Over the past year I’ve interviewed for a half dozen SEO jobs at substantial companies where they’ve decided to stop out-sourcing and bring the SEO position in-house. While I have not yet decided to take any of those jobs, I have noticed some things that may prove enlightening to anyone considering making the move to corporate SEO.
Cartoon Copyright © by James Cook of SEO Refugee.com
- If contacted by a headhunter or recruiter attempting to “Qualify” you for the interview, be patient and realize that you’ll be explaining SEO to them as they may only have a passing understanding of SEO and a have a short list of our industry buzzwords in front of them.
- If the company interviewer or human resources director doesn’t understand SEO and has that same list of SEO buzzwords in front of them – be patient as well. The reason they are hiring an SEO is because they need your expertise. Just realize it will be about personalities at that point and not about your qualifications.
- If the company you’ll be working for has a home page that is a flash movie which starts playing music immediately, includes the word “Enter” or has a 30 segment image slice, politely decline the interview. You’ll never convince them that text is what gets them good search engine ranking.
- If a site:company.com query returns 12 pages on the SERPS, and they all include the same lame byline without keywords, make sure your job description includes “Content Development.” PS: “Content Development” better be in every SEO job description.
- If a site:company.com query returns 120,000 pages on the SERPS, and they all include the same lame byline without keywords, make sure your job decsription includes “Keyword Research.” PS: “Keyword Research.” better be in every SEO job description.
- If the job description puts the SEO position in the Marketing Department, smile and apply. Marketing is where SEO belongs. Textual content as a sales tool is welcome and extensive use of real words as content is encouraged.
- If asked, “Do you have experience with SEO in the field of “_____ (fill in the blank)” turn and leave the building, because they don’t understand that experience with SEO is the same in every business except for the different industry buzzwords.
- If the job description puts the position in the IT department, look out! They’ll expect an automated and programmatic solution to SEO. Automated keyword extraction tools, which take keywords from body text and insert them into Title Tags is in your future. You’ll inevitably spend your time debugging scripts so they don’t insert stop words into those tags, rather than actually writing effective tags or training content management staff to do so.
- If asked if you have experience with one particular content management platform, run – unless you are certain their CMS platform allows for manual editing of Title tags, metadata, and embedded links in body text – and that system allows for CSS attributes that can be altered to support SEO concerns.
- If the company asks if you have experience with any one particular reporting system for web site statistics and log file analytics, answer “Yes” because they all serve the same purpose, provide the same data, and export the same Excel or CSV reports. The only difference is the login username and passwords and internal navigation.
If you get the job and any of my observations here helped you in the interview, how about a link to my site from your corporate home page? 😉