Web content job interview – top 5 questions

A web content job interview usually has a lot of ground to cover – here are 5 questions you should ask any candidate for interview.

When you interview somebody you need to know that they can do the job, that you can work with them, and that they won’t be unhappy in the job. Here are a few questions to help you with the first and last requirements.

What is your site?

This one will weed out any spoofers. You need someone who can plan long term and will see projects through, rather than take the easy route, do things which take little effort and assume nobody notices. If they have a blog with 200+ posts, they understand what a long-term content strategy is, because they have had to learn it. If they posted twice in the last 6 months, things have gone badly wrong. If they discuss why and give reasons which show that they have analysed the situation intelligently, fair enough. But if they have never had their own site/blog, it is more difficult to verify these things.

What is your greatest organisational achievement?

With a lot of content it is important to be able to organise collections of photos/description/ids etc. If the interviewee has worked on a site of any significant size, they should be able to remember round numbers e.g. they had to process 500 photos in 4 different sizes in x number of days before a launch. If it was all a blur to them and they don’t remember these numbers, there is a good chance that they were never on top of it to begin with.

What skill have you improved most in the past year?

In the fast-moving world of the internet, a content manager’s training is never finished. They have so many different required competencies that there is always something that they can improve on. If they draw a blank on this one, it’s a big warning sign. You get paid for what you have done, and if they haven’t done any training in the past year you ought to continue looking for someone who has.

What skill do you plan to most improve in the next year?

This is the flipside of question 3. If their answer matches exactly what you have planned for their role, then that is a good thing. Of if they are passionate about any area, you can see something of their ambition. But they really need to have some kind of answer for this. You don’t want someone who is looking to cruise through the next few months or year – a web content job is usually too demanding to accommodate somebody like that.

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Why do you want this web content job –  what difference will you make?

Ideally they will tell you exactly what they plan to do in the role, and how it will benefit you. Ask them about the last piece of web content that wowed them and why. Ideally they will tell you about a great blog or blog post that they recently discovered or something that was fantastic. That is what you want your successful web content job candidate to strive for and to achieve. If they cannot answer this question and they are not looking at new content then there may be a problem.

Why do you like working