Is it “We” or is it “Me”?

May 18, 2016

My role as a fractional CMO has me occasionally interviewing marketing professionals for vacant positions for my clients. The past week was filled with reviewing about 50 resumes and talking to a dozen candidates for a marketing coordinator position.


While the hiring process is time-consuming, it is time well spent to make the right hiring decision and have someone who will add value to your company.


I typically share practical marketing insight for small business, and while I’m usually thinking online marketing, retention strategies, positioning or some other element of marketing, hiring the right marketing person is a marketing strategy. I want to share one particular tip when it comes to choosing a marketing person.


When interviewing a marketing candidate, I quickly put them into one of two categories; “we” or “me”. In other words, is the person I am interviewing talking about “I” or “me” versus “us” or “we”.


When it comes to marketing, I think most times a team of people will out-perform a single marketer, however, when hiring a person for marketing you are hiring a person – not a team.


Candidates who primarily talk about “us” or “we” force me to change my interview approach where I focus on asking very specific questions. My quest is to understand truly the way the candidate thinks and their abilities.


When a candidate speaks in “us-es” and we-s,” I don’t know if they are talking about themselves or people they know or what.



“We managed to increase the lift of our landing page by 132%.” Wow – that’s great! So what did *you* do?


When a “we” person shows me the layout of an email campaign as an example of their work I start by asking the candidate to explain specifically what they did. I used to be surprised to learn that all they did was help choose the color of the background and others wrote the copy and tested the layout. I’ve seen it enough times that now I am surprised if a “we” person makes a significant contribution to a marketing campaign.


The are many considerations when hiring someone. For me, those that talk about “us” and “we” tend to underperform compared to candidates who say “I” and “me.” Of course, there are always exceptions.


Employers: When hiring a marketing person do they talk about themselves or do they almost always reference a team? If it’s a team, start asking very direct questions and strive to understand the skills and experience of the specific candidate.


Candidates: My advice is to make the interview about you. The nature of a job interview is to learn what you are capable of doing. Saying “I” and “me” doesn’t make you arrogant if done the right way, rather, it makes you confident, and that is important.

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