills under pressure.
SEO Based Questions
I tend to save most of my SEO questions for round 2. Round 1 I ask them what they know and tell me about your knowledge and experience, but usually Round 2 is where I give the candidate an exam with some SEO questions where many of them can have multiple answers (just like Family Feud!).
What is the optimal page load time of a web page?
How does Google and Bing’s algorithm differ?
What’s the difference between a 301 redirect and a canonical redirect?
How do you setup a goal funnel using Google Analytics?
What are the 3 most important factors when creating a monthly presentation to show the client?
[Show them a webpage] Would you place a link on this page, Why or why not?
By having them write this in Microsoft Word you now have an additional item to compare the candidate amongst each other to see whose answers you like best.
If you feel like being very brave a second approach would be to give them a URL and tell the candidate you have 1 hour to give me a comprehensive analysis on this site and must present it to me as if I was the client. By doing this you test their actual experience knowing that they didn’t just read an article from SEOMOZ yesterday. Here you will also get another taste of the candidates presentation skills.