How To Interview a Job Candidate in a Style Fit for a Content Marketer

Once upon a time, you had a gap in your content material advertising and marketing crew.

Combing via the resumes, you winnowed the pile to a half dozen potential unicorns who ought to know the right way to craft content material that grabs (and retains) your viewers’s consideration whereas protecting the model’s objectives high of thoughts.

On the appointed day, you clicked on the video convention hyperlink and, up popped one of many finalists. Of course, you requested a bunch of questions. After all, you had been trying for solutions.

But there could also be higher interviewing methods for a content material advertising and marketing emptiness than bombarding candidates with questions.

Bombarding candidates with questions may not be the best interview technique for #content marketers, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

My recommendation? Don’t ask them any questions.

Yes, you learn that proper – cease with the questions. Kick the Q-and-A format to the curb.

Instead, flip it into a storytelling train and provides story prompts to the candidates.

Why? You can assess their means to weave collectively a story. Given you wish to rent somebody to inform tales about your model, their means to inform tales about themselves offers you a nice understanding of their expertise (or lack thereof) that their resume can’t.

Storytelling additionally means that you can higher distinguish one candidate from one other. After all, two candidates might regurgitate the identical years of expertise and the identical titles held, however once they inform their experiences as a story, you’ll keep in mind their variations. Why? It’s science. People keep in mind tales. People neglect information and stats.

A Stamford University study accomplished a long time in the past requested college students to memorize 12 phrases. Half studied the checklist for two minutes. The different half turned the phrases into a artistic narrative. Almost all (93%) of the scholars who advised a story recalled the phrases. Only 13% of those that studied the checklist may do the identical.

More not too long ago, Make It Stick authors Chip and Dan Heath additionally did an experiment at Stamford. They requested college students to offer a one-minute speech about violent crime. Students used a mean of two.5 statistics in their speeches – solely 5% of the viewers may recall any statistic. One in 10 college students advised a story – 63% of the viewers may keep in mind the tales.

(And sure, I see the irony in utilizing statistics to assist make my level on the ability of storytelling.)

But you most likely didn’t want these numbers to understand the ability of tales. Just take into consideration the final time you interviewed candidates for a content material advertising and marketing position. You neatly scheduled all of them in a single day. By 5 p.m., those who stood out most likely weren’t the candidates who spouted perfunctory information and figures. You can’t recall – with out studying your notes – who wrote weekly newsletters or who did a every day weblog. No, the memorable candidates advised a story (or tales) you could possibly simply recall and join with their faces.

Content marketers tell stories around the brand. Job candidates for #ContentMarketing should be able to tell stories about their professional experiences, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Ask no questions, and also you’ll get greater than information

While what you wish to study from a candidate might differ primarily based on the position, firm, tradition, and many others., you should use these tricks to customise the inspiration for your interviews.

First, pull collectively a checklist of verbs that elicit tales. Some of my favorites embrace:

  • Tell me …
  • Describe …
  • Explain …
  • Demonstrate …
  • Spell out …

(Use “spell out” when the candidate cuts their story brief or doesn’t flesh out the mandatory particulars.)

Now, it takes a little apply to make use of energetic voice in declarative sentences in interviews. To provide help to get began, think about these prompts (and alter for the position as vital) for some typical “questions” in your subsequent interview for a new content material advertising and marketing crew member.

Instead of questions, use declarative prompts with verbs that elicit stories, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Scenario 1

Don’t ask: What did you do at your final firm?

Prompt a story: Tell me about while you joined your final employer and the way that led to the place you’re in the present day.

This immediate takes the candidate away from regurgitating their resume and into a house of reflection. As they go from the start to the center to the top (or their present standing), you’ll be able to uncover how they view their development, altering duties, and another takeaways from the job expertise.

You additionally will study what they most wish to spotlight – what they prioritize. Do they focus extra on the method or the outcomes? Do they go too deep into the small print or not sufficient? Are they circumspect and insightful, or do they take a just-the-facts method?

Scenario 2

Don’t ask: How do you develop story concepts? or How do you method your writing?

Prompt a story: Walk me via the method – from thought to manufacturing – of making the final article you wrote.

Nebulous questions in regards to the artistic course of can lead candidates to wax philosophically or converse in generalities. The immediate can elicit a extra concrete response as a result of they may discuss a current expertise. You can find out how they view their position in the artistic course of and perceive the opposite roles with whom they work.

Scenario 3

Don’t ask: How do you deal with suggestions?

Prompt a story: Describe a time while you obtained suggestions that you simply didn’t agree with.

If you ask the suggestions query, you’ll discover that each candidate appreciates suggestions as a result of it helps them ship higher work in the longer term. It’s a non-starter query, sort of just like the basic interview query – what’s your greatest weak spot? Any candidate price their salt will flip their “weakness” into a energy.

Using this immediate once more permits for specificity. More importantly, it helps you to see how the individual handles a unfavorable scenario. Did they converse up and share their disagreement with the suggestions giver? Did they clarify why or why not? (In some instances, it may not be price addressing the distinction in opinion as a result of the boss would react poorly.) What occurred in the top?

Scenario 4

Don’t ask: We supply each distant and in-office work environments. Which do you like?

Prompt a story: Explain what a great work setting seems prefer to you.

Candidates need the job supply – even when they later flip it down. So they may give the reply that finest correlates with the corporate’s office setting.

The immediate offers a higher glimpse into how effectively they may match into your organization’s tradition. The particulars in their story spotlight what’s most vital to them – location, individuals, versatile schedule, and many others.

Be a good listener too

Don’t neglect that a good viewers additionally motivates good storytelling. Listen actively. React nonverbally – head nodding and smiles encourage the storyteller to proceed – and verbally – recap or repeat a level from their story to share how that may work at your organization.

Of course, chances are you’ll discover a candidate who tells a story that goes on and on. First, mentally notice how effectively they perceive the viewers and storytelling function. Then, interrupt once they pause to maneuver the story alongside by saying one thing like, “Oh, that’s really interesting. Tell me how it ended up.”

With these story-prompt interviewing methods, you’ll be able to accomplish two issues without delay. First, you’ll study in regards to the candidate’s expertise and perception as you’d in a conventional question-and-answer interview. But you’ll additionally uncover if they’ve that hidden unicorn horn – they’ll inform good tales that at all times preserve their enterprise function (i.e., getting the job) in thoughts.

If you’re hiring, ship the small print of your open place to [email protected], and we’ll add it to our Content Marketing Job Listings web page.


Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute