A good and committed brand manager is key to building and sustaining brand recognisability. So, you must ask all the right questions during the hiring process. In a sea of questions, which ones reveal important skills? Which ones lead you to the perfect applicant?
We’ve compiled a list of questions to help you screen your ideal candidate and improve your candidate experience. After posting open job opportunities, we’re here to help you identify each applicant's skills, red flags, and expertise.
Hiring managers employ technical questions to gauge a candidate’s skill level, information processing, and overall technical ability which is normally mentioned in the job description. Let’s discuss some examples.
Q) What is your experience with brand positioning and differentiation?
A candidate must begin by reflecting on their understanding of what these phenomena are. A good brand manager will know how to evaluate their brand's position and competition in a crowded marketplace. Their answer must confirm they know how to develop unique selling propositions and messaging that make the brand stand out.
Q) How do you ensure and maintain consistency across brand touchpoints?
A good response demonstrates an applicant’s understanding of brand consistency. The potential brand manager must have an excellent grasp of the company identity and brand guidelines. They must highlight how they ensure consistency in messaging, identity, and brand voice.
Q) What is your strategy to stay updated with the latest industry trends and changes?
While there is no set strategy to market research and learning, a good response will reflect curiosity, adaptability, and a genuine interest in industry trends. The candidate must display a commitment to professional development and familiarity with industry publications, leading giants, and experts who feed changing trends.
Other possible technical questions you can ask:
- Have you ever led a rebranding campaign? If so, how did you go about it?
- What are your tools to measure the success of a brand campaign?
- What are your opinions on brand partnerships and the value they add to brand presence?
Skills Judged Through Technical Questions
Brand Measurement and Analytics:
A skill to look for in brand managers is their proficiency in brand measurement and analytics. Knowing how to make data-driven decisions is key to driving successful brand campaigns that increase awareness and recognition. The applicant must hold experience in developing KPIs, tracking performance, and optimizing brand strategies.
Equally important is the ability to perform market research. It provides them insights into industry trends, consumer behaviour, and rising competitors. Through market research, managers can mould their campaigns to meet their audience’s preferences. This further helps in building a coherent brand identity that stands out against rival organizations.
Understanding of Brand Voice and Tone:
The ideal brand manager will define and maintain brand voice and tone through all platforms. The ability to fully understand a brand’s voice means being better equipped to create effective messaging, campaigns, and connections with a following. It’s important to follow up on this after the brand voice is communicated to the applicant as part of the onboarding practices.
Red Flags to Look For
Limited Data Analysis Skills:
Having a limited data analysis skill set will hinder the ability to interpret data for the brand’s growth. Data and insight-driven decision-making is key in building brand strategies. A brand manager who lacks this skill may make inaccurate or incomplete decisions that can be disadvantageous to the brand's reputation.
Lack of Experience with Measurement and Management Tools:
Similarly, to analyze data, a brand manager must have some level of proficiency in measurement and management tools. If not, it can lead to suboptimal decision-making and planning. Without understanding how to properly track their brand’s success, the candidate will not be able to adjust their campaigns, strategies, or brand messaging.
Hazy Understanding of Collaboration:
If a brand manager is unable to collaborate both professionally and efficiently, there will be hindrances in cross-functional teamwork and brand partnerships. It may damage existing relations with stakeholders, clients, partners, or employers. Additionally, it can cause miscommunication which results in delays and subpar results.
Behavioural questions help understand an applicant using their past experiences, to predict their future behaviour or learning. Here are some examples you can use.
Q) Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with another department to execute a branding campaign?
The ideal brand manager will have excellent collaboration and cross-functional skills. This question aims to assess how well the candidate can work with other teams. Those may be marketing, sales, growth, or HR; to execute a successful branding campaign. Additionally, the idea must reflect how well they manage communication, fix goals, and ensure meeting deadlines.
Q) Walk us through your management strategy to stay within budget and time constraints for a brand campaign.
A good answer will indicate a thorough and step-by-step procedure to stay within budget and deadlines. While there is no winning strategy, a good answer will reflect organization, ability to develop clear KPIs, crisis management, and more. It’s better if the candidate includes an example of a past brand campaign that reflects their management strategy.
Q) Describe a time when you had to use previous data to devise a creative and original branding campaign. How did you arrive at the concept?
This question analyses an applicant’s ability to use data-driven insights to drive their decision-making, market research, and collaboration skills. It also measures how creative and authentic they are in designing unique campaigns for the brand. A good brand manager will also account for the type of audience they work for; hence, the answer should reflect that.
For more behavioural questions, consider:
- Elaborate on a time you had to change the brand campaign strategy or idea after work on it had begun.
- Can you tell us about your most successful brand campaign?
- Recount a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding brand management. What was the decision and how did you navigate it?
You Can Also: Generate Free Interview Questions to find the best behavioural questions for your brand.
Skills Judged Through Technical Questions
This is an important skill as brand managers are required to create and execute effective brand strategies that require cross-functional efforts. Knowing how to coordinate several departments and stakeholders is a valuable skill. It helps to build strong relationships within teams that help create unique and seamless branding solutions.
One of the most vital skills is having a strong vision. Setting a clear direction for the brand helps in creating a framework upon which decision-making and campaign production can take place. Without vision, it is difficult to plan for future goals, possible crises, or the organization’s overall success.
Crisis Management Skills:
Crisis management is a necessary skill as brands often face negative publicity or feedback at some point in their growth trajectory. Brand managers, therefore, must know how to respond to crises effectively. Alongside this, they should know how to minimize damage, tackle issues that threaten brand reputation, and preserve the brand’s reputation while ensuring customer satisfaction.
Red Flags to Look For
Lack of Time Management Skills:
To stay within time constraints and meet defined goals, a brand manager must have time management skills. However, the lack thereof can have several consequences. As brand managers tackle multiple projects at once, they may fall behind schedule or deliver rushed and surface-level results. This can decrease the overall standard of the organization’s representation and identity.
Lack of Strategic Thinking:
A brand manager who lacks strategic thinking may struggle with communicating effectively and planning successful brand campaigns. Additionally, it can impair the ability to conduct market research, identify growth opportunities, and prioritize KPIs. Ultimately, it disables the brand from meeting all set performance goals.
A brand manager that isrisk-aversee may not strive for authentic and organic results. A brand must stand out from competitors to gain traction and following. However, risk aversion can manifest in unremarkable and overused brand campaigns and strategies.
Soft Skill Questions
Soft skill questions are a necessary ask as they help you assess how flexible and adaptable candidates are to multiple situations. Let’s discuss some examples.
Q) How do you go about setting and clarifying expectations, goals, and roles to your team members?
An ideal candidate will talk about their approach to teamwork and leadership. Their answer will reflect an ability for goal setting, time management, and smooth communication. A good leader will not only set and clarify goals, but also motivate their team to meet them. Therefore, a crucial component of this answer is gauging how inspiring and riveting the candidate can be.
Q) What is your approach to handling negative feedback or criticism from clients or followers about your brand?
A good brand manager will carry the ability to take constructive criticism and feedback. Therefore, a valuable answer indicates a manager’s ability to face negative feedback or upset clients with professionalism. They must display empathy and take accountability for any mishaps. Criticism should not be taken as an issue; instead, a good candidate holds it as a learning opportunity to grow and better performance.
Q) How do you persuade stakeholders to buy into a branding strategy or initiative?
This question attempts to gauge a candidate’s business and communications skills with external partners or clients. Additionally, the candidate should demonstrate their ability to develop a clear strategy, communicate effectively, tailor their approach to each stakeholder, address concerns, and build trusted partnerships.
To assess more soft skills, you can also ask:
- How would you react to a situation where you found out a co-worker was dishonest at work?
- Tell us about a time you encountered conflict with a colleague or team member and how you got through it?
- How do you prioritize multiple branding initiatives, projects, and deadlines?
Skills Judged Through Technical Questions
The ideal brand manager must know how to lead and motivate their team to work towards common goals and create a thriving team environment. A part of leadership is knowing how to clarify goals, expectations, and responsibilities to each member. Additionally, a good candidate should reflect their ability to give constructive criticism and determination to obtain best possible results from their team.
This is an important skill in every position, but brand managers must specifically carry excellent communication skills. They are required to communicate brand values and propositions to the audience but also to stakeholders, employees, and clients. Brand managers must know how to curate straightforward, comprehensive, and consistent messaging that resonates with their target audience.
Without emotional intelligence, brand managers will not be able to refine their leadership or communication skills. Alongside technical expertise, a good brand manager recognizes the importance of EQ when collaborating with teams and crafting the brand identity. Not only does it help in fostering a positive and inspired work environment, but it helps understand what consumers and stakeholders require from a brand.
Red Flags to Look For
Lack of Teamwork and Cooperation:
Of course, if a candidate fails to display any inclination toward collaboration, it is a warning. A brand manager must work with several departments, partners, and stakeholders to ensure a winning brand campaign. However, a lack of teamwork may lead to excess conflict, decreased productivity, and failure to deliver any results.
Lack of Organizational Skills:
Organization and multi-tasking are necessary when juggling several high-priority projects. If a brand manager lacks this skill, it risks lowering the standard of results and campaigns being led. Moreover, they may miss deadlines, upset clients, or poorly execute any strategy.
Lack of Creativity:
Creativity is essential in developing aesthetically pleasing and catchy brand campaigns which stand out from the competition. A lack of creativity can disrupt any attempt to develop and carry out projects which resonate with the audience and improve brand engagement.
Now that you have read our guide, the perfect brand manager is just an interview away. If you’re looking for more advice, our complete hiring guide can help!