How to interview and hire for entry-level digital marketing positions – Search Engine Land

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Search Engine Land » Channel » SEO » How to interview and hire for entry-level digital marketing positions
It’s graduation season. For many college students, that means it’s time to get a job. 
There are plenty of open jobs in digital marketing – more than 20,000 jobs are listed for “digital media, entry-level” on LinkedIn right now. If your agency or brand is hiring, you can expect to get resumes from some of these college graduates.
This begs the question: what should you look for when hiring for entry-level digital marketing roles? What soft skills and hard skills matter? What questions should you ask? And are there any red flags should you watch for?
Here’s what to look for when hiring junior talent who may have little (if any) hands-on experience in digital marketing.
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Thriving in digital marketing doesn’t require a certain type of work or life experience.
Success comes down to the person – their aptitude and desire to show up and do the work.
I’ve hired English majors, chemical engineers, and everything in between. I’ve hired people from small universities, top five schools and those who didn’t get a degree.
Look for a candidate who demonstrates the ability to solve problems. You want to hire people who have done – and will do – the necessary work to succeed. Ask candidates to share examples of their experience and how they can relate that experience to the daily work your company does. Someone who can show you these elements is a strong candidate. 
Hard skills are the easiest to spot. Candidates who have invested time in certification in a tool or technology (e.g., Google, Facebook or Amazon ads) have already built a foundation for success in this space.
It is a good signal to me, as a hiring manager, when a candidate knows the language being spoken on a day-to-day basis. It will help get this person up to speed and running more quickly.
Soft skills are more valuable over time, but harder to determine from a resume or an interview.
When it comes to soft skills, I always tell candidates to think through the story they are trying to convey.
Candidates who can boil questions down in the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework should be considered seriously. Too many candidates fail to provide enough specifics when demonstrating their grasp of the question or the skills needed.
Keep expectations fairly simple when interviewing for junior positions. Nobody at this level has managed a Fortune 500 company’s ad budget. Experience in any kind of digital marketing work isn’t even necessary.
However, you should expect candidates to have a clear point of view and interest in digital marketing. Here are a few go-to questions to ask candidates and what to listen for in their answers:
You may have your own dealbreakers. Here are two for me:
Our industry is growing faster than our talent supply. Hopefully, the advice in this article is helpful if you’re hiring for entry-level positions.
Who knows. You might just hire someone who is about to begin an exciting and rewarding career path for the next 20+ years. Let the search begin!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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