The Best Questions at a Social Media Interview
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So you want to get into the social media and digital marketing field right? Unfortunately, first, you need to go through the dreaded interview process. While there are a ton of resources when it comes to asking potential candidates the best social media questions, why aren't there more resources for the person applying? Furthermore, the social media field is insanely competitive, which means that you need to make sure you are as prepared as possible.
There are a ton of things you can do before the interview itself, including making a Google Doc with the companies history, why you think you would be a good fit, things there social media could change to become even better, and many more topics. What we are going to focus on in this blog post are the questions you can ask your interviewer that will not only impress the individual, but will allow you insight into the dynamics of the company and whether or not you would want to work there. Remember, an interview is a two-way street, which means you should have the confidence to understand that you are valuable and many other companies may be an even better fit for you.
Without further ado, here are some questions (no particular order) you can ask your potential employer...
Would you say that you were happy with the previous social media managers work?
This question helps you understand the previous relationships within the company and any changes in strategy that they are hoping to implement. It's possible the previous social media manager left on a good note, which means that the company may want to continue with the same social media philosophy that the previous person had. Maybe it was a disaster, which means they are looking for someone that is really going to mix things up. This question will also help you understand your interviewer better and their personal feelings regarding the previous manager. Many times, your interviewer is going to be someone that you will be working directly with. Always keep this in mind and take mental notes on whether or not you think you would work well with the individual.
What are the main KPIs or metrics that the company cares the most about?
Social media is in need of more analytically minded individuals, so immediately showing that you care about this side of social media is really advantageous for you. Asking about KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will give you insight into the general philosophy of the board or upper management. Are they more into vanity metrics, such as followers? Are they a product based company that cares solely about sales? Are there overall expectations regarding social media performance skewed? This is such an important question to ask because it could prevent you from getting behind the 8-Ball and joining a company that is going to set you up for failure.
Is there currently an advertising budget?
Social media is organic in nature, but a lot of platforms are really trying to change that. Facebook is becoming more of a pay-to-play platform, which means that in order for your business posts to be seen by a large number of people, you many times need to invest money. If a company invests money into social media advertising then you know that the business is investing in your field. You also know that this is a field of social media that you will need to know a lot about, so be prepared. What if they don't have any budget whatsoever? That is totally fine, as long as their expectations aren't skewed and they understand that creating a completely organic social media is rewarding, but takes time. One last note, if they utilize their budget to "buy" followers or engage in greyhat behaviors then this is also a sign and you need to think long and hard about whether you want to work with them.
Is there currently a strategy in place for sharing and organizing photography or imagery?
So what does this mean exactly? Basically, is there a process for getting content to you, as a social media manager, or are you tasked with finding the imagery yourself? Many companies will have a Google Drive where a graphic designer will share photography with you, resulting in you freely posting to social media. Other companies will task you with creating quote images or even finding curated images on your own, which means more work for you. Neither method is bad, but it's important to know whether or not you should also have an understanding of graphic design programs like Adobe Illustrator and/or Canva. This question can also help you understand the level of communication within the company. If there is a graphic designer, yet there were issues with the social media manager accessing photos, then the company may have some negative relationships that could impact you.
Is there an emphasis on generating more press and influencer relationships?
Many companies are looking to get as big as possible, as quickly as possible. This means that you could be tasked with a lot of influencer outreach. What does this mean? This means that you won't just be posting on social media, but you will be attempting to find influential individuals that could share your content or review your products. You may also be working for a company that deals with a lot of PR work and has press releases. While you more than likely won't be asked to create the press releases yourself, you would still need to have a basic understanding of how they work and most importantly how you are going to share them on social media.
If the companies social media was a human, what would that human look and behave like?
This question will show off your forward thinking and creativity. You are already thinking about the brand voice and how you would utilize it on social media. You are also exhibiting that you are a creative individual. This is a must ask question at any social media job interview.
What programs or applications does the social media department currently utilize?
If you are going to become part of a business, you need to know what their social media philosophy is. Are they all about "growth-hacks" and gaining followers in an unethical way? Or are they all about organic engagement and creating relationships? If a company states that they use tons of follow/unfollow programs then that is a sign that they are more focused on increasing vanity metrics at a fast pace, which is a bad sign when it comes to the more organic philosophy. It should be noted that not all programs are bad though and it really depends on the platform. If a company utilizes Co-Schedule in order to create a content calendar and integrate blog posts then that is very different than a company that runs a follow/unfollow campaign on Instagram that likes and follows 500 accounts a day.
What is your favorite part about your company and job?
Frankly, this is a question that should be asked at every interview, no matter what field. Low-level interrogating your interviewer is a wonderful way to flip the power dynamic and find out more about the company. If the individual has trouble coming up with things they like about their company then that is a telling sign about what you could be getting into. Also look out for the value of their responses. If the person says that they love aspects more related to HR, then that points to a company that takes care of their employees and has more structure in place. If they say the business allows them to flourish individually and really take on projects then that is a great sign that you will be empowered to figure things out and create real positive change.
What is the level of inclusivity within the company itself?
This may be a question you don't care about, but for many people, it's important to know whether or not they will feel comfortable in their new job. If you desire a workplace that is inclusive and diverse then this is a question that should be asked at all times. Furthermore, many companies will appreciate your progressiveness and intent to work for a company that cares about all people, no matter what gender or color.
In the end, interviews are naturally going to cause some nervousness, but if you go in prepared and ready to ask questions then you will find yourself more powerful than ever. Is it necessary to ask all of these questions? No, and frankly there are even more questions out there that are really great also, but it is important to engage in the interview process and not sit back. Just remember, you are of value and this job should want you just as much as you want this job. Financial burdens may force you to take a job you aren't entirely excited about, but if you have the means really try to gain an understanding of the company you are applying to and whether or not you would be happy there.