Five Questions You Should Ask on Your Social Media Interview

Alan BelniakSocial Media12 Comments

Much content is available about how to prepare for an interview about social media-related positions. This preparation ranges from the kinds of questions you might get asked to examples of your work. This post doesn’t cover that. Instead, this post covers five questions you should be asking your potential employer about the position. As they say, this is just as much as you interviewing them as it is them interviewing you.


Question 1: What’s the CxO’s opinion on social media and the role it will play in the enterprise?

Having upper-level management embrace social media is key. Grass-roots efforts and a ‘bottom-up’ approach will make it successful. A top-down approach will show the organization that it has succeeded in getting buy-in.

Stay: “Our executives believe that social media will play an important role in how we interact with customers. We’re not 100% sure HOW yet, and that’s why we’re filling this role.”

Bonus: “Our CEO has been following your blog and is looking forward to getting some tips of starting a blog of her own. She’s really outgoing.”

Walk: “Our executives are ready to put a check in the ‘social media’ box.”

Run: “They think is a load of bull, and don’t see the value in it. I’m the only one who does, so it’ll be you and me, kid.”


Question 2: What kind of budget are you planning on setting aside for social media in the next year?

A specific dollar amount as a response here isn’t necessary, but you’re looking for a commitment that they understand that they need to spend money on this. Also, bonus points if they have some idea where they want the money spent.

Stay: “We’re not entirely sure yet, but we’re planning on ___. We did a bit of research and found other companies our size/in our industry are spending __ percent of their total marketing budget on social media. We’re looking to you to help us use that planned spend wisely.”

Walk: “We’re going through budgets now. We hadn’t thought about it at all. There will probably be a few dollars left over at the end, and I’ll pull for you to get those allocated to your FaceTwit stuff.”

Run: “Budget? I thought social media was free.”


Question 3: Have you had discussions about what needles you want to move?

This question gets to the core of the ‘O’ in Forrester’s POST methodology. Put another way: what are they trying to do?

Stay: “We’d like to take a role/bigger role in the conversations. For each of our products, I think that the metrics and definitions of success might be different, but we need you to help tell us that. Sure, more revenue and profit is great, but we’re not directly expecting two Twitter accounts are going to increase sales by __ percent.”

Bonus: “We understand that some of the needles are qualitative, so we’re willing to accept some soft measures of success early on.”

Walk: “We want all the good stuff to go up, and the bad stuff to go down.”

Run: “We want to see a double-digit percent change in sales in the first six months due to our new Tweeter accounts and Facespace pages. We can really amp up the stuff we put in front of people’s faces with these new outlets.”


Question 4: To what degree are your customers interacting in these spaces, either with each other, or with you?

If you’re there for the interview, you probably have some sense of the level of activity. Sure, you might not know it all, but you should have a general idea. What you’re looking for here is how engaged (or even aware!) is the company already with its customers.

Stay: “We know that our customers are congregating on/in ___, ___, and ___. We don’t know how much or often. We know that ___ is an influential blogger, but are a little light in other research. A key challenge for this role is to find out that information so we can execute in the right channels.”

Bonus: “Part of that social media budget we have set aside is specifically for research into this very topic.”

Walk: “We have no idea at all, and we need to know next week.”

Run: “They don’t use this at all. We need to convince them all to follow our Tweeter ID so we can get more ALL CAPS advertisements in front of their faces. Do you have a Tweeter strategy to get 1000 followers in one day? That’s what we need.”


Question 5: To whom will this role report?

The role has to go somewhere, and my research has shown marketing, PR, and customer service are all common spots for a role like this. But you’re not really asking ‘who’s my boss?’ You’re asking, ‘how is this role going to operate day-to-day?’ You’re looking for a response that shows that, in time, this is something that everyone at the company can absorb and use and benefit from.

Stay: “This role will report into marketing. Primarily, or at least initially, we want you to help guide the marketing organization to better understand how our customers are using social media, and then help set the stage for how we can interact with them. Throughout that process, we expect that others in the organization will play roles in helping make that happen.”

Bonus: The interviewer means something along the lines of ‘cross-functional’ without using the term ‘cross-functional’.

Walk: “Marketing. You can work with Sally and Jim. Any other contact with anyone else in the organization needs to go through me.”

Run: “We haven’t figured that out yet.”




Surely I’ve missed some questions. I think these are some pretty important ones, though. What’s your take? Which key questions did I miss? Let me know in the comments.




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