Betts Recruiting

Get our new Compensation Guide for 2024!


Key Questions to Ask When Hiring Marketing Managers

The Betts Team
December 27, 2023

These key questions will help you improve your interview process when hiring a Marketing Manager, and get closer to finding a unicorn candidate that aligns with your go-to-market (GTM) strategy. For this role in particular, the Betts team has found that nearly every tech startup is looking for a perfect fit that can handle a broad range of duties, but still has experience specific to their industry – which means more competition for the right fit and less time that can be wasted interviewing wrong fit applicants.

Keep reading below to see the top interview questions when hiring a Marketing Manager for the technology sector:

The Role & Responsibilities of a Marketing Manager

The primary role and responsibilities of a Marketing Manager in a SaaS company reflect the dynamic nature of their side of the tech space. Some manage small teams of junior marketers, while others have no direct reports but coordinate outsourced tasks with agencies or individual freelancers. Some oversee broad portfolios like digital marketing, while others only execute campaigns for a specific product

The one consistent requirement for this title is experience in the field, particularly in a specific industry space. That means when hiring a Marketing Manager that has a background in tech, your recruiting search and interview process should be focused on narrowing candidates down to those that have worked in your side of tech, whether it’s biotech, fintech, edtech or any other SaaS sector.

Skills & Experience Questions

These key questions will help you better understand your Marketing Manager candidate’s background, including their experience as it relates to the position and the skill sets they have acquired that are relevant to its responsibilities. 

  1. Marketing Experience: Your first question should be focused on learning more about the candidate’s specific background in the marketing field. This is important to establish early since past employers could have had very different GTM strategies from yours, and before you dive into anything else you need to ensure they align with your team.
  2. Sales Motion Experience: A sales motion is the methodology by which your org makes and closes deals, and while this might seem more vital for a seller role like an AE (Account Executive) to know, it’s just as important that a Marketing Manager understands your approach. See how the candidate aligned with the sales team in their previous positions and how well they understood the motion.
  3. Channel Experience: A marketing channel is any medium that marketers use to communicate with your audience, whether through social media, events, email, etc. Ask your candidate about their experience using the channels you focus on now, and see whether they have the background needed to scale up any channels you want to expand into (e.g., podcasting).
  4. Marketing Tactics & Strategy: Ask the candidate about the campaign tactics and strategies they have worked with in the past. This will help you get a better understanding of their capabilities, experience and whether they align with your current marketing motion.
  5. Campaign Scope & Scale: There are a lot of things you can learn about your candidate by asking about the types of campaigns they have worked on, how they responded to or set campaign scope, and how they scaled campaigns according to changes. Pay extra attention to how they reacted to shifts in planning, which can tell you how well they approach solutions-based thinking.
  6. Collaboration Examples: It comes with the territory of the Marketing Manager’s role that will be expected to coordinate with stakeholders in other teams – namely sales, but also other departments as well as key executives who need to leverage their expertise. During the interview, ask the candidate to provide past examples of collaboration to gauge how well they work together with internal stakeholders.
  7. Tool Knowledge: Martech stacks can vary between orgs, so be sure to ask which platforms your candidate has worked with and their proficiency levels. Be mindful of whether your team can afford to train a new hire on any of your current tools, and the learning curve of those toolsets.
  8. Campaign Tracking & Reporting: A marketer at this level should be able to conceptualize and run their campaigns independently, which also includes being able to track, analyze and report on results up to the VP of Marketing or CMO. Ask the candidate to describe how often they check in on – and quantify – campaign performance, making sure to note how well they can turn raw data into actionable metrics.

Situational Questions

Situational questions are good for getting a deeper look at a candidate’s thought process, problem-solving capabilities, ability to think on their feet and how they respond to challenges. When interviewing a Marketing Manager applicant, you will want to see how they respond to the pressure and fast pace of their environment, as well as how they define success.

  1. Most Successful Campaign: Ask the candidate to describe what they consider their most successful campaign, and prompt them to go into detail about what makes it stick out for them. This will give you a good sense of what they prioritize when it comes to performance and how they measure wins.
  2. Failed Campaign Example: Failure can grant you even better insight into how a marketer thinks than success at times, and show you firsthand how well they can pivot in the face of obstacles. Ask your candidate to think of a campaign that fell short of its goals, and explain at length the aftermath and what lessons they took from it for future campaigns.
  3. Product Campaign Scenario: Create a scenario for your candidate during the interview where they have to take the helm on a product-focused campaign. It could be a product launch, rebranding, etc., the important part being getting a glimpse into how well they take the esoteric factors and adapt accordingly.
  4. Brand Knowledge & Awareness: Your marketing team is most often the first point of engagement with your audience, so the ability to know your brand inside and out will be a key requirement for a unicorn marketer. Don’t just ask your candidate about your brand, however – you should also test their knowledge on past brands they’ve worked with to see how well they captured their messaging.
  5. Unlocking Creativity: Even in the world of data-driven marketing today in the tech sector, there is always a need to be creative. Learn more about your candidate’s methods for inspiring creativity when communicating with target audiences.
  6. Handling Deadlines: Ask your Marketing Manager candidate for examples of tight deadlines they faced in the past, including those that may have changed in the middle of a campaign or project. SaaS marketers must always be ready for a fast-paced environment, and your unicorn candidate will be someone that knows how to handle the potential pressure without burning out.
  7. Learning & Development: Continuous learning and training is a great way to ensure your marketing team can keep scaling up their abilities over time, so you should ask all applicants how they approach self-development. See what areas they would focus on and how they would set – and meet – goals for improvement.
  8. Direction & Leadership: Whether with junior marketers, outsourced agencies, freelancers or any combination of these, a Marketing Manager will need to be able to provide direction to team members or contractors at any given time. Lay out a scenario in which the candidate will have to coordinate and delegate a complex set of activities, and ask them to walk you through their process for making sure the project is completed successfully.

Hiring a Marketing Manager with a Recruiting Agency

Before you can interview a unicorn candidate for your open Marketing Manager position, you first have to find them. Many startups and other businesses in tech choose to engage a recruiting agency or RPO firm to scale their talent acquisition fast, but the costs can mount up over time if your partner does not know how to find your perfect fit talent.

Betts is transforming how SaaS companies hire today, taking our experience helping over 10,000 tech startups scale their workforces and using it to revolutionize candidate sourcing with RaaS:

The Betts Recruiting Difference

Leveraging the Betts Recruitment as a Service (RaaS) model, you get the best of both worlds – search recruiting on-demand with our proprietary hiring platform, Betts Connect, and access to end-to-end support from a full-time Betts recruiter. All of these resources are available at the fraction of the cost of a traditional search recruiting contract, empowering you to find the top marketing talent you need without breaking your budget on run-on costs over time.
Contact Betts here and see for yourself how RaaS will transform your hiring and help you find your unicorn Marketing Manager at a lower cost than traditional agency recruiting.