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How to hire a marketing manager


Marketing managers play a strategic role in the success of a company, helping it attract the right audience and convert leads into customers. For this, marketing managers need a wide array of skills, ranging from knowledge of technical SEO principles to data-analysis and leadership skills

When looking to hire a marketing manager, it’s important to find a way to properly assess candidates and avoid expensive mis-hires. 

You don’t always have time to pore over resumes or conduct time-consuming interviews with unqualified candidates, so you’ll need to develop a process that will allow you to find and hire the best candidate available. 

In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to test for marketing skills, professional expertise, and relevant character strengths throughout the hiring process in order to make the best marketing hires for your team.

What is a marketing manager?

Marketing managers are responsible for managing a company’s marketing and advertising campaigns, with the end goal of raising brand awareness, attracting new leads, and nurturing relationships with existing customers. 

They set the overall marketing direction of the company and help define its visual and brand identity with the help of brand books and design and content guidelines. Marketing managers also oversee marketing budgets and analyze the performance of each campaign to make sure that the business gets the best possible return on investment (ROI) and achieves its sales goals. 

Usually, marketing managers: 

  • Conduct market research to understand market trends, competitors’ positioning and offers, and customer behavior

  • Define the company’s brand image and ensure consistency across all marketing channels and initiatives

  • Create and execute marketing strategies based on the company's goals, audience, and past performance 

  • Work closely with other managers and business units to ensure new products meet customer demand and requirements

  • Build and manage marketing and advertising campaigns across different channels, such as social media, email, paid ads, and website content

  • Analyze the performance of campaigns to make sure they’re effective and well-executed

  • Oversee the marketing budget and make sure it’s in line with the company’s goals and that it’s spent wisely

  • Manage a team of marketers and provide guidance and support as needed

  • Build and maintain strong customer relationships, in cooperation with sales, to improve customer retention and loyalty

A marketing manager’s team varies in size, depending on the organization:

  • In small businesses, the marketing manager might be an army of one and be responsible for all marketing activities, or might oversee a team of two to five people

  • Mid-sized enterprises might have bigger teams a dozen or so people, where each has a well-defined set of responsibilities

  • In large organizations, tens or hundreds of people might work in marketing departments, with different levels of expertise, specialization, and managerial responsibilities

Marketing manager hard skills

To be successful in their role, marketing managers need a number of hard skills. Some of them are: 

Data analysis

A good marketing manager is results oriented. They focus on what they can learn from the data in each marketing campaign and are able to analyze and interpret complex data to help guide their strategies and decisions.

They are good at both reading and analyzing metrics and take this information on board to steer future marketing initiatives towards success. To test this, ask candidates to share examples of how they’ve used data in their past roles – both in their application and during interviews. 

Marketing manager hard skills graphic

The ability to use software tools to collect and analyze data is also essential. Examples of tools that marketing managers need to be proficient in include:

  • Google Analytics and Google Search Console

  • SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush and more

  • Marketing, sales, and CRM platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Monday.com

  • Data visualization tools like Tableau and PowerBI

SEO knowledge

Having a strong grasp of search engine optimization (SEO) and its principles, techniques, and best practices is essential to increasing the business’ online visibility and attracting the right audience. 

A marketing manager’s SEO skills will help them make strategic changes to a business’ website to make it attractive to search engines and visitors alike. This means marketing managers need to know how to: 

  • Perform keyword research and identify high-potential keywords

  • Manage the effort of creating engaging, informative, and well-written content

  • Ensure website designers are implementing best practices for responsive design, information architecture, and the user experience

  • Oversee strategies to gain backlinks and manage partnerships with review sites, media outlets, PR agencies, and more 

SEO helps ensure that the company's content reaches the right people at the right time, increasing the chances of converting them into customers.

Leadership skills and experience

The role of a marketing manager is a challenging one. You’re looking for someone who can confidently command a team with a proven track record of growing revenue. 

You’re looking for someone with a bias for action over planning. As marketing expert Greg Kogan says, “One indicator that a person can execute is if their current/previous company is 2-5x the size of yours, either in headcount or revenue.”[1] 

Beyond revenue and company size, look for other concrete evidence of expertise, such as education, qualifications, and strategic wins from past projects. 

You can also use skills tests to evaluate leadership and people management skills and see whether a candidate can lead others within an organization using both influence and guidance. This will help you hire a marketing leader who can support and develop others to help your marketing team succeed.

Social media marketing

Marketing managers should be proficient in using different social media platforms and know how to use them effectively to build greater brand awareness and engage potential and existing customers. 

Depending on your niche and audience, some social media channels might be more relevant for you than others, so you need to hire a person who’s deeply familiar with the ones you’re already using – or who’s eager to learn how to make the most of it. 

Technical and software skills

Marketing managers need to be able to use or learn the software that your company relies on in its marketing efforts.

To test a potential hire’s digital skills, ask about the digital channels and tools they’ve used to spearhead successful marketing campaigns in past roles. Look for people who have experience with Google Ads, Facebook Ads, CRM systems, email marketing software like Klavyo, Mailchimp, Active Campaign, and more.

Marketing manager soft skills

A key factor in the success of a marketing manager is their ability to communicate with others, build relationships, and nurture trust. Below, you’ll see some of the top soft skills you should look for:

Communication skills 

Excellent communication skills are essential for marketing professionals. This is because your new hire will need to be able to communicate with their team, supervisors, and other managers and co-workers. Your marketing manager will be responsible for communicating what needs to be done, why, and how to do it.

Look for someone who:

  • is articulate and presents themselves well – both in person and in writing

  • comes across as diplomatic and likable 

  • listens well and is responsive to feedback 

  • has leadership experience

A cover letter and resume can show off a prospective hire’s written communication skills, however, there are a few problems with this approach:

  • The ability to write a cover letter and a resume only shows a tiny sliver of a candidate’s ability to communicate.

  • Many candidates rely on resume writing services, so it’s hard to tell if you’re gauging the candidate’s skills or someone else’s.

  • Reading resumes and cover letters is a time-consuming process. Depending on the size of your hiring team and the number of applications you have to receive, it might not be realistic to go over each and every resume and cover letter.

In the next section, we’ll explain how you can leverage skills tests to evaluate your candidates’ communication.


Creative, innovative campaigns depend on your next hire’s sense of curiosity and their open-mindedness. A good marketing manager will push your brand forward with dynamic marketing campaigns that differentiate you from your competitors. 

Curiosity will also guarantee that they have the ability to come up with new solutions, adapt to new trends, and continuously learn in their role. 

To test this, ask the right questions – both on the application form and in interview, such as:

  • What interests you the most about this position?

  • Which marketing books have you read lately?

  • Do you have any self-taught marketing skills?

  • Can you share an example of a time when you had to step outside your comfort zone to learn something new in your role?

  • How do you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in marketing?

  • Can you describe a situation where you had to change your planned strategy due to new information or changing circumstances?

  • How do you encourage your team to bring new ideas to the table?

How to test your next marketing manager’s skills

To make sure you’re hiring the right person, you need to assess applicants’ skills objectively. Resumes don’t really give you a good idea of whether a person has what it takes to be a good marketing manager – and interviewing everyone is very resource-intensive. 

This is where online skills assessments can help. TestGorilla provides a number of tests that can help you quickly determine whether a candidate would be a good fit for the role. You can combine up to five skills tests in a single assessment and send it to all applicants to see who has the potential to lead your marketing team to success.

General skills

Here are a few tests to consider when evaluating someone’s marketing skills:

  • Branding strategy: Check whether candidates can define, position, manage, and develop a brand. This online screening test will help you identify brand marketers who have the strategic skills to develop and grow your brand.

  • Marketing analytics: Evaluate each person’s capacity to use data to define marketing strategies and use an results-oriented approach.

  • Growth marketing (B2C/eCommerce): If you’re selling products or services to end consumers, this test will help you identify candidates who know how to build growth plans, identify roadblocks, and execute growth strategies in a B2C context.

  • Communication: This test helps you determine whether applicants know how to communicate clearly and effectively with their team, other managers, and external partners and suppliers. To get an even better sense of how a candidate communicates, ask for video responses to custom questions. You can use these video responses to help you easily identify who you want to invite to an in-person interview.

  • Negotiation: Our negotiation test evaluates candidates’ ability to negotiate in a business context to achieve results.

  • Language proficiency: Tests like the English (proficient/C1) test will assess a candidate’s ability to participate in demanding professional and social conversations in relevant languages like English, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.

Software skills

You can also test a candidate’s abilities with software and platforms like:

Microsoft Excel: This test evaluates a candidate’s ability to read and interpret Excel spreadsheets, perform basic calculations, and manipulate tables. You can use this test to make sure you hire a marketing manager who can use Excel independently and collaborate with others.

Google Ads: This test evaluates candidates’ knowledge of the main concepts and essential functionality of Google Ads. If your marketing manager will be responsible for Google Ads, this test is important because it’s easy to cheat on Google’s certification tests.

Facebook Ads: This test evaluates candidates’ skills and in setting up and managing Facebook advertising campaigns.

Salesforce: This test evaluates candidates’ familiarity with the basic concepts and standard functionality of Salesforce CRM.

HubSpot: This test measures candidates’ skills in HubSpot sales, marketing, and customer service software.

Google Analytics: This test will help you hire Google Analytics experts who can set up, read, and make decisions from reports that will help you reach your business goals and objectives. This test is important for the same reason as the Google Ads test. It’s easy to get the Google Analytics certification, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that a candidate truly understands it.

Data analysis

Depending on the level of data analysis you expect from your marketing manager, you can test them on more advanced skills like:

  • Data science: This test assesses candidates’ skills in core data science areas such as statistics, machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning. The test was originally designed to help you hire entry- and mid-level data scientists, but it can also help you determine your marketing manager candidates’ comfort level with data science concepts. They’ll probably score lower than someone with a degree in the field, but you can compare your candidates’ scores to determine who shows the most promise.

  • SQL (coding): entry-level database operations: If you’d like your marketing manager to have a basic understanding of how to interact with SQL databases, this test evaluates candidates’ ability to manipulate a database with low complexity and/or create a query that satisfies the given requirements. This knowledge will allow them to pull data to determine whether a campaign is working or not and how to make improvements.

Where to find marketing managers

There are a number of places to look for your next marketing manager: 

  • LinkedIn: On LinkedIn, you can filter candidates based on their skills, experience, and location. You can also post a job listing, making it easier to attract qualified candidates.

  • Marketing job boards: Specialized job boards like Hey Marketers, We Work Remotely, and AngelList enable you to post job ads and get in touch with experienced candidates.

  • Freelance platforms: On platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr many marketing professionals offer their services. If you need a marketing manager on a project basis, this might be a good option.

  • Networking events: Industry-specific events, like marketing conferences, meetups, and seminars, could be good opportunities to meet potential candidates.

Marketing manager job description template

Before you can test candidates, you first need to make sure you’re attracting the best talent available. 

To do that, you’ll need to create a clear description of the job. What will their role involve? What kinds of skills, experience, and talents do you value?

You should also highlight the benefits of working for your company. Do you offer appealing financial incentives? Have a dress-down Friday? Host raved-about BBQs and staff birthday parties? Show candidates that you’re offering more than just a paycheck.

Here’s a sample job description you can use: 

[Your company name] is a leading provider of [type of service or product]. Our commitment to innovation, excellence, and helping our clients achieve excellence sets us apart. As we continue to grow, we're looking for a skilled marketing manager to join our team.

You’ll play a critical role in driving our marketing strategy. This is an exciting opportunity for a seasoned marketing professional to join a growing company, and work on creative, data-driven marketing campaigns.


  • Develop and implement comprehensive marketing strategies to increase brand awareness and drive customer acquisition

  • Oversee the creation of content for various channels including website, social media, email, and PR

  • Collaborate with sales teams to align marketing strategies with sales objectives

  • Manage SEO/SEM initiatives to increase website visibility and lead generation

  • Utilize data analytics to measure and report on campaign performance, identify trends, and optimize spend and performance

  • Stay up-to-date with current marketing trends in [your industry]


  • At least 5 years of marketing experience in the B2B software industry, preferably in accounting or financial software

  • Proven experience in identifying target audiences and creatively devising and leading cross-channel marketing campaigns

  • Solid knowledge of web analytics, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads

  • Experience with CRM software and digital marketing tools and techniques

  • Strong analytical and project management skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Why join us?

[Explain key benefits and advantages of working for your company]

Interested? Click on the apply button now and start your journey with us.

How much does a marketing manager cost?

The average salary of a marketing manager in the US is $116,250 per year according to Salary.com, with a salary range between $101,852 to $133,253.

The salary will depend on factors such as:

  • Your location, industry, and niche

  • Your next hire’s skills, experience, and training 

  • The specific requirements for the job

Marketing manager interview questions

Once you’ve shortlisted your candidates, it’s time to roll your sleeves up. Start with a phone interview with your top candidates. Are they well-spoken? Friendly? Can they talk you through their experience and past wins?

Prep a series of great questions before your call to make sure you cover the essentials. Include questions specific to the role, such as marketing coordination interview questions.

Here’s are some topics to cover: 

  • Pitch our company to me as if I were buying our product/service.

  • What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?

  • Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?

  • In five minutes, could you explain something to me that is complicated, but you know well?

  • What is your definition of hard work?

  • If I were to poll everyone you’ve worked with, what percentage would not be a fan of yours?

  • Who is the smartest person you know personally? Why?

Test for marketing skills to avoid mis-hires

We hope this guide has given you a better idea of how to hire a marketing manager. Testing for marketing skills is a crucial part of the process, because it’ll help you identify the most skilled applicants, and it will make the hiring process much more efficient.

To get started, you can test out our free plan or sign up for a demo with one of TestGorilla’s experts who’ll show you how you can integrate skills tests into your marketing-manager hiring process to find the perfect hire.

Hiring for a marketing director instead of a marketing manager? Go to our quick guide on how to assess marketing director skills.



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