10 SEO experts share their favorite interview questions

Hiring is likely one of the hardest jobs you could have as a supervisor, crew builder and even coworker.

I’ve a definite reminiscence of hiring my first SEO worker at Uber over 5 years in the past. The search took months, and the stress to fill the headcount was overwhelming (lest it’s taken away). 

The truth of the matter is I simply take hiring with nice care. And it appears to be like like I’m not the one one.

One of the most well liked Twitter subjects this yr was when Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO and Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital, shared her favorite hiring query in the course of the Search Central NYC Meetup. 

Ray revealed that when interviewing potential staff, they requested them to elucidate the distinction between a couple of essential search engine processes: crawling, indexing, ranking and rendering

While the onus of hiring at first felt daunting, I now love figuring out and interviewing particular SEO expertise a few years later and have contributed to discovering a big portion of the SEO groups at Uber and Square. 

Hire the correct crew and I imagine you possibly can surmount any SEO problem. Hire the mistaken teammate, and the entire crew and morale undergo.  

So how do you weed out SEOs in a 30- to 60-minute interview and determine who’s all bark and no chew? What in the event that they’re extra of a snake oil salesman than a spider crawling knowledgeable? 

I requested a few of my favorite SEOs their favorite SEO interview questions. Find out the solutions beneath.

10 SEO interview questions to ask and why

1. “Have you executed this earlier than? How did you overcome the largest challenges?”

Kevin Indig, Former SEO Director at Shopify

Why Indig likes this SEO interview query

  • “You study extra about how the candidate approaches issues normally and the way they’ve dealt along with your particular subject up to now. Since you’re at all times hiring for a particular drawback, that’s one of the best ways to gauge whether or not a candidate is true for the job or not.”

2. “Imagine we needed to rank #1 for . What ought to we do?”

“…after which each time they reply say one thing alongside the traces of, “and what if that didn’t work? What would you do?” And see how lengthy they preserve going.” 

Tyler Reardon, Global SEO Lead at Chewy

Why Reardon likes this SEO interview query 

  • “I believe it’s helpful to see how persistent somebody is and the way deep their SEO data is. Quite a lot of good or unhealthy issues will come of this query. If they find yourself saying, “Well we don’t have sufficient hyperlinks” after you ask what else a few instances they’re in all probability not the correct candidate.” 

3. “You’re a merchandising machine restore specialist. You stroll right into a room and see a darkish merchandising machine. What’s the very first thing you do?”

Jamie Indigo, Senior Technical SEO, Deepcrawl

Why Indigo likes this SEO interview query 

  • “It walks by primary problem-solving. The best reply is, “I examine to see if it’s plugged in.” It reveals the flexibility to logically tackle a problem step-by-step.”

4. “How do you go about ensuring your suggestions get carried out?”

Areej AbuAli, Head of SEO, Papier / Founder, Tech SEO Women

Why AbuAli likes this SEO interview query 

  • “Even although this isn’t an SEO query per se, it’s one of the vital essential ones for me to ask. Simply giving out suggestions is simply the ‘first’ a part of our job, ensuring they get carried out is the ‘core’ of our job. This query helps me perceive how the candidate works cross-functionally, how they prioritize their suggestions, how they impart what must get executed and the way they work alongside completely different stakeholders within the group.”

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5. “How would you arrange an SEO take a look at?”

– (*10*), Sr. SEO Lead, Growth, Shopify

Why Lo likes this SEO interview query

  • “One of the largest classes I discovered throughout my time at TripAdvisor got here from our CEO Steve Kaufer, ‘If it’s price doing, it’s price measuring.’ If you’re simply doing issues, nobody will know in case your actions are contributing to the underside line. As SEOs, we want to have the ability to measure affect from our work and testing is a good matter to additional perceive their thought course of on establishing and measuring outcomes.” 

6. “Organic visitors is down – stroll me by how you’ll diagnose its trigger.”

Victor Pan, Head of Technical SEO, Hubspot

Then comply with up with:

“You checked x, y, and z and that wasn’t it – what else might it’s?” I preserve going till they hit the underside of the barrel. I need to understand how they reply to uncertainty. So I throw a touch e.g., “so I seen our rank confirmed Y, so the interviewee has an opportunity to react to new data. I get to grasp how they method issues (bonus factors in the event that they have a look at it in a different way from the crew).”

Why Pan likes this SEO interview query 

  • “You want to check onerous expertise in SEO, search for a candidate with a progress mindset, and this query additionally lets you problem them simply sufficient to carry out their finest self and need to work to study from you.”

7. “Describe a posh SEO problem you’ve encountered, and stroll me by step-by-step the way you approached making an attempt to resolve it, and why you selected the route you probably did.”

Kyle Faber, Founder and Head of SEO, Snark Digital

Why Kyle likes this SEO interview query 

“The cause I like this query is that it:
a. Gives me a primary sense of what they really feel is complicated and/or difficult and why.
b. Lets me see their thought course of on how they attempt to resolve issues.
c. Gives me insights into how they rationalize their selections.

At the top of the day, there are a number of methods to method a problem, so this query
– Gives me perception into whether or not or not they’re a strategic thinker.
– Can communicate to how they create processes for implementing their methods.
– And if they can again up their selections with credible reasoning.”

8. “Tell me a few mission that you simply’re significantly pleased with, why you’re pleased with it and what you discovered from the mission.” 

Niki Mosier, Director of Digital Marketing and Content, AgentSync

Why Mosier likes this SEO interview query

  • “I like this query as a result of it offers candidates a possibility to speak about one thing they’re actually pleased with and normally offers me a good suggestion of what forms of initiatives they get enthusiastic about. This query additionally permits us to dig deeper into what sorts of initiatives the candidate has had expertise with. It additionally offers me a superb sense of how they take possession of initiatives.”

9. “What’s a very powerful SEO initiative?”

– Eli Schwartz, Author, “Product Led SEO” / Former SEO Lead, SurveyMonkey

Why Schwartz likes this SEO interview query

  • “I really like this query as a result of it’s so obscure the reply forces the interviewer to elucidate and defend and thereby I get perception into what they’re considering and the way they suppose.”

And my private favorite query to ask when interviewing SEOs is…

10. “What was your most tough technical SEO mission and what was the enterprise affect?”

Why I like this SEO interview query
Assuming this position is a little bit senior, I count on them to:

  • Figure out methods to execute difficult technical SEO duties.
  • Understand what the enterprise affect was. 

Best case, I’ll selfishly study one thing attention-grabbing in the course of the interview about one thing I didn’t know was attainable. I’ll additionally study in the event that they perceive how to have a look at analytics, how they suppose by attribution and different essential expertise associated to being a part of a profitable SEO crew. 

Worst case, they’ll reveal that they don’t deal with the enterprise metrics or don’t perceive methods to inform the narrative of their enterprise affect, disqualifying them from a senior position within the group.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Jackie Chu is at present the SEO Intelligence Lead at Uber Technologies in San Francisco. She has deep expertise in B2B, B2C and on-line publishing, and has led SEO and ASO efforts each in-house and as a advisor for firms like Square, Dropbox and Yahoo. In addition to doing SEO, she loves losing cash at Barry’s Bootcamp, ingesting glowing wine and hanging out along with her mini Goldendoodle, Bailey.

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