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10 Questions for Social Media Candidates

Posted on 8.13.2013

:: By Kate Salyers, Your Social Status ::

With the proliferation of “smart devices” and the popularity of social media, there seem to be quite a few “experts” in the field. Companies are hiring full-time digital teams, which can include social media strategists, community managers, digital marketing managers, social media directors and more. As your company starts to build its social media and digital marketing team, what questions should you be asking in interviews to ensure that you’re hiring a true expert?

Question 1: Which social media or digital marketing blogs or news sources do you read on a daily basis?

Desired Response: On a daily basis I visit a combination of Web-focused publications. Reading on a daily basis is a must in this type of position because major changes literally happen over night to social media platforms, search engine algorithms, mobile apps, websites, “smart devices” and other social media and digital marketing tools. I’m always looking to learn as much as I can to stay ahead of the curve.

Question 2: Do you write your own social media and digital marketing content? If so, what is your creative process?

Desired Response: I prefer to write my own content for social media and digital marketing updates and campaigns, because I already have the end goal and strategy in mind. My creative process includes planning sessions, content reviews, the use of a social media content calendar, a posting tool if I’m posting to multiple sites per day. The content should all be guided by the strategy to ensure that the company is exceeding the set goals and expectations.

Question 3: Explain the difference between SEO and SEM.

Desired Response: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the placement of a website in natural, unpaid (organic) search engine results. Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that affects the placement of a website in the search engine page results through a combination of SEO and paid advertising tactics.

Question 4: Please explain what Facebook Edgerank is. Why is it so important to understand?

Desired Response: Facebook Edgerank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine if and where your posts show up in the news feed of your page and your followers’ pages. Affinity, weight and time decay are the three factors measured in Edgerank. Basically Facebook looks at the connection between you and the users (affinity), how engaging the post is with content, images, links or videos (weight) and how old the post is (time decay). This relationship is important to understand as it impacts how well your strategy will be implemented on the company Facebook page.

Question 5: We’re looking to get ahead of our competition. What tactics, tips or tricks will you use to give our company that edge?

Desired Response: I wouldn’t say that I use tricks in any social media or digital marketing strategy. I’m not a “black hat” marketer. I play by the common code of conduct for Internet marketing and like to conduct assessments, research and constantly adjust our content and strategy to generate the best performance. What will give a company an “edge” is being educated, trying new marketing techniques and managing your online reputation.

Question 6: How long have you been using social media sites for personal or business use? Can you provide some links?

Desired Response: I have been using social media sites professionally for about 5 years, but I have been using them personally for much longer. I’m more than happy to provide links to my previous work, marketing campaigns and personal social media accounts.

Question 7: Social media changes frequently. How do you evaluate new social media platforms or tools for effectiveness as well as whether or not they will be useful for the company or business that you’re working for?

Desired Response: As new social media platforms or tools come out, I sign up for a personal account. This helps me to become familiar with the site, how it works and how it could benefit the company. It also gives me insight into how the consumer/customer will be using it also. I also look at our competition to see whether or not they’re using that social media platform already. If they aren’t, there is an opening for us to be in the space first, leading the way.

Question 8: What is your definition of social media marketing and digital marketing? How does that relate to our company?

Desired Response: Social media marketing is the process of generating awareness, website traffic or new business through the use of social media sites. Digital marketing is a marketing process that brings leads and new business to a company through the use of digital channels such as email, social networks, smart phones and more. Often a misconception, internet marketing is a component of digital marketing. After conducting some basic research about your company, I can form an idea of how social media marketing and digital marketing could play a role and what the return might be. However, I’d like to conduct a full assessment before I tell you what role that will be.

Question 9: As a social media and digital marketing professional, which platforms or tools do you see as the up and coming sites that we should keep our eye on?

Desired Response: In 2013 social media has become all about engagement. With that, we should be looking to sites like Vine, Instagram, Pinterest and the new MySpace. We should also be constantly be looking at what’s new with Google, as their new products and features could benefit B2C companies. Of course, all of this should be consistent with the goals and approaches set out in our strategy.

Question 10: If we hire you, what is the first thing that you would do for the company in this position?

Desired Response: The first thing I would do is to meet with the team and determine what goals we want to set using social media and digital marketing. After that, I would conduct an assessment on the company and its competition to gauge where we are in the social media and digital marketing space.

These 10 questions might differ for you depending on the nature of your business and the intent of having these types of positions. No matter your end goal for hiring social media or digital marketing professionals, the principles remain the same. Understand the position and how it will work within your company. Interview candidates using tough, but fair questions that touch on various social media and digital marketing expertise. Hire for what you need.

About the Author: Kate Salyers is the CEO of Your Social Status, a social media and digital marketing strategy and training company based out of Dayton, Ohio. Her years of experience with developing social media and digital marketing strategies and training for Fortune 500 companies like 3M as well as smaller businesses like Towne Properties, has helped her approach social media and digital marketing with a unique perspective that caters to multiple industries and user types. She can be reached at

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