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Chief Marketing Officer

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Chief Marketing Officer Interview questions

Chief Marketing Officers are key to a business’ growth and brand reputation. Experts in different marketing channels and employer branding, they can take your employer branding to the next level and attract new customers or clients.

These are a few of the most important skills to look for in a Chief Marketing Officer:

  • Experience leading a business’ marketing strategy
  • Strong reporting and pitching skills
  • Budget management ability
  • Strong understanding of different channels such as PPC, SEO, PR, and offline marketing
  • Strong industry knowledge
  • Ability to create marketing calendars 

Interviewing a Chief Marketing Officer

When you are interviewing for a CMO position, a candidate must have a solid knowledge of different types of marketing channels and budget management. The candidate also needs to be sure that they can explain how they will onboard, oversee and help to train people on their team, especially if this is their first C-Level position. 

Therefore, having a number of questions prepared for a CMO role is critical. That’s why we’ve put together these example Chief Marketing Officer interview questions and answers, to ensure you’re making the right decision.

How to open the job interview

Even at such a senior level, the interview process can cause some nerves. However, making a candidate too uncomfortable can hinder your impression of your candidate. So, to combat this, why not open the interview with some laidback questions such as these:

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our Chief Marketing Officer job description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What do you enjoy most about working in marketing?

What do you enjoy about working at such a senior level?

Behavioral Questions

Name a time you changed the way a marketing team was structured, which had a positive impact on the team.

A CMO will often have to make big structural changes to ensure that the team is functioning to its full potential. This question will measure a candidate’s experience in this area.

Tell me about the most challenging decision you’ve had to make when leading a marketing strategy.

Overseeing an entire marketing strategy often involves challenging, rapid decisions. This question aims to decipher whether your potential CMO is up to the challenge.

Tell me about a time you had to break difficult news to a team; how did you do this?

When working at the board level, an individual has to deal with breaking both good and bad news. Here, you’ll know whether your CMO applicant is the right person for this.

Talk me through a time when a team hasn’t agreed with your strategic decision; what did you do?

As a leader, your CMO must be an expert in their area, and able to back up their decisions with facts and statistics, as well as take any concerns on board.

Soft Skills

How do you prioritise requests from multiple senior members of staff?

CMOs have a lot of responsibility, and many senior members of staff will turn to them for guidance. Knowing they can prioritise based on deadlines, ROI, and other factors is essential. 

What steps would you take if you noticed the marketing department seemed to be struggling with their motivation?

Here, you’re looking for instant and appropriate action. Low motivation levels are a critical symptom for a team and can lead to reduced employee retention, among other things. Here a candidate should communicate with their team, and set goals for improvement.

What skills do you have that are important as a Chief Marketing Officer?

Here, a candidate will name their relevant leadership and marketing skills, whether they’re soft skills or hard skills.

When explaining a technical part of the marketing strategy to those with less experience in the area, how do you ensure they’re understanding?

Communication skills are essential in a CMO. Here they should mention providing plenty of examples and time for questions, among other things.

Hard Skills

What is the largest department you have led? Were you comfortable with this?

Marketing teams vary in size from company to company and knowing your candidate’s experience will help you better assess their fit in your business.

Do you specialise in any area of marketing?

A CMO needs to have an all-around knowledge of all marketing channels, but they will often have a specialised area of knowledge. Here they may mention PR, SEO, PPC, or more.

Which marketing tools and systems have you worked with in the past?

This gives you a better understanding of how a candidate will fit into your team, and what new skills they will bring to the department.

Which people management systems have you had experience with?

Again, you will find out whether a candidate needs to be onboarded with any tools or if they can bring any new skills.

Do you have any experience with hiring and training a marketing team from scratch?

This will be especially relevant in a start-up or small business.

Operational / Situational Questions

If you were required to hire for a senior marketing role you didn’t have any hands-on experience in, how would you ensure you were making the right decision?

Here your CMO can mention researching the position, or bringing someone with more knowledge into the hiring process.

If you noticed that a certain marketing channel was not performing to expectations, how would you proceed?

Here, time is of the essence. Sitting down with relevant stakeholders, and drafting out a relevant action plan is essential.

When communicating with external stakeholders in regards to marketing, how do you ensure you keep confidential information safe?

A CMO should have tried and tested confidentiality techniques prepared that they can mention here.

If you were to join our team as a Chief Marketing Officer, what would your first steps be?

The CMO should spend some time familiarising themselves with current business strategies and practices, getting to know the team and their needs, as well as making introductions with other stakeholders.

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