PPC Chat Streamcap – Hiring for PPC

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) asked us about “Hiring for PPC.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What characteristics would you look for when hiring an entry level PPC associate?

  • Problem solving, organizational and communication skills as well as an ability to work autonomously as well as on a team. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • To me, what’s most important is knowing how to think, and knowing how to solve a problem. – Eric Bryant (@GnosisArts)
  • Internet marketing background, passionate, honest, problem solver. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Eagerness to learn and to work hard, someone who asks a lot of questions, someone who will dive head first into PPC. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Analyticial, Inquisitive, Problem Solver, Must have Intergrity, and a Sense of Humor. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Excel knowledge is SOOOOO nice. I hate having to teach Excel. – Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
  • A competitor- a desire to do better against their own successes and the competition. – David Beltramini (@dbeltramini)
  • Intellectual curiosity! – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • 1. Loves clients – serving and satisfying. 2. Loves data – the knowledge behind numbers and the optimization secrets revealed. – David Szetela (@Szetela)
  • Willingness to learn and solve problems on their own. Huge for PPC. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)

Q2: What types of questions do you ask PPC candidates (both at the entry and intermediate levels)?

  • Why Questions! Much of the HOW can be taught I want to understand the WHY of the person I will be working with. – Bryant Garvin
  • Explain to me how PPC works as if I’ve never heard of it. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Describe acct structure from acct level to kw level? Tell me the difference between all match types? – Luke Alley
  • How do they use the internet, what searches have they conducted, their observations, what do they know about internet advertsing. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • I always ask “What PPC blogs/articles do you read?” If they can’t give you a clear answer, I don’t think they’ll be a good fit. – Matt Umbro
    • IDK, the ppc network is less practical for entry level, would rather know their approach instead of what they read. – Chris Kostecki
      • I guess that question would be more toward intermediates, however, if entry is applying for PPC job I’d expect them to at least know some blogs in preparation for applying to the position. – Matt Umbro
        • Yeah, I can see SEW/SEL, but I’ve seen weak candidates that were plugged in & strong ones who only read what I sent em. – Chris Kostecki
          • True, but a huge pet peeve of mine is when an entry level candidate can’t describe the position they are applying for. – Matt Umbro
  • Questions to gauge creativity, comfort with numbers and go-getter-ness (assuming no PPC experience). – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • If I wanted to advertise on Yahoo.com, what platform would I use? – Elizabeth Marsten
  • For intermediates, I like to ask about campaign settings. Which ones do you like, which ones do you avoid? – Neil Sorenson
  • Rate yourself 1-10 for excel skills. higher than 6 follow w/ can u do pivot tables? No= an overestimator of themselves. – David Beltramini
  • (entry level) what kind of research did you do for this job interview? – David Beltramini
  • “In terms of effect on ROI, rank these: keywords, ads, account structure, landing pages…” etc. – David Szetela
  • What did you want to be when you grew up??? Let’s me know what type of person they are. – Bryant Garvin
  • More experienced folks “what’s your single favorite report in AdWords & why.” – Aaron Levy
  • For intermediate – How Many Sites can you Block from Google Search Partner Network? – Bryant Garvin
    • All or none! – Matt Umbro
      • But if they don’t know that then”¦ Also it is a Trick Question for me – Managed accounts can block up to 5 on back end. – Bryant Garvin
  • Entry level: I ask them what they do when they run into a problem. If they say “go ask my boss”, that’s a negative. I want people who can look for answers on their own before running to the boss (ie me). – Melissa Mackey
  • I also look for ppl who understand there is more than one way to achieve an objective, run a campaign. Not an exact science. – Eric Bryant

Q3: How do you ensure you aren’t “tricked” by a candidate (eg: talks a good game)?

  • References, Track record, otherwise: hire slowly, fire quickly. – Chris Kostecki
  • That’s a tough one. Some people are truly great actors in an interview and then turn out to be godawful in reality. – Melissa Mackey
  • Take 20 minutes open an account. Ask them to do a quick audit and find some optimization points – intermediate. – Bryant Garvin
  • We have a quiz! Bid up, pause, avg pos. type stuff. helps a little. – Noah Brooks (@noahbrooks)
  • We implemented some quizzes and tests for intermediate/advanced applicants. Excel tasks and setting up a basic campaign. Helped. – Neil Sorenson
  • If intermediate candidate, ask very specific questions. – Matt Umbro
  • Make sure they are Google certified and they can tell you real world stories from actual accounts. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
  • Always give on-the-spot exercises – write ad copy; split keywords into separate ad groups; interpret reports. – David Szeleta
  • Also ask about recent changes in the PPC world, see if he/she is keeping up to date (intermediate level). – Matt Umbro
    • Ask what new feature in Adwords is their favorite and follow up is which one bothered them the most. Don’t hire robots. – Jesse Semchuck
  • @adwords & @adCenter platforms are complicated. Asking Q’s about less well known features can separate the wheat from chaff. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • For entry level luckily I am a good human lie detector. My kids hate it! – Bryant Garvin
  • We have some “scenario” questions. client A CPC is rising month over month, despite doing XYZ. SOLVE. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Also, ask them for a time they failed. Answer can tell a lot about how they view themselves/success & if they’re honest/fakin! – Aaron Levy
    • Loaded question, candidate wants to shine why turn it negative. – Chris Kostecki
      • I like to know if they can admit when they made a mistake and own up to it. That’s how we learn and move on. – Bryant Garvin
      • Everyone makes mistakes. A good candidate will explain what they learned and how they made sure it’d never happen again. – Aaron Levy
        • Yeah, everyone makes mistakes, why relive when their is on the line and give interview ammo if hired. – Chris Kostecki
          • Gotta make sure I can trust them to solve a problem on their own. Clients ask tough questions! – Aaron Levy
            • You can get at it other ways (positive) w/o asking mistakes they made, hypothetical so not on them. – Chris Kostecki
              • I don’t phrase it as a mistake, but “When was a time something didn’t go the way you planned in an account." I know the interview is everyone’s time to shine, but also need to make sure they can handle challenges and for me it’s about character, that they are a little humble and most important honest. – Bryant Garvin
                • I have had candidates share way too much, and more often the ? derailed interviews than helped. – Chris Kostecki
  • I like teaching the ropes of “how we do business” and have found that seasoned candidates are ingrained with their own approach. – Chris Kostecki
  • I’ll also ask about implicit vs. explicit bidding on MSN/Bing/whatever. – Elizabeth Marsten
  • You never know if they are lying in the end but by asking educated questions to them and references you can figure out a lot. – Luke Alley

Q4: How much attention do you give to someone’s LinkedIn profile when hiring? What areas of his/her profile do you look at?

  • Like everything, LI can be gamed. I look to see if the person is connected to anyone I know, then contact that person. – Melissa Mackey
    • Exactly. Finding common connections are gold. Much better than the candidates choice of references. – Luke Alley
  • It’s hot or cold. Great to find common connections and ask about the candidate. Some profiles aren’t updated tho. – Luke Alley
  • I give little to no weight to LinkedIn – for me, it comes down to the interview and the assignments I give candidates. – Matt Umbro
  • I ALWAYS research people I am working with. I Look for connections and interaction with people I trust. But not end all. – Bryant Garvin
  • LinkedIn, meh. Recommendations are (usually) solicited and WAY too positive. I’d say it factors zero. – Aaron Levy
  • LI is a good tool for getting candidates in the door, but not a factor in getting hired. – Chris Kostecki
  • I’ll research the candidate’s online presence and see the quality of his/her work (if applicable). – Matt Umbro
  • LinkedIn is just a credibility check before interviews. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)

Q5: What expectations do you set with entry and intermediate level candidates during the interview?

  • Too be honest, I try to scare candidates a bit and let them know EXACTLY what they are getting into. – Matt Umbro
  • Start setting cultural expectations (ie how we work, how they’ll be expected to fit in, etc.) – Robert Brady
  • What the job will be like, a vision of where we’re going, what company culture is like. – Luke Alley
  • I tell them there’s a lot of excel work, sorting through thousands of KWs, & the need of OCD organization. – Neil Sorenson
  • Do you like to work late nights and weekends?! Holidays? – Noah Brooks
    • Or, YOU WILL have to work late nights and holidays. – Matt Umbro


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
• David Beltramini (@dbeltramini)
• David Szetela (@Szetela)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• Eric Bryant (@GnosisArts)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Neil Sorenson (@iNeils)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Noah Brooks (@noahbrooks)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)

Who Streamcap’d this anyway?

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking PPC Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, PPC Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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One Response to PPC Chat Streamcap – Hiring for PPC

  1. John Lavin says:

    That was super fast man, well done!

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