Cut Through Any Bull With These 8 SEO Job Interview Questions

The SEO job market is on fire lately!

Companies are investing more in SEO, and agencies of all sizes are scrambling to hire new SEO professionals.

I know I’ve spent a tons Recently interviewed candidates. Separating the good candidates from the bad can seem like a daunting task.

How do you make sure the person you hire will turn into a good SEO?

How do you differentiate BS artists from practitioners?

The secret lies in the interview questions you asked!

Here are eight interview questions I like to ask SEO job candidates.

doing an seo interview

When I interview SEO, I don’t ask the standard questions that you would find in your typical interview. Most of the standard interview questions bore me.

That doesn’t mean someone on my team doesn’t ask them (we still need to make sure you really know SEO), but once the candidate passes that stage, I’m going to take a different I like to take a point of view.

While many SEOs will ask very technical interview questions like “What is a canonical tag,” I have found that a slightly different approach works better.

Technical knowledge is great, but SEO trivia is easy to remember and easy to train.

If a candidate does not know how to use a specific SEO Tools I can show them in an hour, so it’s not worth asking questions like this during the interview.

I’ve found that most technical SEO questions are usually interviewers trying to show how smart they are rather than Measure applicant’s SEO knowledge,

A lot of SEO interviews are passed by by allowing the interviewer to talk about himself the entire time. I am not that interviewer. As much as I like to talk about myself, there is no time to do interviews.

Instead, I’d love to examine his approach to problem-solving as well as his thought process, client interaction skills, and general take on SEO.

You cannot train critical thinking as well as you can train SEO best practices.

But if I can find someone who thinks rationally, critically and logically, who knows the basics and has some technical skills, I can train them in other things.

best interview questions to ask seo candidates

1. Tell me about yourself. What are you looking for in your next role?

This is the first question I ask. It’s the one you’ve heard in every interview.

What am I paying the most attention to in this question? What the candidate thinks is important:

  • Do they talk about themselves personally? professionally?
  • Do they go through their work history correctly?
  • Do they read me like a checklist?

There’s no real wrong answer here – unless they make qualifying lessons like a checklist.

Talking about what they are looking for in their next role, I know immediately whether the role would be a good fit for that person, or if they would hate the role and are likely to leave soon.

I want to make sure that we are meeting not only our needs for the open position but also that the candidate will be happy and have room to grow. By doing this the turnover is reduced considerably.

2. Tell me about your biggest achievement in your last job.

This simple question is my favorite. This answer, most likely, will immediately make up my mind about the rest of the interview.

You’d be surprised how many people can’t answer this question.

Take a look at your average resume. Most people list what they were tasked or assigned to do, but they don’t tell you what they actually did in that role.

This is the candidate’s chance to brag – to tell me about their results:

  • What ideas did you come up with?
  • How did you make an impression on a customer? (If you’re coming from an agency, I’d rephrase it as “tell me you’ve made the biggest impact for a client.”)

I’ll ask a few follow-up questions about what the candidate lists, but it’s basically just a conversation about the work to make sure he was actually involved in doing it and find out that the person What role did it play?

Some great follow-up questions include: “How did you measure that success?” “What insight led to the idea for that project?” and “What was the biggest challenge in accomplishing this?”

3. Why SEO?

I would ask this question only if recruiting for any entry-level positions or if the candidate has less than a few years of experience.

I am curious why he chose this profession. What inspires them?

If you tell me “I want a job” or “it pays well” then you are not getting the job (or maybe paid well.)

4. Tell me about your personal projects, websites, blogs, side hustle, conferences, etc.

There are two reasons for this question:

  • I want to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. I’ve interviewed a few people who wanted to have full-time consulting with competing clients in addition to our full-time jobs.
  • I’m trying to find someone who doesn’t shut down their SEO thinking at 5 PM (That’s the main reason I ask this question.)

I want someone who has a passion for search and marketing and technology.

SEO is a job where you have to keep learning and growing, and I’ve found people with a passion for it will do it on their own. I’m looking for ambition here as well.

I do not care How That passion appears. you don’t need a blog or a side hustle or a personal website or speak at conferences,

bus passionand show me

5. Tell me something that most SEO professionals think is true that you think is BS (or, something you think is true that most SEO professionals think is BS).

This is my second favorite question to ask and one I usually reserve for the end. This is a great one. is a modified version of Peter Thiel (Which I personally am not a big fan of) Interview Questions.

I had to limit it to SEO or marketing, because people tended to get really political on it (flat earth, vaccines, elections, etc.).

While these are amusing answers, they are not really relevant to work and I don’t want to discuss them in that setting.

Having said that, if you go on a crazy tangent about something racist/sexist/radical, you can bet you’re not going to get a job offer.

This question helps a lot in evaluating the critical thinking skills of a candidate. I am looking to see how they react when they are put on the spot. (I guarantee that no one guessed this question and it will take time to answer.)

I’d like to see the candidate uncomfortable without a ready-made answer – because that’s how many client interactions go.

I also want to see candidates defend their answers as I am going to ask some follow-ups asking them to do so.

This is a great area to find out if they will “vibe” with your SEO philosophy. You can go into subdomains vs directories, or things like pet xml sitemap,

6. Given a random URL, let me know how you diagnose it for SEO issues. What is your first step?

I also sometimes substitute it for “walk me through your approach to doing keyword research” depending on the role and candidate.

For SEO-specific skills, I prefer to go open ended.

To this question, I’ll keep asking, “Then what? Then what?”

I want to see how their thought process works.

Not everyone is the same. Some will start with research or crawl; Others will start by understanding business goals; Others will take out their checklists. (You can earn bonus points if you refer any of my SEO tools.)

I’m not a fan of checklists.

Besides, I don’t want to hear, “I’ll play this instrument.” I want you to tell me what device you are using.

For senior level roles, I’ve often asked candidates to do some slides on how they would improve a random site.

This is never a client site (we don’t really ask for free work). It’s usually a brand site of any clothing brand that I’m wearing or interested in seeing in the background of their Zoom.

Or, if they tell me they play hockey it could be hockey equipment manufacturers etc.

If I want to rant about it, I’ll ask them to rate or something. It is always random.

7. Suppose the client wants to do this work. You think it’s a terrible idea and suggest something else instead. There is a meeting tomorrow for discussion. What’s your game plan for the meeting?

This is my favorite hypothetical question.

There is Its a correct answer. I am looking for a data-driven and actionable plan.

Sadly, many candidates instead give what I call an “ego response,” where they say something like “I’ll tell the client that I’m the expert and they should trust me,” or something like that. .

He is not the person I want to hire.

8. Do you have any questions for me?

Sometimes the best interview question is not to ask any questions but to let the candidate do it!

Its main goal is to give them more information about the job, ease their worries, and make sure they’re the right fit – but you can learn a very Based on the questions they ask you.

For example, if they immediately ask about raises and promotions, that’s a red flag telling me they may be a flight risk.

If you are interviewed this is a better way to ask the question: “What does success in this role look like for me?”

Often, candidates will ask a question about whether or not they have to do something they hate doing (such as metadata or reporting), and this can help gauge how they interact with teams. .

(Note: It doesn’t matter what level of SEO you are, you’ll do some “basic” SEO stuff from time to time.)

to sum up

The main goal of any interview is to determine the candidate’s skills, how loyal they will be to your company, and how well they fit in with the company culture and their future colleagues. With the right questions, you can ensure that the most qualified candidates move on to the next level of your recruitment process.

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Featured image: Fizzcase/Shutterstock

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