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How to Have the Best SEO Interview of your Career

David Law

Thu, 22 Aug, 2019

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

You’re motivated, you’re pumped, you’re ready to go. But are you, really, as prepared as you can be? If getting this job matters to you, you need to give the right first impression— put your best foot forward, as they say.


So how do you go about it? Of course, your technical skill and know-how matter. Proficiency in the technical aspects of the job is key to standing out from the crowd and showing the company what you have to offer.


But, if you don’t back all that technical skill with a good presentation, your interview will probably go south. You might lose that dream job you’ve been pining after. And we don’t want that!


For you to succeed, you need to follow a few simple principles and prepare to answer some specific questions. We’ll walk you through it.


1. Know how to communicate your experience effectively.


All the impressive tech skills in the world won’t help you out if you don’t know how to communicate your expertise. Put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes— they want to hire the best person for the job. That means not just great-looking qualifications but also concrete experience in the field and, of course, soft skills. 


How do you communicate effectively? When you answer the interviewer’s questions, follow these principles:


  • Keep your replies clear and concrete. Don’t go off tangents and give real-life examples that demonstrate your skills and qualifications. Tell a good true story.

  • Extrapolate. When you want to show the interviewer your people skills, explain how your team sports and extracurricular activities taught you to work well with others on different tasks.

  • Focus on your strengths, but show self-awareness. You want to showcase yourself in the best possible light, of course. But you should also own up to your past mistakes and explain what you learned from them. Doing this says you’re responsible and honest— two crucial traits in a candidate.


2. Take them through your process.


You know what you do and, not surprisingly, you assume your interviewer does as well. After all, they are the ones testing you for it, aren’t they? 


While that is correct in a general way, your interviewer wants to know what you know. Are you as good when you put your skills into practice as when you talk about them? Can you provide creative solutions to common problems? 


When you’re asked to explain your process, you need to clearly articulate your entire solution in distinct steps. Stay on track and don’t be afraid to give detailed answers. It’s also a good idea to think about what processes are key to the position and prepare step-by-step answers for them.


3. Know your SEO tools.


Every craftsperson must have deep knowledge of the tools of their trade. If you’re an SEO specialist, be prepared to rattle off the names of the main tools you use, as well as examples of how you use them and what you like or dislike about them.


The interviewer will probably expect you to talk about: Google Analytics, SEMrush, Moz, Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, Majestic, and Ahreís (at least). And if you want to dazzle, explain how the tool you’re talking about could improve the company’s current process and situation.


4. Brush up on the technical practice.


Everything you say during your interview can be put to the test. If you say you’re skilled at a specific tool or solution (and even if you don’t say anything), get ready to prove your skills by solving practical problems. 


Your interviewer might test you on your knowledge of: 


  • Site migration

  • Redirects 301 v 302

  • Short and long-tailed keywords

  • Google penalty rules

  • Domain authority and Canonical URLs

  • On-page SEO savvy and audits

  • Penguin, Panda, etc.


5. Show off your industry savvy


While we don’t suggest you spend ten minutes dropping names, showing you’re keeping pace with the leading industry forces and trends can’t hurt. How well do you know your field? Can you offer in-depth knowledge of the market?


You’ve got to show how engaged you are in the SEO community— talk about the professional events you’ve been to, relevant articles by industry bloggers you follow, Google updates and recent developments.


6. Strategise for an agency interview.


Working client-side can be very different than working for an agency. The focus changes, the pace picks up, the work gets more results-oriented, the dynamic is more go-go-go… This will be reflected in the questions in your agency interview:


  • Tell us about your past clients.

  • What results did you get with them? How did you get there?

  • Do you have any pitching experience? Can you give us an example and explain the results?

  • Have you created original strategies to tackle x?

  • How do you align the general goal and the how, the strategy and the solution?


Quite a different tone— but, with some solid preparation, you can ace this type of interview too.


7. Be passionate.


What is so special about the candidate that gets hired? Perhaps their technical skills were on par with several others’. Maybe their communication skills were also found in the rest of them. But, typically, the most successful candidates are the ones who manage to show a spark of passion for their craft.


The company needs professionals who are not just talented but also motivated and committed to see their work through, come rain or shine. If you are positive, show interest in the life of the company, and let your personality shine, you’re bound to make a good SEO interview first impression. Be prepared and good luck!


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