Welcome to part four of our Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Amazing Search Marketers series. Yesterday, Steve posted the phone interview portion of our hiring process series on PPC Hero, prior to that Jessica C. posted the job announcement and writing portion of the hiring process series on SEO Boy and Jessica N. posted the introduction to our hiring process on PPC Hero and SEO Boy. Today is part four, which features our meet and greet and in person interviews.
At this point in the hiring process, we’ve already narrowed down the pool pretty significantly. We generally have well over a hundred applicants and will invite anywhere from 15-20 to the meet and greet. This size group is nice because it gives each candidate the chance to connect with everyone. We are all active in the hiring process, and everyone’s opinion is taken into account. Since we don’t have time to allow every employee to interview every candidate (and really, what candidate wants to be interviewed by 15 different people?), we are all able to at least meet everyone, and help decide who will advance to the final interview. Likewise, it gives each of us the chance to get to know them. It’s also the perfect size to reserve a room at a restaurant or other venue without feeling overcrowded.
The meet and greet is the candidates’ time to shine. It’s a relaxed setting and we genuinely look forward to meeting everyone. A meet and greet offers candidates a chance to make an impression, discuss interests, and in general, just to be candid. If we’re on the fence about people, we bring them in to the meet and greet because it’s a lot easier to gauge a person’s personality in person. It’s a good buffer before the final interview, for one, because we are able to further narrow down the pool and, for two, sometimes we get some odd ones. We’re a laidback, down-to-earth group but there are some deal-breakers that, simply put, should not be done at a meet and greet, nor any other professional setting, casual as it may be. Conversely, the meet and greet also offers us the opportunity to show a glimpse of our personality; if the fit isn’t right, a candidate can bow out gracefully after the meet and greet, no harm no foul.
After a short presentation and a few hours of mingling with prospectives, the candidates leave and we all rank our top five, as well as the characteristics that led us to believe that they would be most valuable. We also have what I’ll call ‘Honorable Mentions’, in case someone had more than five candidates that they really liked. Our CEO and account supervisors will then sort through everyone’s selections and determine who has made it on to the final round. Generally, everyone’s top five is different although there are usually at least a few names that top the majority of rankings.
The final interviews take place at our office. Multiple team members are involved in the interview process for each candidate, which allows us to develop a balanced perception of how well the candidate will work with our team and within our industry. We ask around five pages of questions that range from general background, critical thinking, strategy, Internet knowledge and more. Our questions are followed up with a small internet quiz, which gauges the candidate’s internet know-how. Because of our unique, extensive training program, we’re able to hire people with little or no experience, train them, and allow them to manage clients once they are ready. Thus, we use our interviews to gauge interest in the field, ability and desire to learn, customer service, and many other aspects of the job that are not always possible to teach. Once the interviews are done, we send all of our feedback to the CEO who ultimately decides who to extend offers to. Offers are extended and the rest is history!
Don’t miss out! Tomorrow, part 5, the conclusion of our Behind the Curtain series will recap the entire hiring process. In case you missed the prior posts from this 5 part series, I’d encourage you to check them out. See part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Amy is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.