At some point in our careers, unless we own our business, offered a job from a close friend in the industry or decide to stick to jobs until retirement, we undergo being interviewed for a job. What does it take to get the job apart from clinging on to our SEO experience?
Here are some SEO interview tips that might just do the trick. Kidding aside, seriously it’s not a trick. And some of these tips are not only applicable for SEO interviews. It’s also for other job interviews.
Learn more about the company
Few things turn off employers or interviewers more than folks who turn up and know nothing what to say or to expect in an interview. If you’re interviewing for an SEO job in an agency, most probably, the web site of the company interviewing you can easily be found with a simple search on Google, Yahoo! or Live Search. Include the person interviewing you in your search.
Be direct to the point
Sometimes we want to be sure that we please our interviewer that even if s/he asks a simple question, we elaborate it too much. If a question is answerable by yes or no, then say yes or no, and wait for the “why” for a while.
Being honest to tell we don’t know what is the difference between cloaking and hidden text will impress the interviewer than us giving all sorts of off-tangent answers. Being honest in job interviews reveal humility, while the act of pretentiousness is interpreted as hypocrisy. It could be perceived as the way we handle clients, ie. giving an irrelevant answer to a totally different question.
Ask the right questions
Just because we’re told to ask questions, we have the liberty to ask anything we like. Ask questions related to the position (training, benefits, speaking opportunities or the SEO team we’ll be working with) or the company background and reserve personal questions when the interviewer invites you for a drink. Asking questions show we’re interested in the job that’s why we’d like to find out how we could fit into the organization.
Do your homework
Many questions could come as practical, work-related scenarios where sometimes it doesn’t matter if the answer we give is right or wrong, it’s how we formulate our reasoning and attack certain issues. For example you’re given a certain situation, how would you address if you found out that your previously recommended SEO method was flawed and get noticed by the client, who came to you to seek your explanation?
Review your resume
Just because we typed our own resume doesn’t mean we can answer all questions that can be derived from that two-page document. While the focus of the question lies on the most recent experiences we had, a little background check on previous jobs are likely. Think of questions like “How did you come across doing SEO when you’re were a freelance copywriter three years ago?”, “What made you switch careers from a promising junior executive job into search marketing?”.
Don’t put extraneous information on your CV
Sometimes, it is so tempting to put something we don’t know or have on our resume. While this can be classified as under “Be honest” it also deserves an extra emphasis. Don’t inflate your resume with job descriptions you haven’t actually executed or client you haven’t really worked with. Your resume represents you. After hundreds of rounds of interviews, your interviewers must be able to detect the slightest sign of inconsistency and begin to trap you with questions like “Oh, you worked at Four Fingers SEO firm, so you must know (a fictional character named) Bo Boomingdale, right?” And you nod half-heartedly. This triggers the interviewer to dig deeper into your troubled thoughts and eventually end up in embarrassment. Kiss the bid goodbye then.
Be prepared for surprises
It may be a lengthy SEO quiz. It may be a real-life client-vendor campaign dilemmas. It may be an SEO puzzle that doesn’t really have an answer. Or questions that have nothing to do with SEO at all. Be prepared for these possibilities. As SEO isn’t necessarily a rocket science, these surprises are good measurements into how creative candidates we can be and show how we react on different situations.