Going through the hiring process is hard enough for traditional advertising fields. Getting the right candidate is crucial and can make or break entire departments. The process is even more difficult for a rapidly evolving and growing field like paid media, a field that demands specific skills and abilities that aren’t often easily reflected in a candidate’s degree. So: how should you do it?

At Go Local Interactive, we pride ourselves in finding the best talent in and around the Kansas City metropolitan area, both in paid media and throughout digital marketing channels. But our methods aren’t magic. We’ve been able to staff and grow our team through hard work, planning, and repeatable hiring processes. So how do we do it?

Interviews are a core part of our hiring process, as they are for most companies. We use a variety of questions to not only determine skill but company fit and overall personality profile. However, these three questions form the core of how we determine who is a good paid media fit.

What is your typical approach to writing ad copy, and why is it effective?

In the film Apollo 13, NASA must figure out a way to literally fit a square peg into a round hole in order to properly filter the astronauts’ air. The problem is not necessarily that it is impossible to make that happen, but that it was extraordinarily difficult to do so with the limited supplies the astronauts had on board.

Writing effective ad copy is hard. But writing well with constraints is even harder. Paid media professionals must construct ads with tight character requirements, making their point succinctly, clearly, and interestingly. With limited “supplies,” it is vital that paid media professionals know how to work within those limitations.

It may seem that, since ad copy is so short, it isn’t as big of a deal as other tasks related to posting an ad. But, paradoxically, it actually means that writing ad copy – and how that writing process happens – is even more important.

At Go Local, we’ve found that successful paid media professionals not only have a specific, personal approach to writing ad copy but also have an idea why they do so and why it is effective. Great candidates understand their role and how to constantly innovate. After all, potential customers are bombarded with ads all the time. There is no room for copy that doesn’t do its job.

What is the ideal relationship between the pre- and post-click experience of a user?

On its surface, paid media is about constructing ads, monitoring their performance, and managing campaigns on a higher level. But the end goal of ads is not to get someone to click on the ad. Rather, the purpose of ads is to lead to conversion.

Thinking about ads and paid media in this more holistic way isn’t just a nice thing to do; rather, it’s what separates the good candidates from the great ones. Drilling down further to ask questions like “What types of things should a user see within the pre-click experience vs. the post-click experience?” to get specifics is important as well.

In Ginny Redish’s book Letting Go of the Words, she argues that navigating the internet isn’t like navigating a file cabinet of information. Instead, it’s more like having a conversation with someone. Paid media professionals that have this mindset, even if they don’t describe it in that specific way, will succeed. A paid media professional could write the greatest ad of all time, but if the post-click experience is divergent and disjointed from the ad, conversions aren’t going to happen.

What is the biggest mistake you have made in your paid media career, and what did you learn from it? 

There is a somewhat pervasive notion as a candidate to never show weakness or mistakes. Anyone who has ever interviewed and received a question about one’s greatest strength and weakness can attest to the mild existential terror that can ensue if you’re not sure how to answer the question at that moment. And employers can spend endless time attempting to ferret out a client’s weaknesses or to determine what mistakes they are likely to make.

The reality is that everyone has weaknesses and makes mistakes because humans tend to do both those things in abundance. To try and find the Platonic ideal of a candidate is both impossible and a waste of time for both employer and interviewee.

But weaknesses and mistakes are extraordinary teaching tools. Acknowledging mistakes is a vital part of professional life, and you can either be a professional who learns from your mistakes and gets better or a professional who doesn’t. Who would you rather hire?

It’s relatively common to ask about mistakes, but focusing the question about a mistake within the candidate’s paid media career is what truly makes this question important. There are three reasons why that specificity helps the interviewer:

  • It forces them to focus on a relevant mistake and not skirt by on an irrelevant answer.
  • It is an opportunity to highlight paid media knowledge.
  • It helps highlight areas of interest and expertise.

After a candidate is hired, that now-employee will make a mistake. That much is guaranteed. What will that individual do after that mistake? How will they handle it?

These are the questions that matter, not whether or not a candidate will make a mistake in the first place.

Your Hiring Should Be as Deliberate As Your Campaigns

Any paid media professional worth their salt knows that trotting out the same campaign for every client isn’t going to work. So why would your hiring experience for a paid media position be the same as for an accountant? Ultimately, your hiring process should be as deliberate as your campaigns. Every position is different, and every business is different. Lean into your uniqueness and make sure you are asking optimal questions.

Go Local Interactive works closely with our partners to provide them the best-paid media solutions possible. We also offer web development, SEO, local perceptions, and content services. If you would like to learn more, please visit our website.

If you’re interested in a career in digital marketing then be sure to check out the PPC Hero Job Board and the Paid Media Intern role at Go Local Interactive.


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