How To Get Hired At A Top SEO Agency Part 3: Rocking The Interview

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You did it! You got an interview at the SEO agency of your dreams! Since you’ve started reading this series you now know the main things they are looking for in a SEO , you’ve mastered the SEO skills that most are lacking, and now you just need to nail the interview. A big fear for most people being interviewed is getting stumped by the questions they ask.

Well fear no longer!  We asked our panel of SEO experts what questions they ask the most when interviewing people for SEO positions.

Ash Buckles        Google + | Twitter

I like to ask SEO candidates to explain how search engines work and to get into as much detail as possible. How they describe servers, crawlers, bots, sites, content, links, etc. tells me a lot about their core knowledge and their perception of the industry.

Tom Critchlow     Google + | Twitter

If you could get an SEO tool built that doesn’t exist right now what would it be?

Bonus follow-up question: why hasn’t anyone built that already?

People don’t have to be technical to answer this but it shows great critical thinking as well as a good knowledge of the industry as it is right now.

Ian Lurie    Google + | Twitter

Define canonicalization- 90% of applicants say “Something that happens at the Vatican?” or “a meta tag?”


Cyrus Shepard    Google + |Twitter

What SEO ideas do you have for (site  Hopefully the site of the company you are interviewing for.


Wil Reynolds        Google + | Twitter

My favorite SEO question on an interview-probably this one: “When is last time you did something for the first time?”


Rand Fishkin        Google + | Twitter

I asked Rand of SEOmoz to participate in our SEO series, but he politely declined because they are a software company these days. Which means they don’t hire SEO’s much anymore, but I was not going to let that slow me down. I found this great video of Rand explaining what questions he would ask in an interview for a SEO position.

Your Thoughts?

What questions do you think are best to ask in an SEO interview?

Stay Tuned- Next time we’ll hear examples of what not to do during an interview.

Benjamin Beck
Benjamin Beck is an online marketing consultant with an emphasis in SEO & Local Search. Benjamin is currently writing a book on Link Harvesting. You... Read Full Bio
Benjamin Beck
Benjamin Beck
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  • Put your hand on the interviewers hand and say, ‘I will do anything for this job, anything’, *wink* *wink*.

    Then discuss the role of social and user signals on search ranking and conversion increment strategies via search.

    With my tips, you will be head honcho in no time and Rand Fishkin will be asking you for tips.

  • I’m very surpised that Ian Lurie encounters applicants that aren’t familiar with canonicalization.

    • Roswell,

      You’d be surprised how a lot of applicants don’t even know the basics. Thats why i like the video by Rand, he does a great job covering the basic seo questions.

  • Jake Bosworth

    “If you could get an SEO tool built that doesn’t exist right now what would it be?

    The Auto-updating, Google Algorithm App. – Complete with historical archives.

    • They don’t have an app for that yet? 🙂

      I think that was my favorite question! Let me know when you get that app created.

    • Ditto, it would circumvent the stuff my seo’s spew to me on a daily basis… At least the article above gives me some pointers to keep the on their toes.

  • Great questions, especially liked the “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” one (might have to use that myself…)

    It never fails to amaze me though just how many people fail to prepare for an interview. It’s normally the final hurdle, and if you reach that stage it’s clear that your CV and cover letter has done it’s task correctly – so why don’t people put more effort into it? A little basic knowledge and background reading for a few minutes is all it takes.

    As the age-old adage goes… Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail!

  • Jake Bosworth

    I often hire in-house SEO workers for other companies. At the first interview, they better be able to talk about the business and industry as if they spent at least a few hours doing some research.

    This shows you how they approach discovery, how motivated they are, and how well they can communicate something people are not always familiar with (SEO).

    And if they even mention “link building”, press releases or directories, they’re done, bye! I stop right there. No need to waste anyone’s time.