How to set digital marketing job interview tasks

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    • 6th February 2019

    Finding the right person for digital marketing jobs in Leeds can be tough. For one because there’s a lot of great talent in Leeds and for another because it can be hard to test true skills in digital marketing jobs.

    As creative recruitment consultants of Leeds, we frequently discuss the digital marketing challenges with both our talented candidates and esteemed clients. Based on this, here’s our thoughts on how to set digital marketing job interview tasks.


    Task Timing

    Most creative agencies in Leeds disagree on when and what tasks to set for digital marketing job interview tasks.

    Some agencies set an intense task before the first interview, which on the one hand can put off good candidates (as many don’t want to work for free without getting an introduction), on the other hand means an agency interview team have a lot of additional interview prep work to do.

    A more popular approach is to leave the interview task for a callback or second interview. This gives the candidate the chance to have met your agency and ask any important questions about the role before any work is done. It also means your interview team can select which candidates they want to review a task from rather than having to do it for everyone. More often than not a bad match can be identified within the first interview, so there’s no need to waste your and the candidates time on tasks.


    Task Length

    When it comes to the length of the task, remember the purpose of it. It’s to give you an insight into the potential of the candidate’s ability and to see if there’s a good overall fit.

    It’s not to get an entire campaign planned out for you.

    Keep the task short and to the point with the most important parts of the role featured in the task. A realistic interview task will be appreciated by the candidate and will help you to get your creative agency’s positive work culture across. 

    person working on website backend
    Don’t overdo the interview task

    Our top tip: Give candidates real life examples!

    When you do set an interview task, make sure it’s based on an existing client or within one of the industries that the candidate is most likely to be working in. This not only gives you control of matching the task with typical responsibilities of the role, but also gives the candidate a flavour of what to expect from the role.

    Never forget that an interview is a two-way street. You’re testing the candidate’s skills, but the candidate is also testing your agency to see if there’s a good match between you.


     Tips for setting digital marketing job interview tasks

    1. Define the task based on the digital marketing job

    In our previous article, What does a marketing manager do?, we highlighted the importance of defining the role. Both technical and creative digital marketing jobs get lumped together under the same keyword and while there are keys skills that overlap, you’re still looking for very different candidates. As such you’ll need different style tasks.

    Beware of generalising tasks across digital roles. If you have a task of there being one, instead of having a task that adds value to the interview process, then no interview task at all is the better route. We recommend creating a flexible framework that can be adapted to the digital marketing role.

    man in suit with laptop bag
    Who is a good match for the team?

    2. Keep the interview task open for creativity

    It’s very important to give the candidate direction with the interview task, so they can complete it to the best of their ability. But there’s also the danger of leading the task too much, and leaving no room for creativity.

    You’re looking for someone to compliment your team. By giving him or her some creative freedom too, you’re more likely to be wowed by a task if you provide some aspects that are open to interpretation.

     2.1 Make sure the big picture is in place

    While our top tip remains to set the task based on an existing client or typical responsibility, try not to overdo this by not providing a bigger picture to the task.

    The task, for example, could be to create a marketing campaign that uses content marketing to promote a fashion brands’ new collection. If when setting the task you only want to see content marketing options, then you may be restricting your candidates overall creativity. By all means have content marketing as the main tool, but ask the candidate to think about supporting marketing channels and ask them to highlight how these would support the campaign.

    It’s also helpful to offer some background information to the fashion brand. Maybe it’s had a campaign in the past that had a specific theme and you’re looking for a suitable follow-up campaign. The bigger picture is always helpful when creating a project brief.

    3. Define the problem or challenge clearly

    Regardless of the task being for a creative digital marketing job (we define this as being in content marketing, digital PR, social media or a combination of all of these skills) or a technical digital marketing role (such as PPC or web design roles), it’s vital that the problem is clear.

    We’ve mentioned the need for a fine balance between defining the task and leaving room for creativity, but you can’t expect a candidate to present a solution if the problem isn’t clearly defined. Our team have seen many interview tasks that are simply too vague which results in answers being equally vague and therefore unhelpful in truly assessing a candidate’s skills.

    This is why setting the task around the role and an existing client is beneficial. You can create a campaign based scenario for SEO (using content marketing tools etc.) or PPC to test how a candidate will handle a typical campaign within your creative agency.

    4. Test the task on your existing team

    Before you give a digital marketing job interview task to a candidate, test it out first. There’s no need to make your existing team complete the whole task. Rather get their opinion on how it’s set, phrased and ask them how they’d approach it.

    This will help you sense-check that the task is fit for purpose, but also shows you the variety of potential answers you might get. No answer is a wrong answer. It’s the thought process behind it that you want to use to test a candidate’s potential.

    two laptops back to back on a white desk
    Use your team as a task sound board

    How to set a digital marketing job interview task

    To summarise, the main things to remember when setting a digital marketing job interview task are:

    • Define the skills you want to test
    • Define the problem the task will solve
    • Keep it short (and respect your candidate’s time)
    • Leave room for creativity to shine through

    We also recommend discussing interview tasks with your creative recruiter, as our team at Gloss are very engaged with the Leeds digital marketing industry and can help match the task with what attracts top talent candidates.

    Depending on the role, some creative agencies in Leeds completely forgo the interview task for digital marketing jobs. The choice of task or no task really depends on your creative agency, your clients, your existing team and what you want to achieve with the assignment of a new team member.


     Have a browse of our blog for more digital marketing recruitment tips.

    Or have a look at our latest digital marketing jobs in Leeds on our job portal.

    If you’re looking for creative recruitment consultants in Leeds to help you find the next top talent to join your agency, call us on 0113 209 9788 or submit your vacancy directly on our website.