(She may be right, but she’s also very biased.)

Do you have what it takes to be a great digital marketer? Are you sure you can even get hired? This post, primarily for the world’s aspiring digital marketers, will help answer these questions by giving insight into the Web Talent Marketing interview. Whether a candidate, an agency, or a company building an in-house team, this quick read will prove beneficial, as finding exceptional digital marketers is one of the greatest challenges facing businesses in 2015.

Make mom proud…be prepared to answer or ask the following questions:

1) “Talk about your passion for digital marketing.”

Every good Web Talent interview begins with this one as I am looking to get to the heart of the matter quickly. Renowned German Philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, said it best when he said, “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” Passion is the fuel that drives a digital marketer to promote a linkable asset to ONE MORE journalist or to test ONE MORE tactic that was learned while reading ONE MORE case study. If the candidate is not noticeably excited upon hearing this question, I know I have at least ONE MORE candidate to meet as that interview is probably over.

2) “What do you read?”

This quickly determines whether the “passion” expressed during question #1 is more than a feeling (thanks Boston). Get ready for it as I have a big announcement…drumroll…changes in digital marketing happen almost daily! Okay, you knew this and so did I but what you may not realize is that these changes aren’t learned by the candidate that is “active on social media.” Serious sites such as searchengineland.com, adage.com, and the MOZ Blog are required readings for the truly passionate and hirable digital marketer. For Web Talent Marketing candidates, I suggest spending some quality time on this page. “A lot of things”, “blogs”, and “I don’t read much” are just a few examples of the last words spoken from aspiring digital marketers.

3) “If I sold you a Purple Elephant, what would you do with it?”

JUST KIDDING. I don’t ask that one…anymore. But, seriously, I strongly recommend being prepared to answer (or ask) a question that exposes the candidates’ creative thinking abilities. After all, coming up with creative marketing ideas that will drive sales and/or leads IS what the good digital marketing agency gets paid to do. Correct?

4) “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Definitely the most cliché of this group, chances are you’ve answered this one in a recent interview, regardless of industry. But specifically for the digital marketing industry, here is why I ask. Great marketers are “climbers” in the most positive sense…driven, hard working, goal-oriented, and competitive, etc. They have great vision, not only for themselves but also for their clients’ campaigns. We encourage an entrepreneurial mindset, as we want our team members to market a client’s business as if it were their own. Be certain, however, that all confidence is measured with realistic expectations and a grounded perception of self. In other words, don’t suggest you’ll be ready to run your own agency within a year. It’s complicated. Take time to learn from those around you, while working your butt off, and then amazing things will happen in the next five years!

5) What if I said that you aren’t ready for (insert company name here) Web Talent?

Certainly there are countless other questions that need to be asked between #4 and #5, but #5 is a strong way to conclude the interview as it provides a live, real-time recap of questions 1-4. Follow my thought process. Tell the candidate that he or she isn’t ready and I assure you, if there’s passion, it will come out. If there are other books, blogs, authors they have read it, they will share now. More than likely, though, this is an area that the interviewer can challenge the candidate to improve upon. I know I do this often (e.g. read Rand Fishkin, then tell me what you learned, and then tell me how passionate you are about learning more). As for #3, maybe the candidate is just not creative enough. As the iconic marketing message of the Marines said, “We’re looking for a Few Good Men.” Good marketers are few and far between and only a “few” will be hired! And finally, for #4, it’s possible that the candidate is not ready to be a part of a team as he or she may see themselves more as sole proprietors. Another possibility is they lack the “climber” mentality required to be a part of a digital marketing agency. On the other hand, maybe they are ready to be a great digital marketer. Asking this question will ensure the real answer is known.

To conclude and summarize the importance of proper talent identification, which is largely influenced by questions asked during the interview, I will share a portion of our vision statement.

“People are the most important asset of Web Talent Marketing. Current success and future growth are directly tied to our team members. Becoming a destination point for industry leading talent, we strive to foster an environment rich in collaboration, fueled by creativity, with a high level of accountability.”

I wish you the best of luck as you either look to grow your team or look to become one of those valued team members!