How To Interview a Job Candidate in a Type Match for a Content material Marketer

As soon as upon a time, you had a gap in your content material advertising workforce.

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

On the appointed day, you clicked on the video convention hyperlink and, up popped one of many finalists. In fact, you requested a bunch of questions. In any case, you had been searching for solutions.

However there could also be higher interviewing methods for a content material advertising 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.

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

As a substitute, flip it right into a storytelling train and provides story prompts to the candidates.

Why? You possibly can assess their skill to weave collectively a narrative. Given you wish to rent somebody to inform tales about your model, their skill to inform tales about themselves provides you an excellent 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. In any case, two candidates might regurgitate the identical years of expertise and the identical titles held, however after they inform their experiences as a narrative, you’ll keep in mind their variations. Why? It’s science. Individuals keep in mind tales. Individuals overlook details and stats.

A Stanford study executed a long time in the past requested college students to memorize 12 phrases. Half studied the listing for 2 minutes. The opposite half turned the phrases right into a inventive narrative. Virtually all (93%) of the scholars who instructed a narrative recalled the phrases. Solely 13% of those that studied the listing might do the identical.

Extra not too long ago, Make It Stick authors Chip and Dan Heath additionally did an experiment at Stanford. They requested college students to provide a one-minute speech about violent crime. College students used a median of two.5 statistics of their speeches – solely 5% of the viewers might recall any statistic. One in 10 college students instructed a narrative – 63% of the viewers might keep in mind the tales.

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

However you in all probability didn’t want these numbers to understand the facility of tales. Simply take into consideration the final time you interviewed candidates for a content material advertising function. You well scheduled all of them in a single day. By 5 p.m., those who stood out in all probability weren’t the candidates who spouted perfunctory details and figures. You possibly can’t recall – with out studying your notes – who wrote weekly newsletters or who did a each day weblog. No, the memorable candidates instructed a narrative (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 details

Whereas what you wish to study from a candidate might differ based mostly on the function, firm, tradition, and so on., you need to use these tricks to customise the inspiration to your interviews.

First, pull collectively an inventory of verbs that elicit tales. A few of my favorites embrace:

  • Inform me …
  • Describe …
  • Clarify …
  • Show …
  • Spell out …

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

Now, it takes just a little observe to make use of lively voice in declarative sentences in interviews. That will help you get began, take into account these prompts (and modify for the function as obligatory) for some typical “questions” in your subsequent interview for a brand new content material advertising workforce member.

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

Situation 1

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

Immediate a narrative: Inform me about while you joined your final employer and the way that led to the place you’re at the moment.

This immediate takes the candidate away from regurgitating their resume and into an area of reflection. As they go from the start to the center to the top (or their present standing), you may uncover how they view their progress, altering obligations, and some other 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 main points or not sufficient? Are they circumspect and insightful, or do they take a just-the-facts method?

Situation 2

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

Immediate a narrative: Stroll me by way of the method – from thought to manufacturing – of making the final article you wrote.

Nebulous questions in regards to the inventive course of can lead candidates to wax philosophically or communicate in generalities. The immediate can elicit a extra concrete response as a result of they may speak about a latest expertise. You possibly can find out how they view their function within the inventive course of and perceive the opposite roles with whom they work.

Situation 3

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

Immediate a narrative: Describe a time while you obtained suggestions that you just didn’t agree with.

Should you ask the suggestions query, you’ll discover that each candidate appreciates suggestions as a result of it helps them ship higher work sooner or later. It’s a non-starter query, sort of just like the basic interview query – what’s your largest weak point? Any candidate value their salt will flip their “weak point” right into a energy.

Utilizing this immediate once more permits for specificity. Extra importantly, it enables you to see how the individual handles a detrimental state of affairs. Did they communicate up and share their disagreement with the suggestions giver? Did they clarify why or why not? (In some circumstances, it won’t be value addressing the distinction in opinion as a result of the boss would react poorly.) What occurred in the long run?

Situation 4

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

Immediate a narrative: Clarify what an excellent work atmosphere appears prefer to you.

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

The immediate provides a greater glimpse into how properly they could match into your organization’s tradition. The main points of their story spotlight what’s most necessary to them – location, individuals, versatile schedule, and so on.

Be an excellent listener too

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

In fact, you might discover a candidate who tells a narrative that goes on and on. First, mentally observe how properly they perceive the viewers and storytelling function. Then, interrupt after they pause to maneuver the story alongside by saying one thing like, “Oh, that’s actually attention-grabbing. Inform me the way it ended up.”

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

Should you’re hiring, ship the main points of your open place to [email protected], and we’ll add it to our Content material Advertising and marketing Job Listings web page.


Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute