41 of the Most Surprising SEO Interview Questions

You can tell if an applicant is right for the position by asking the proper questions. These SEO interview questions can assist you in determining this.

When evaluating a candidate, a decent resume is a terrific place to start, but certifications, years on the job, and degrees can frequently mask an applicant’s genuine abilities.

Whether it’s candidates exaggerating their accomplishments or candidates succumbing to imposter syndrome and downplaying their abilities, the interview is frequently the spot to discover about a candidate’s compatibility.

In the same manner, as SEO positions have many distinct elements, SEO interviews do as well.

These questions were created to help us understand where a candidate comes from and to start a conversation to see whether they would be a good fit.

1. What is it That Interested You in Applying for This Position?

For a reason, this is a popular first question to ask in an interview: it gets right to the heart of why they’re there.

The responses can be diverse.

They may, for example, talk about their SEO skills and experience. Or they may have been pulled to your organisation despite having minimal experience with SEO but a strong desire to work for you and take on the difficulties.

You’ll learn a lot about their engagement regardless of how they respond.

2. How Long Have You Been Studying and Working With SEO?

Years of SEO experience, I’ve discovered, have little bearing on a candidate’s actual work expertise and ability to produce results.

Nonetheless, this is a great question to ask to determine not only how long they’ve been in SEO, but also what led them to it and whether or not they’re still studying it.

3. How Do You Think Your Specific Experience Will Benefit Us?

This question gets right to the point of the previous one. You want to know how much the candidate adds to your company’s bottom line.

If they don’t see the value they provide, it’s possible they don’t provide much value at all.

4. Describe Your Perfect/Dream Digital Marketing (or Any) Job.

Allow the prospect to tell you exactly what they would love to accomplish every day to see whether it is similar to what they would do for you.

If the candidate’s dream job has little in common with the job you’re hiring for, you should probably put them on the “No” list.

However, if the two are compatible, you may have found a perfect match.

5. What is it About SEO That You Like? Why Do You Do it for a Living?

This is an excellent question for determining the candidate’s industry and company longevity.

If they don’t care about SEO, they might be applying for this job as a stepping stone to something else.

It’s up to you whether or not it matters.

6. What Does an Average Day/Week at Work Look Like for You?

Allow the candidate to describe what they expect the position to be like or what their current employment is like in this section.

Is the candidate satisfied with their current work, and does it reflect what they will accomplish for you?

This should be a dialogue; also, tell them what an average day or week in the role you’re hiring for will be like!

7. What is One Thing You Most Look Forward to Doing Each Day at Your Current Job?

Whether candidates are a good fit, or if they are willing to perform tasks they don’t enjoy, you want them to have things they enjoy in their work.

You want to make sure that what they most look forward to in a job is something they can look forward to doing when working for you. Unless, of course, the answer is “leaving,” in which case they can do that right now!

8. What is Your Particular Area of Expertise, or Something You Are Particularly Good at in SEO?

This question’s response will most likely be the same as the one above, however this is not always the case.

If it isn’t, this is generally the one thing they would most like to look forward to if given the chance.

So the question is whether you’ll be able to provide them with that opportunity.

9. In What Specific Verticals of SEO Do You Have Experience?

This refers to their general level of expertise in SEO and related fields.

You’re not looking for expert status in each of them; rather, you’re interested in learning more about their backgrounds.

Is this the information you’re looking for?

10. On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Would You Rate Yourself as an SEO Professional?

I adore self-evaluation questions. You’ll be able to measure their expertise and experience based on the answers to all of these questions.

Check to see if that corresponds to where they believe they are.

If you have someone who places an excessive amount of value on oneself, you may run into problems down the line. And if they undervalue themselves, you can factor it into your assessment of their other abilities.

11. What Do You Need to Do to Get to the Next Level?

If they didn’t give themselves a perfect score in the previous question, there’s always opportunity for development.

This is where you’ll find out if they’re aware of how much room they have to expand. It also sets the stage for them to take on the challenge of achieving it.

12. How Do You Stay Organized and on Task?

Learn a little about the candidates’ approach to SEO work.

Lack of organisation or a fly-by-night attitude, for example, might be significant red flags.

13. What Types of Sites Have You Worked on, and to What Extent?

This inquiry will allow you to gain a firsthand insight of their previous work.

They should be able to show you some websites, show you specific results, and explain how their participation contributed to those results.

14. What Programming Languages Do You Have Experience With?

You’re interested in more than simply the languages; you’re interested in the breadth of their experience and understanding of each.

Although none of them may be a deal-breaker for you, knowing about them will help you evaluate their total value to your firm.

15. What CMSs Do You Have Experience With?

We asked about the candidates’ preferred content management system in the knowledge-based interview questions.

We’d like to know what systems they’ve worked within the past and to what extent.

Even if they prefer a single CMS, a well-rounded applicant will have familiarity with numerous CMSs.

16. What SEO Tools Do You Use and Why?

Every SEO has a set of tools that they prefer to use. They may or may not be the tools you use, but this is a great opportunity to learn why they chose one tool over the other.

You should also consider if they would be able to do their duties efficiently if that instrument were no longer available.

17. What Technical SEO Skills Do You Have?

Is the candidate merely capable of conducting a review and providing suggestions, or is he or she also capable of putting the recommendations into action?

Although not every SEO has developer-level expertise, they should be able to use some technical SEO skills.

18. What Non-Technical Skills Do You Have That Are Relevant to SEO?

Is the candidate capable of writing informative blog posts?

Do they have a great sense of what makes a terrible link?

Are they capable of collaborating with other developers to complete projects?

There are several non-technical talents that are useful in SEO. This is the time for the candidate to explain who they are and why they are important.

19. What is Your Specific Experience With Social Media, Content Development, and Analytics?

Is there any experience outside of SEO that the candidate has?

Even if you aren’t recruiting someone for those other areas, the SEO professional may be required to execute some of those tasks on occasion.

Their level of expertise in these areas has the potential to tip the scales in their favour.

But beware: if they excel in another area, it will almost certainly come at the expense of their SEO abilities.

20. How Do You Feel About Link Building?

Link building can be an important component of an SEO strategy, but it can also be a gateway to black-hat SEO tactics that can get a site into serious difficulty.

You should also learn about your candidate’s link-building strategy.

Do they, for example, develop and promote content? Do they comprehend the concept of link reclamation? Do they understand the significance of linkages and how different types of links work?

21. What Has Been Your Experience Getting Content Featured in Featured Snippets?

The SERP landscape is no longer dominated by ten blue links. Understanding how content links to inquiries and how those connections can result in featured snippets, on the other hand, can be a wonderful method to find out how a candidate views material and structure.

22. How Have You Utilized Structured Data?

SEO is becoming more and more reliant on structured data.

Allow the applicant to explain the schema they used and show you the results.

23. Have You Ever Performed a Detailed SEO Audit?

Unless they are a complete beginner in SEO, every SEO job candidate should have performed a thorough site audit.

Use this question to talk about the kinds of things they look for during an audit. Even better, obtain a copy of an audit they’ve completed.

24. Have You Ever Set up Analytics? To What Extent?

Although knowledge of how to set up a Google Analytics account isn’t needed for an SEO, it is a good skill to have.

You want to know if they’ve done more than just install the code, like setting up different types of goals and tracking in the Analytics account.

Have they used any other analytics tools, such as Adobe Analytics?

25. What Are the Different Ways to Keep a Site out of Google’s Index? Which Do You Use and When?

This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. When answering the knowledge-based questions, they should have been able to outline the various strategies.

This is an opportunity to delve a little more into why they would choose one over the other and in which circumstances.

26. Have You Ever Built Any Tools of Your Own to Assist With Your SEO Efforts?

Most SEO professionals aren’t technologically advanced enough to create their own tools, so don’t worry if they haven’t.

If you said yes, find out what the tools were used for and if they would be carrying them with them.

27. If You Could Build One Tool That Doesn’t Exist Today, What Would It Do?

Regardless of whether the SEO is capable of developing their own tool, they should have some suggestions for tools that are now lacking.

This response can shed light on a variety of aspects of this SEO expert’s experience, knowledge, and even talent.

28. Take an Average Ecommerce Website. How Many Hours Do You Think You Would Need to Invest Monthly for a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign?

The answer will be based on a number of elements, but let the candidate define those factors and try to come up with a solution.

The number of hours should be within the scope of reason based on the criteria they outline.

29. How Do You Adapt to the Needs of Different Clients?

This is a question for agencies, but it may also be applicable for an in-house SEO who will be handling many brand sites.

Some SEO professionals have a hard time transitioning from one client or brand to the next. You want to see if this person can handle these transitions, which can happen several times a day, if not an hour.

Also keep in mind that if you’re searching for an in-house position, a candidate with an agency history can become bored working on a single customer. Let’s have a look at this.

30. How Often Do You Communicate With Clients and/or Management Regarding Your Progress?

This is where you’ll find out if the candidate prefers to operate alone in a vacuum or if they’ve worked with others who are monitoring their development.

Although strong communication skills are not required for SEO, they are virtually always required for the role.

31. What Do You Do When You Cannot Get a Critical Recommendation Implemented?

This question elicits important aspects of temperament as well as problem-solving abilities. Learn how they react, who they blame, and what they plan to do next.

This can reveal a lot about the candidate’s attitude on things that aren’t under their immediate control.

32. How Closely Do You Adhere to Google’s Guidelines?

Google’s standards may or may not be important to you, but every SEO has an opinion about them. You want to know whether their adherence to Google’s rules will be an assistance or a hindrance to the task you need to be done.

33. How Much Weight Do You Apply to Things Google Spokespeople Say About the Algorithms?

The things Google’s spokesmen say are treated with varying degrees of reverence by SEO practitioners.

Where your prospect falls on that range will provide you with more information about their thinking and behaviour.

34. Have You Ever Had to Get a Site Removed From a Google Penalty?

What led you to believe it was penalised, and what did you do to rectify the situation?

Almost every SEO expert has come across a website that has been penalised by Google. The response to this question will reveal more about the candidate’s assessment skills as well as their ability to solve difficulties for others.

35. Have You Ever Been Responsible for a Site Getting Penalized by Google? What Did You Learn From That?

If they have, don’t be concerned. The fact that they were fined may have been a turning point in their careers… Alternatively, it may have been just another day at work.

The crucial aspect here is what the candidate did in such a situation, both to reverse and prevent a site penalty from occurring again. Use this information to determine the level of risk they pose to your firm.

36. Tell Me About Your Biggest SEO Screwup, What the Results Were, and What You Did About It.37. What Is Your Most Significant Success in SEO?

Aside from the risk of having a site penalized (if that is the case), the candidate should be able to be forthright about a truly humiliating error.

Allow them to talk about what went wrong and what happened afterwards.

37. What Is Your Most Significant Success in SEO?

You want to look at the depth of the candidate’s success because this question should be simple for them to respond to. Check to see if it’s genuinely something to get thrilled about.

38. What Metrics Do You Use to Measure SEO Success?

This is one of the most crucial questions to make.

Finally, you want to make sure the applicant is focusing on measures that genuinely matter and make a difference, rather than superficial numbers that make them feel good.

39. Can You Provide Me With Some Sample Reporting You Provide Clients?

You’ll also want to get a hold of any other reports the applicant has written for clients or their employers, in addition to the site audit you may have requested above.

These reports will serve as an additional tool for evaluation.

40. If You Ran Your Own Agency, Pick Two of the Three: Quick, Quality, or Low Cost.

This is an inquisitive question. There is no right or wrong answer, but it might reveal a lot about the candidates’ mindset and working style.

That mindset will influence how they carry out the work they undertake for you, for better or worse.

41. If SEO Wasn’t a Thing, What Do You Think Would You Be Doing Instead?

This is an excellent inquiry that will provide you with further information about the candidate’s interests. You’ll often discover that the skills they’d need for this other job may be transferred to their SEO work.


Understanding the backgrounds of your prospects is crucial to the hiring process.

You are not obligated to answer all of the questions. However, you should ask enough questions to get a good idea of the candidate’s real-world digital marketing experience.

The more you understand about their situation, the better. Continue to ask questions until you’re sure you’re a good match for the prospect – and they’re a good match for your firm.

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