10 Interview Questions to Ask a Paid Search Director [Infographic]

Business.com / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here are 10 interview questions to ask a paid search director to learn about their strategy, skill set and problem solving ability.

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When hiring for specialized roles, it can be challenging to know what the right interview questions are, especially if you’re not intimately acquainted with the role yourself.

This can definitely be said of paid search marketing—though it may sound simple, this role is the contrary. Successful paid search marketing requires a highly analytical mind, extensive knowledge of search engine marketing and stellar problem-solving skills. 

Here are the questions you need to ask to ensure that the strategy and skill set your candidate has are the right fit for you. As an added bonus, we’ve included a problem for solving to further aid in the hiring process.

Related Infographic: 10 Interview Questions to Ask a UX Designer


  1. Describe your approach to managing a Google account versus Yahoo/Bing. Do you see performance differences between the engines? A paid search director/manager should describe a strategy on how they approach the engines and if they apply resources accordingly.
  2. How do you gauge the efficiency and effectiveness of a campaign? Look for what downstream actions they mention along with CTR and amount of spend.
  3. What are your key performance indicators and how do you measure ROI? They should be able to spurt out KPIs. The KPIs will tell if they are just spending money or if they are analyzing the data to make business recommendations.
  4. What is your approach to testing? Look for what they have done in this arena and how frequently they test. Mentions of ad copy and landing page testing are important along with the cadence.
  5. Do you spend more of your time reporting on data trends, or analyzing them and making business recommendations? This will help you determine fit.

Related Infographic: 10 Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring a Product Manager

Skill Set

  1. What is your monthly spend and how many keywords are you actively managing? This question helps you compare your needs to their capabilities.
  2. What is your go-to tool in Excel? If they mention pivot tables, V-lookup and/or calculated fields, they are still in the running for the position.
  3. What is the character limit for Adwords text ads? Your candidate shouldn’t hesitate. Headline: 25, Description line 1: 35, Description line 2: 35.
  4. What tools do you use to build your campaign keywords? Answers to look for: Adwords keyword planner tool, Search Query Reports, gauging competitors and ask an account rep for assistance.
  5. What features and differentiators do you employ in your Adwords ads to drive click rate? Answers to look for: site links, dynamic keyword insertions in the titles, capitalization, phrases that work better, appending keyword or category to the end of URL and/or mentioning a brand.

Related Infographic: Hiring? 10 Interview Questions to Ask a Software Engineer

A Scenario for Gauging Candidate Thought Process

Ask your candidate to complete the following equation in order to determine their problem-solving abilities.

There are 3 million people living in Chicago. Approximately how many barbershops are there? Pay attention to what kind of assumptions are made, variables they consider and how they break down the question.


  • % of population that are male vs female
  • % of males who cut their own hair at home
  • # of haircuts each barbershop performs a year

If 3 million people…

  • ~Half is the male population so that leaves 1.5 mil people.
  • 15% may cut their own hair or have friends cut it for them.
    • ~1.275 million people


  • 15 haircuts a year which totals to ~19 million haircuts.
  • Assume 4 barbers for each barbershop that work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week = 160 hours/week per shop
  • Deduct 20% for idle time = 130 hours
  • Multiple by 50 weeks (2 weeks for vacation)

= 6,500 working hours/year

If 30 minutes/haircut = 13,000 haircuts/year

19 million haircuts/13,000 ~1,460 barbershops within Chicago

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