Learn about the top 13 Interview questions that tech startups need to ask their digital marketing manager job candidates.

These interview questions are crucial because, in so many SaaS and similar IT startups, the founders have never before hired a digital marketing professional -- and often miss the mark on both strategy and tactical questions to judge the fit of the candidate for succeeding in this particular role at your company.

Digital Marketing Interview Questions

To gauge your candidate pool accurately, you must ask all potential digital marketing hires the same questions, in pretty much the same order. Even better, develop a scoring rubric for each question so you can objectively compare your job candidates:

  1. How do you create and refine your digital marketing strategy?
  2. What kinds of goals do you build your digital strategy around?
  3. Is most of your experience in B2B, B2C, or other contexts?
  4. What kind of experience do you have supporting eCommerce, product-led growth, or other frictionless purchase experiences?
  5. What kinds of sales teams and sales processes have you supported?
  6. Who is the favorite buyer persona you've ever marketed to? Why?
  7. Who is the least favorite buyer persona you've ever marketed to? Why?
  8. What kinds of content strategies have you used to achieve your business goals?
  9. How do you approach traffic generation?
  10. How do you approach lead generation?
  11. How do you approach sales cycle acceleration?
  12. What challenging sales and marketing alignment (smarketing) have you overcome?
  13. How do you measure your impact on revenue growth?

The Rationale Behind These Interview Questions

Now bear in mind: The role and responsibilities of a digital marketing manager in an early- to mid-stage tech startup, where this is your first full-time marketing hire, are very different than digital marketing specialists in mid-sized or enterprise companies.

Tech startup founders are generally very familiar with the idea of one person wearing “lots of hats” -- relative to a handful or more jobs in a bigger company. Your context and startup mindset must be top-of-mind as you interview digital marketing professionals.

Because I advise CEOs of small businesses, startups, and scaleups, I typically work with small marketing teams -- anywhere from zero to five full-time equivalents. In this context, it's crucial to recruit versatile candidates who are comfortable operating in extreme uncertainty, self-starters, and lifelong learners.

Especially for the marketing leader, that candidate must be obsessively focused on improving the customer experience (CX) and driving the right kinds of business growth that advance your startup towards product/market fit and accelerate the pace of reaching go-to-market fit.

Screening Your First Digital Marketing Manager Hire

For companies where the digital marketing executive will either be the entire team or lead a relatively small team (less than five full-time equivalents, plus some outside consultants, freelancers, and agencies), make sure the candidate is used to working in early-stage companies. 

This is a vastly different context than being hired to manage digital marketing in an enterprise company with 250 people, or even 5-10 people, in the marketing organization.

What’s your favorite interview question to ask candidates when hiring for a digital marketing manager role at a tech startup? Let me know in the comments section down below.

And if you're serious about using digital marketing as a major growth engine for your tech startup, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.

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