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SEO Specialist

Best interview questions for your hiring process

SEO Specialist Interview questions

SEO Specialists are essential members of the search engine optimisation (SEO) team, responsible for outlining the company’s SEO strategy and executing it with help of SEO Managers and Content Creators.

They should:

  • Have a deep understanding of SEO, including technical SEO
  • Be extremely data driven in their decision making
  • Have a highly analytical mindset
  • Know the technical side of how a website is build and how it can be improved for SEO purposes

SEO Specialists usually have to collaborate often with different departments, so great communication skills and teamwork are also essential skills to have.

Interviewing an SEO Specialist

Have you found a candidate to interview for the position? Great news! Then it’s time to start preparing for the actual job interview by creating a list of questions you want to ask the candidate. Below, you will find a list of SEO Specialist interview questions that will help you retrieve exactly the information you need from your candidate.

Please note: The interview questions you’ll find below are aimed at the earlier stages of the interview process. That’s why they might be a bit more general than the questions you might want to ask during a second or third interview.

How to open the job interview

Job interviews can be scary, no matter how experienced you might be. Unfortunately, the nerves that come with this fear can negatively affect the interview. A candidate may stutter and struggle for words because of it, even if they actually know the answer to the question.

As such, nerves can cause you to get a wrong impression of a candidate. That’s why we advise you to start the interview with a few easy opening questions to help break the ice and to make the candidate feel a bit more relaxed and at ease.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our SEO Specialist job description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

Why did you choose to become an SEO Specialist?

What do you love the most about being an SEO Specialist?

Behavioral Questions

Tell me about a time you saw a measure you took or a project you led have a real impact on the business. What did you do, and how did it deliver?

It’s always a good idea to include a question like this that allows the candidate to brag and showcase their best work. It also gives you an idea of their experience level.

Tell me about a time when you had to ask higher management for a bigger budget. How did you approach the situation?

As an SEO, you work with a lot of different (expensive) tools, plus a part of your job might also include link building. This all requires a big budget, and sometimes that means the SEO Specialist will have to request for a bigger budget than originally forecast.

Tell me about a time when a site you were monitoring/working on saw a huge drop or rise in rankings overnight. Describe your process of finding out the reason behind it.

The SEO Specialist constantly has to monitor site performance. If there is a large shift in traffic or rankings, they need to be able to quickly identify the source (e.g. a Google algorithm update) and report this to higher level management.

Soft Skills

Top-level management often wants to see results instantly, but with SEO this is simply impossible. How do you achieve getting buy-in from top management, even when results might take months?

SEO is a slow game, and not every stakeholder is equally understanding of this. See how the candidate will try to persuade them to be patient.

Are you comfortable explaining your SEO strategies in an easy-to-understand way to large groups or senior management?

Presentation skills are important for the role, as they will have to convince management to give the go-ahead and explain campaign results. As SEO Specialists, they will also have to present regularly to their own team.

How do you prioritise your tasks when dealing with a lot of different deadlines?

The life of an SEO Specialist can be busy and packed with a tight schedule, from standard monitoring tasks to firefighting when a part of the site goes down. Find out how the candidate prioritises their time.

Hard Skills

Which SEO tools do you have experience working with (e.g. Screaming Frog or SEMrush)?

 Practical question to get an idea of their experience with industry tools.

How experienced are you in link building?

Link building is a much sought after subfield of SEO. Knowing that the candidate has experiencing in this can give them a competitive edge over other candidates.

How would you perform a site audit? Run me through your process.

An SEO Specialist should have a clear and structured process in place to perform a solid site audit.

Operational / Situational Questions

Imagine you notice the latest Google algorithm update has hit your website incredibly hard, with the loss of rankings for almost all of your major keywords. What do you do?

The candidate should be able to remain calm, come up with alternative solutions, and present his findings to the team and higher management as quickly as possible.

Imagine you notice a colleague is trying out black hat SEO techniques to more see if he can generate quicker results. What do you do?

Black hat SEO is generally considered to be unethical. How the candidate handles this situation will give you an idea of their moral compass.

Imagine you give a Content Writer a list of points to improve on a page they’ve created, but when you check it a week later, you notice they’ve only implemented half of your recommendations. How do you respond?

Content and SEO don’t always see eye to eye, especially if the person working in Content prefers visual, short, and engaging content (rather than a long-form and SEO optimised article). See how the candidate will deal with such an encounter at work.

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