How to hire a marketing manager the right way

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When deciding how to hire a marketing manager, it’s important to find a way to properly assess candidates and avoid expensive mishires. 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 post, 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. 

Marketing manager skills

Fortunately, online skills assessment platforms like TestGorilla make it easy to determine whether or not a candidate possesses the skills you need in a marketing manager. The best marketing managers will have the following skills traits:

Communication skills 

Excellent communication skills are the number one quality marketing managers need to succeed at their job. This because your new hire will need to be able to communicate with their team, their supervisors, and others. Your marketing manager will be responsible for communicating what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how it will be done.

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. There are a few problems with this approach to assessing communication skills:

  • 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.

This is where online skills assessments can help. TestGorilla provides a number of tests that can help you quickly determine whether or not a candidate is a good communicator. Here are a few to consider:

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.


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. Also, invest in a screening test designed to test for digital marketing skills. 

TestGorilla users can 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 very easy to cheat on Google’s certification tests.

  • Meta Ads. This test evaluates candidates’ skills and in setting up and managing Meta 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.


A good marketing manager is results orientated. They focus on what they can learn from the data in each marketing campaign. 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. 

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 topics such as statistics, machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning. The test is designed to help you identify 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 has the best handle on it.

  • 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.

Curious by nature  

Creative, innovative campaigns depend on a sense of curiosity. A good marketing manager will push your brand forward with dynamic marketing campaigns that differentiate you from your competitors. 

To test curiosity, 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?”

  • “Are you self-taught in any skills?”

Leadership 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 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.” Beyond revenue and company size, look for other concrete evidence of expertize, such as; education, qualifications, and statistical wins from past projects. 

You can also test for leadership and people management skills to evaluate 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.

The hiring process

After figuring out the qualities you’re looking for in a marketing manager, it’s time to break down the hiring process.

Capture the right candidate’s attention 

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?

This job description should 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.

Once you’ve created an enticing job description, it’s time to get in front of the right people. Target candidates by posting your job description on your website, popular job listings platforms, and trade journals. 

Shortlist the best candidates

As a hiring manager, you’re likely well aware that very few applicants will make the final cut. Research shows that roughly only the top 2% of candidates make it to interview. That’s why finding a way to pre-qualify candidates without having to spend hours wading through applications is key.  

Third-party providers can grade and rank candidates for you. This takes the time and stress out of having to sift through hundreds (or even thousands) of applications. At TestGorillia, we automatically grade and rank your candidates–sifting out bad fits and placing the best applicants at the top of the pile. 

Test for marketing skills

Every job posting draws a flood of applicants. How do you separate the good from the bad to make a hire you won’t regret later? 

The most efficient way to do that is to use screening tests to candidates’ skills at the top of the hiring funnel.

In addition to the tests above, here are a few more to consider when hiring a marketing manager:

  1. Technical SEO test. This test evaluates candidates’ skills in analyzing websites and improving their ranking in search engines. This will help you hire a marketing manager who understands what it takes to put your site on the (internet) map.

  2. GDPR & privacy test. If you do business in the European Union (and even if you don’t), this test will help you make sure you’re compliant with GDPR to avoid lawsuits and fines.

  3. SEO copywriting. This test evaluates a candidate’s knowledge of SEO best practices and their ability to help web pages rank in SERPs. This will help you find a marketing manager who understands how to use keyword and content optimization to grow your traffic.

Key interview questions to ask your potential marketing managers

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(like these 13 interview questions for marketing managers) before your call to make sure you cover the essentials.

Here’s are some topics to cover

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

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

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

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

  5. What is your definition of hard work?

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

  7. Who is the smartest person you know personally? Why?

Test for marketing skills to avoid mishires

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. It will help you identify the most skilled applicants, and it will make the hiring process much more efficient.

Good luck and happy hiring!

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