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Search engine marketing specialist (SEO/SEM) interview questions and answers

This Search engine marketing specialist (SEO/SEM) interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.


Search Engine Marketing Interview Questions

These open-ended, situational, and process-based questions will help you hire the right search engine marketing specialist for your team. Put another way, these questions can only be answered by someone with actual SEO and SEM experience. Hard skills are critical in this role. You’ll want someone with hands-on experience in projects such setting up paid search campaigns, funnel analysis, page optimization, keyword research and preparing reports.

Look for candidates who are highly analytical. They should love data, be very friendly with spreadsheets and use numbers in their application materials to demonstrate a track record of success. Team players are ideal. The person you hire should be capable of building strong working relationships with developers, copywriters, and designers to set up campaigns. Finally, as marketers, they should understand their product’s selling points and the way their customers think. Responses to questions like “How do you choose keywords?” should give you a sense of that.

Since SEO and SEM are relatively new fields, your experience with finding qualified candidates may depend on where you are geographically. If more experienced candidates are not available in your area and you have the capacity to train a new hire, consider hiring for potential instead of experience. When you conduct your interviews, look for candidates who ask smart, unrehearsed questions. These are the driven, high potential candidates you’ll want to hire.

Operational questions


  • What part of your previous company’s funnel needs work? How would you fix it?
  • How do you decide how much you can pay for a click in a PPC campaign?
  • How do you decide which keywords you’d like to target?
  • Have you used AdWords before? What campaign metrics did you look at?
  • Describe a time you ran an A/B test. Talk about your process, results, and hypothesis.
  • If you saw your average position drop week over week, what would you do?


  • What is the relationship between content and SEO?
  • What are the most common issues for on-page SEO ranking?
  • What are your favorite SEO tools? Why do you use them?
  • Is our website search-friendly? What would you do to improve optimization?
  • What link-building strategies have worked well for you? What didn’t work so well?
  • Describe an SEO experiment that you set up. Talk about your process, results, and hypothesis.

Source and recruit skilled SEO and SEM candidates with Workable’s Boolean search cheat sheets.


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