9 Questions To Ask Your Next SEO Before Hiring

So you just decided to upgrade your online marketing by hiring an SEO expert. Congratulations! Now you are definitely thinking like a pro, ready to give your competitors a run for their money. Talent can be difficult to find. Good talent can seem nearly impossible, especially if you’re looking to hire an SEO or digital marketing professional where many can talk the talk but few are able to execute. Not only that, but with the number of growing job openings in the field, competition is fierce to grab good marketing professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Digital Marketing jobs are expected to increase more than 14% between 2014 and 2024.

While there are tons of digital marketing specialists out there , the fact is it can be very challenging to find the perfect one for the job. Sure it’s easy to welcome anyone to the team, but getting somebody who can actually take the team to the next level is an entirely different story.

It’s not enough that the resume of an online marketing professional looks impressive – he or she should also be able to walk the walk. You see, some applicants can be pure talk and no action.

When you do get a chance to hire an expert, how do you know he or she is really top notch? Here are nine questions you can ask applicants that separate the good talkers from the good talent. And while you might feel that you are ready to bring on that next rock star employee you might want to brush up on your SEO lingo as well as research what is Search Engine Optimization – SEO before scheduling a one-on-one interview.

interviewing an seo

Ready to start interviewing? Great! Before you say “I’ll see you on Monday” to that perfect candidate, make sure that you ask these 10 questions to find out if he or she really has what it takes to be a vital part of your online marketing:

What Do You Specialize In?

Just like what the old adage says: jack of all trades, master of none! See to it that the person you are eyeing is someone who is highly proficient in marketing and not just increasing traffic to your website in general. Basic, but tells a lot. You’re looking for someone to fill out that T-shaped marketer – we call them “general specialists” – someone who understands the breadth of all digital but has immense focus in one area. Pry them on their specialty. You’ll be able to see who’s really passionate.

Of course it’s a good idea for you to consider someone who knows a variety of different tactics, but it pays for you to focus on an individual whose specialty is SEO. The perfect person for the job is not someone who is just highly versed with SEO, but also very passionate about it.

What Can Your SEO Contribute?

Just because a person knows SEO well doesn’t mean that you just hit a goldmine.  .Before you decide to welcome the person to the team, make sure that you ask why his or her vast SEO knowledge can be beneficial for your business. If the person seems clueless, then it’s a good idea for you to allow the next applicant into the room.

Which Blogs Do You Read?

Since digital marketing and the world of online marketing are in constant change, you surely would want a new addition to the squad who is constantly trying to upgrade his or her knowledge of the industry.

It’s for this reason why you should ask the applicant which blogs he or she reads. How can you tell whether the SEO expert is not just telling you a list of blogs he or she just heard from a colleague? Ask which one of those has made a considerable impact on him or her and give the person time to give details.

Do You Tackle One Big Problem or Several Small Ones?

In this fast-paced world, it’s a good idea for any business owner to opt for employees who know how to multitask as it helps get things done in half the time. But still it depends on just how well-versed a person is in multitasking, and an SEO expert who knows how to multitask should know how to pay attention to details.

It’s something subjective – some employers prefer multitaskers, while others favor those who want to give every single issue their full attention. So before you ask the question, make sure that it’s something that you’ve already answered yourself.

What Steps Would You Take If Tasked to Build a Site?

Any professional should think critically before springing into action.  You’re looking for consultative here. They mention a few questions they would ask clients to understand the business goals. Bonus points if they ask you to clarify if it’s for a new or an existing website.

How Should Success be Measured?

If the individual who wants to work for you as an expert answers “rankings” to this question, then it’s perfectly fine for you to cut short the interview, stand up, shake his or her hands, and say “we will call you”.

While ranking high on search engine results page is definitely a plus, it is not the ultimate measurement of success. Just remember that you are manning a business, and its success can be measured by the amount of money it makes among many other things, and not just stellar rankings.

How Do You Scale SEO?

Different businesses differ from one another in terms of factors such as the size and budget. Most certainly, someone who is looking to be a part of your team as an SEO professional should be able to come up with strategies that flawlessly fit your venture to a T.

Ask the applicant to provide examples of online marketing strategies that can be scaled to many different clients – been in the industry for several years already or a relative newcomer, large-scale business venture or a small one, sky’s-the-limit type of budget.

In other words, the person should be able to come up with SEO approaches that perfectly suit your business based on its budget and other constraining factors.

How Do You Whip Up Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich?

No, this is not a test on how well the applicant seated before you can come up with a truly classic snack, but rather something that allows you to see just how detail-oriented he or she is.

If the person you are interviewing says that he or she will smear peanut butter on one slice of bread and jelly on the other and then press them together, it’s quite evident that he or she is not someone who does a detailed job.

It’s a different story if the applicant mentions which type of peanut butter and jelly he or she will use and how much of each one will be spread on the bread.  You’re looking for detail here. If they just slap the bacon, lettuce, and tomato between two slices, they’re probably not great at details. If they launch into a 3-minute explanation that leaves your mouth watering, you’ve got a detail-oriented person on your hands.

Can You Tell Me a Story for One and a Half Minutes?

Just like question #8, this one is not really intended to test how well an online marketing expert can come up with a story that lasts for 90 seconds. What this is for is to test how well the individual can function under pressure.

Keeping your business ahead of everyone else’s is no picnic, and you surely would want to team up with someone who won’t fall apart when things suddenly end up frenzied. No, you don’t check how splendid the plot is or how engaging the characters are – observe if the person is still capable of talking comfortably despite of your rather odd question.

What is Your Favorite Website?

It’s not enough for the SEO hopeful you are interviewing to tell you the name of the website he or she is fond of. You will have to follow the question with “why?” It’s definitely a positive sign if the person before you starts to explain as to why he or she likes that website, giving you a blow-by-blow account.

You may also allow the individual to take a look at the current website of your business and then ask him or her which particular aspects of it is his or her favorite, and which are the not so good ones – and what he or she believe could be done to have those improved.

Make sure that you ask these 10 questions alongside the ones you have already prepared to make it so much easier to learn whether or not the SEO applicant is the right one to sign up.


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