Part 2 of our series of interview stories from the guest speakers at brightonSEO…

This time we take the opportunity to report on the thought-provoking interview stories shared by digital marketing professionals working within a variety of Brands…

We continue to leverage our position as the preferred recruitment partner of brightonSEO to talk with the renowned speakers from the upcoming conference. Sparking a discussion with the awesome in-house professionals who are sharing their wisdom at next month’s event, we want to find out their secret interview stories!

#brightonSEO at the Brighton Centre
We here at clockworkTalent are the specialist recruitment partner to both brands and agencies, from small start-ups right up to global conglomerates. We love finding out what little nuances make each brand special, what makes the team tick and what their plans are for the future.

There is a noticeable difference between interviewing for a brand and interviewing for an agency; it’s important you do your due diligence before taking a seat at the interview table!

So, as to follow up from our previous post which revealed some genuine interview stories from leaders in SEO, this is a selection of stories from the perspective of a digital professional working in-house.

What’s the one Killer Question you love to ask when interviewing?

“What is your favourite programming language and why? Followed by: What would you change in that language if you were in charge? Why is that a killer question? The answers to this question reveal the level of programming and software engineering of a candidate like no other; I would suggest more than any programming test.”

Thomas Nowotny, Professor of Informatics – University of Sussex

“Killer questions for me is something really practical and something likely to be faced in the interview. So, for a PPC professional it would be – “You come in the morning and conversion volume from the previous day has dropped for no apparent reason. Site is working fine. What stages do you go through to find out what happened?””

Anu Adegbola, Global PPC Specialist & Speaker – ZPG Plc

“One of these 3: – What’s the last web analytics book or blog you have read? – Name me a thought leader in web analytics? – What’s your definition of web analytics? If they answer wrong, they fail the interview.”

Alban Gerome, Data & CX Technology Manager – Barclays

What’s the most out-of-the-box question you’ve been asked at an interview?

Why are there 2 escalators going up and only 1 going down in a metro station?

Thomas Petit, Growth Team Member – 8fit

I’ve been quite lucky in not having too random questions. The worst has been “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time”. My most random reply – Freelancing.”

Anu Adegbola, Global PPC Specialist & Speaker – ZPG Plc

I was interviewing once for a web developer role and I was thrown into an extreme programming experience, commonly called XP. XP means one computer for two developers and when you would finish your coding by writing the test plan in XP you start with the test plan and only then you start coding. It’s a very different way of coding I was and still am very unfamiliar with and I failed the interview.

Alban Gerome, Data & CX Technology Manager – Barclays

What’s your most memorable interview story?

My most memorable interview story is the “no interview”. When I was in the late stages of finishing my PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Leipzig I came across a job advert for a postdoc position at the University of California, San Diego. This a leading University in the world but I decided to apply anyway. To my great surprise, I soon received an email from the director of the institute stating “when can you start?” – I suggested a date, booked a ticket and never looked back. I stayed for 5 years. It was a great success both for me and my mentors there.”

Thomas Nowotny, Professor of Informatics – University of Sussex

Just over 10 years ago, I was a web developer for a marketing agency in Bath. I saw a job description for an account manager role with what we would call now a conversion rate optimisation vendor. They only wanted someone with front-end web development experience but also client-facing experience and… fluent English, French, German and Spanish if memory serves. I had the web development experience, I am fluent in 3 of the 4 languages they wanted I do not speak much Spanish and no client-facing experience either. I did not apply. About 2 months later a recruitment company calls me out of the blue for that same crazy unicorn role. I was invited for an interview and was offered the role shortly after leaving the building. After walking in random directions whilst on the phone I suddenly had no idea where I was or how to get back to Paddington Station. I was going to move to London. My manager told me later he had interviewed 50 candidates for the role, I was the only one who he has offered the role to.”

Alban Gerome, Data & CX Technology Manager – Barclays

“It was with two people and it was a good cop/bad cop scenario. The questions were hard and I down right would answer to some questions “I don’t know” (I don’t remember what the questions were though – unless would have used for previous question). After the end of it I was so flustered, and I definitely wasn’t interested in the role anymore. However, my recruitment agent called me a few moments later and they wanted me for a second interview! I said “no!”.”

Anu Adegbola, Global PPC Specialist & Speaker – ZPG Plc

It’s interesting to see the difference in interview questions between brands and agencies; where random, out-of-the-box questions are more likely to be asked in an agency environment.

We ensure all our candidates are fully prepared for an interview, so they’re not surprised by any questions they may face!

Thank you to these incredible in-house Digital leaders who answered our questions, we cannot wait to enjoy your talks at brightonSEO next month!

There’s even more like this to come. Keep an eye on our blog and social media channels to discover more quotes from the speakers at this April’s brightonSEO.

Do you have any fascinating stories about interviewing for or with a brand? Let us know! Leave a comment below and we’ll collate some of the best for a future blog!