Multiple rounds of job interviews are common, especially for more senior positions. If an employer is looking for a marketing executive, you can expect at least two or three sets of interviews. Even many mid-level roles will have you returning once or twice for additional vetting. And if you walk into those additional rounds expecting a simple Q&A format, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.

The first round of a marketing job interview should be just that–an interview. They ask questions, you provide answers. Of course, you should be able embellish your responses with relevant experience and be prepared to ask a few questions of your own. But overall it will usually be a fairly straightforward back-and-forth exchange.

However, as recruiters for marketing positions we see that expectations from employers change dramatically after the first interview. If you want to nail these additional sessions, you need to change the way you consider and prepare for them.

How to Prep for Interviews 2, 3 and Beyond

recruiter for marketing jobs interviews

Have you received an invitation to return for another interview for a new marketing job? Congrats! Now time to make the most of the opportunity:

Change Your Mindset

If you’ve made it past the first round, you’ve already shown that you meet minimum qualifications, can answer questions, and can present yourself professionally. Now it’s time to step up your game and prove that you’re a great fit for the organization and prepared for the role. That means doing extra homework and engaging the interview panel not as question dispensers but peers and equals.

After the initial interview, it’s important to stop thinking about the interview as a question-and-answer session. Instead, walk into them prepared for a lengthy, in-depth discussion that will cover a variety of topics. There may be some questions to get the conversation started; but you’ll be expected to convert the answers you provide into meaningful discussion about your experience and skills, the state of the organization’s marketing, and where you fit in.

Also keep in mind that the people you’ll be interacting with in further interview rounds will typically have more seniority, experience and authority. Your first interview may have been with just an HR rep and/or hiring manager; secondary rounds will often have peers of the position and the head of the department. If the organization is looking for a marketing executive, that will often mean the CMO or even the CEO.

Extra Credit Homework

In order to hold up your part of those in-depth discussions, you must know what you’re talking about. That means carefully researching the organization.

In particular, you should pay special attention to what the company’s primary pain points are (and what you bring to the table to alleviate them).

Make sure you take advantage of your first interview to ask pointed questions on expectations for the role, what success looks like, and what challenges it’s expected to overcome.

Additionally, you should examine the organization’s website and digital presence. If it’s a publicly traded company, look at their performance over the last ten years. Look for instances of them in the news. Find advertising materials they’ve distributed online or elsewhere. Take notes of what you think they’re doing well, and where they seem to struggle. That’s where you can discuss how your experience and skill set can help them improve.

A two sided “SWOT” analysis that evaluates the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of both yourself and the organization is a great way to make the most of your research.

Stand Out in High-Stakes Marketing Interviews with a Two-Sided SWOT Analysis

Find out who will be on your interview panel and do some research on them as well. Look up their LinkedIn profile to make sure you understand exactly what their role is. Check for anything you have in common, or any connections you might share.

Stand Out to an Employer Looking for a Marketing Executive

If there’s ever a time to go above and beyond to prove you’re right for the job and really, really want it—this is it.

How you choose to do that is up to you, and should depend on your own strengths and the nature of the organization you’re looking to join.

If you’re ever unsure of how to really impress interviewers and stand out among your competition, try developing something like a 100-day plan or 30/60/90 plan.

This can be a particularly effective way of stepping up your game for subsequent interview rounds. It shows that you’re very interested in the role and committed to getting onboard and quickly making a difference.

Distinguish Yourself in Any Marketing Job Interview with a 30/60/90 Plan

Practical Prep

A first interview will typically be fairly short even for very advanced marketing positions–often just an hour or so. Even if you’re not feeling great, most professionals can at least “fake it” for an hour and push through convincingly.

But subsequent interviews are often quite lengthy, involving multiple people over several hours. During that time you’ll have to be alert at all times. It’s a mental marathon; prepare accordingly.

Make an extra effort to eat well and get plenty of rest in the days leading up to the additional interviews. The last thing you want is to have your mind clouded by exhaustion, or a great discussion interrupted by a rumbling stomach. Some people find that some kind of physiological discipline like moderate exercise or meditation can also help manage pre-interview stress and aid mental focus when the time comes.