A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is an essential role, overseeing your organization’s marketing, branding, communications, and public relations efforts. An effective CMO will enhance your organization’s visibility and reputation among its key audiences and ensure you’re delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
Here are some of the questions you should be asking during the interview process to ensure the best fit for one of your brand’s most critical functions.
How will you help the organization adapt to new industry trends?
Marketing is an incredibly dynamic field, with new tools, technologies, and trends constantly coming into play. Not all of these have staying power, however, and a savvy CMO will recognize when it’s time to adjust course—and by how much.
How do you ensure that marketing efforts align with the overall goals of the business?
Marketing does not and should not exist in a vacuum. Everything a brand does and communicates—from their website copy and internal communications to advertising campaigns and posts on social media—should all fold up to an organization’s topline goals. Asking this question will give you insights into how the candidate views marketing as part of the larger organization and how they work with other leaders and departments to align their activities to the business’ short- and long-term objectives.
What have you found most challenging in current or previous leadership roles?
Your CMO will likely be responsible for managing a team or department, partnering with outside vendors and partners, and collaborating with other members of the leadership team. A good and thoughtful response to this question will reveal how the candidate operates in high-pressure situations, as well as their ability to problem solve and overcome obstacles in the workplace.
What specific industry experience do you bring to the role?
There are as many types of marketers as there are types of companies, so it’s important to understand their track record and what specific industry experience they bring to the table. That’s not to say you should narrow your search to only professionals who have marketed for competitors or similar companies. But someone who has only held marketing roles with a B2B company offering professional services may not be the perfect fit for a CMO role with a B2C company selling apparel.
Based on what you know about our organization today, what would you say is our greatest strength and weakness when it comes to our current marketing initiatives?
A candidate’s response to this question will help you understand how much they’ve researched your brand already and their familiarity with the products or services you offer. It may also elicit some of their thoughts on where the organization is headed from a marketing standpoint and what they’d want to maintain, change, or continue to improve upon if offered the role.
In current and previous roles, how have you adopted process improvements?
Change management, if done poorly, can negatively impact your employees as well as your customers or individuals you serve. When hiring for your leadership team, it’s valuable to find out how an individual handles change within their department and the broader organization, even when the end result is something positive. This is especially important for someone in a role that oversees communication.
Ready to find your ideal CMO?
This blog was authored by Talent Consultant Sarah Garcia.