It’s a Conversation, not an Interrogation!

So the other day, I was speaking with a long term and loyal candidate of mine. As always we were having our monthly catch up, when they started to tell me about an interview they had had the previous week.

“I don’t think it went well” he started off with.  “It’s not easy for a me as the candidate to sit in an interview profusely sweating and trying desperately not to appear too nervous about this marketing automation account managermarketing automation account manager role I so badly wanted, with the manager staring right into my soul, whilst he fired questions at me, like he was trying to empty a machine gun….

Of course I was sympathetic and asked him to explain further…..and here is what he said:

I went for a marketing automation account manager role and quite frankly I know my stuff, so I was feeling rather confident. I had prepped and done my research on the company, but naturally was feeling a bit nervous.  The minute I walked in, I felt like the hiring manager was gunning for me. He sat just across from me, and within the first few seconds let loose on the rapid fire of questions! Not even giving me chance to fully answer before moving on to the next question…..

Point 1: It’s all about time

Without doubt hiring managers are pushed for time. Their day is spent in back to back meetings, dealing with problems and issues, and sometimes what feels like totally pointless interviews.  But it is only fair that each applicant should be treated individually:

  • Settle the applicant first before you begin grilling them
  • Give the candidate time to answer each question fully without interruption
  • Let them speak openly, without judgement
  • Invite further comment, if they give short answers. For example, ask them to describe their experience of Eloqua or Marketo consultancy skills
  • Remember nerves are not always a demonstration of lack of skills, and sometimes nerves can make us forget the simplest of things. So, if you’re not happy with the first answer, come back to it later
  • If the applicant says something that sparks your interest, write it down, and come back to it later rather than interrupt their flow

He went on….

Since I had done the prep, I knew how best to sell myself. But I don’t feel like the hiring manager brought the best out in me, because each time I was considering the answer to a question, he interrupted or asked me another question. We were clearly getting frustrated with one another, and ended up with awkward silences.”

Point 2: Silence is okay 

It’s human nature to want to fill silences with chat, but silence doesn’t meant a lack of understanding. Silence often can be thinking time, so when interviewing it is important to allow each applicant space to consider their answers:

  • Give the applicant space to consider your questions, without interruption
  • Check body language during silences for discomfort, which could demonstrate a lack of understanding. If need be rephrase the question to clarify your meaning
  • If the response wasn’t in line with expectations, invite a further response for example “Give me an example of a time you worked on solving a complex problem within your last Marketing Automation role?”
  • Don’t forget that silences can also serve a much bigger purpose.  In there is a lack of knowledge or skill, by jumping in to fill the silence, you could inadvertently cover it up for them

Finally, he said….

I’ll tell you one thing, I couldn’t get out of the interview fast enough. I felt terrible, and one things for sure, I don’t think I would want to interview with them again.”

Point 3: Before and After the interview

It’s important you understand that from the moment the interview starts, that you’re in control. Your role is to guide the interview in the right direction and get the best from the applicant:

  • As a Marketing Automation hiring manager, you’re aware of the essential skills and qualifications required for the role, whether it’s Eloqua, Exacttarget, Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Marketo. Create a simple list of questions around the candidates experience and skills
  • Remember to give the candidate time to answer questions and provide constructive counter questions to gain more detailed information
  • Refer back to your notes, to analyse how the interview went. Can you envision this person working for your company, as a Marketing Automation Consultant? Were their Eloqua or Marketo skills strong enough? Where could they be best used within the company or the team? How was their attitude? Did you make them feel comfortable and did you feel you got to know them?And last but definitely not least!
  • It’s very important the candidate doesn’t walk away from the interview with a negative impression of you or the company. Each person that interviews with you, is speaking to other potential applicants, and negative news travels far and wide and extremely quickly!!

For advice on how to effectively recruit and interview for your marketing automation team, contact us now. Happy Recruiting!

Resource On Demand (ROD) is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Agency. They were founded in 2007 and are highly respected across the entire Salesforce ecosystem. Their specialist areas of recruitment include; Salesforce (SFDC); digital marketing and marketing automation technologies, which include Eloqua, Marketo, ExactTarget and Pardot; Human Capital Management (HCM) technologies such as Workday and SAP HCM and SuccessFactors. For more information contact ROD on or on 020 8123 7769.