10 search engine optimisation specialists share their favourite interview questions

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Hiring is without doubt one of the hardest jobs you’ve as a supervisor, workforce builder and even coworker.

I’ve a definite reminiscence of hiring my first search engine optimisation worker at Uber over 5 years in the past. The search took months, and the strain to fill the headcount was overwhelming (lest or not it’s taken away). 

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

One of many hottest Twitter subjects this 12 months was when Lily Ray, Senior Director, search engine optimisation and Head of Natural Analysis at Amsive Digital, shared her favourite hiring query in the course of the Search Central NYC Meetup. 

Ray revealed that when interviewing potential workers, they requested them to elucidate the distinction between just a few vital search engine processes: crawling, indexing, ranking and rendering

Whereas the onus of hiring at first felt daunting, I now love figuring out and interviewing particular search engine optimisation expertise a few years later and have contributed to discovering a big portion of the search engine optimisation groups at Uber and Sq.. 

Rent the proper workforce and I consider you may surmount any search engine optimisation problem. Rent the incorrect teammate, and the entire workforce and morale undergo.  

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

I requested a few of my favourite SEOs their favourite search engine optimisation interview questions. Discover out the solutions under.

10 search engine optimisation interview inquiries to ask and why

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

Kevin Indig, Former search engine optimisation Director at Shopify

Why Indig likes this search engine optimisation interview query

  • “You be taught extra about how the candidate approaches issues typically and the way they’ve dealt together with your particular difficulty prior to now. Because you’re all the time hiring for a selected downside, that’s the easiest way to gauge whether or not a candidate is true for the job or not.”

2. “Think about we wished to rank #1 for <insert key phrase>. What ought to we do?”

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

Tyler Reardon, World search engine optimisation Lead at Chewy

Why Reardon likes this search engine optimisation interview query 

  • “I believe it’s helpful to see how persistent somebody is and the way deep their search engine optimisation data is. A whole lot of good or unhealthy issues will come of this query. In the event that they find yourself saying, “Properly we don’t have sufficient hyperlinks” after you ask what else a few instances they’re in all probability not the proper 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 search engine optimisation, Deepcrawl

Why Indigo likes this search engine optimisation interview query 

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

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

Areej AbuAli, Head of search engine optimisation, Papier / Founder, Tech search engine optimisation Ladies

Why AbuAli likes this search engine optimisation interview query 

  • “Although this isn’t an search engine optimisation query per se, it’s one of the essential ones for me to ask. Merely giving out suggestions is simply the ‘first’ a part of our job, ensuring they get applied is the ‘core’ of our job. This query helps me perceive how the candidate works cross-functionally, how they prioritize their suggestions, how they convey what must get executed and the way they work alongside totally different stakeholders within the group.”

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5. “How would you arrange an search engine optimisation take a look at?”

Jackson Lo, Sr. search engine optimisation Lead, Development, Shopify

Why Lo likes this search engine optimisation interview query

  • “One of many greatest classes I realized throughout my time at TripAdvisor got here from our CEO Steve Kaufer, ‘If it’s price doing, it’s price measuring.’ For those who’re simply doing issues, nobody will know in case your actions are contributing to the underside line. As SEOs, we’d like 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. “Natural visitors is down – stroll me by means of how you’d diagnose its trigger.”

Victor Pan, Head of Technical search engine optimisation, Hubspot

Then comply with up with:

“You checked x, y, and z and that wasn’t it – what else may or not it’s?” I maintain going till they hit the underside of the barrel. I wish 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 info. I get to grasp how they strategy issues (bonus factors in the event that they have a look at it otherwise from the workforce).”

Why Pan likes this search engine optimisation interview query 

  • “You want to take a look at exhausting abilities in search engine optimisation, search for a candidate with a development mindset, and this query additionally lets you problem them simply sufficient to convey out their greatest self and wish to work to be taught from you.”

7. “Describe a posh search engine optimisation problem you’ve encountered, and stroll me by means of step-by-step the way you approached attempting to unravel it, and why you selected the route you probably did.”

Kyle Faber, Founder and Head of search engine optimisation, Snark Digital

Why Kyle likes this search engine optimisation interview query 

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

On the finish of the day, there are a number of methods to strategy a problem, so this query
– Provides 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’re able to again up their choices with credible reasoning.”

8. “Inform me a few challenge that you just’re significantly pleased with, why you’re pleased with it and what you realized from the challenge.” 

Niki Mosier, Director of Digital Advertising and marketing and Content material, AgentSync

Why Mosier likes this search engine optimisation interview query

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

9. “What’s a very powerful search engine optimisation initiative?”

– Eli Schwartz, Writer, “Product Led search engine optimisation” / Former search engine optimisation Lead, SurveyMonkey

Why Schwartz likes this search engine optimisation interview query

  • “I 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 pondering and the way they suppose.”

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

10. “What was your most troublesome technical search engine optimisation challenge and what was the enterprise affect?”

Why I like this search engine optimisation interview query
Assuming this function is slightly senior, I count on them to:

  • Determine learn how to execute difficult technical search engine optimisation duties.
  • Perceive what the enterprise affect was. 

Greatest case, I’ll selfishly be taught one thing attention-grabbing in the course of the interview about one thing I didn’t know was doable. I’ll additionally be taught in the event that they perceive how to have a look at analytics, how they suppose by means of attribution and different vital abilities associated to being a part of a profitable search engine optimisation workforce. 

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


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


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About The Writer

Jackie Chu is at the moment the search engine optimisation Intelligence Lead at Uber Applied sciences in San Francisco. She has deep expertise in B2B, B2C and on-line publishing, and has led search engine optimisation and ASO efforts each in-house and as a advisor for firms like Sq., Dropbox and Yahoo. Along with doing search engine optimisation, she loves losing cash at Barry’s Bootcamp, consuming glowing wine and hanging out together with her mini Goldendoodle, Bailey.



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