Ashley Zeckman

Getting Your Dream Internet Marketing Job: How to Interview & Succeed at a Top Agency

Lake Minnetonka View from TopRank Marketing's Old Office

Picturesque view of Lake Minnetonka from the previous TopRank Marketing office

Today marks my 4 month anniversary at TopRank Marketing and almost 5 years in the online marketing industry.  It has been a goal of mine to learn as much as I possibly can from those who know the industry best.  In this seemingly short amount of time I have received, and continue to receive a top notch education at an unbeatable price.

I would like to share some of my experience to give other marketers interested in breaking into Internet marketing or continuing their online marketing education an idea of what it looks like from one person’s perspective.

The Interview Process

Do Your Homework

Walking into an interview with no base knowledge of who the company is, what they stand for, and how they operate is a huge mistake.  Especially if you are an Internet marketer.  I would recommend reviewing the following information pre-interview:

  • Company Website: This should give you a sense of the services they offer and who some of their clients are.
  • Management: If you can find information about the management team be sure to do some additional research on them as well to get a sense of their background and accomplishments.
  • Content & Social Profiles: At the bare minimum I would recommend looking at the company blog (if they have one), Twitter profile, Facebook page, and Google+ page.
  • News & Press Releases: Do a Google search to see if the company has released any exciting news over the past few months.

If you are working with a recruiter be sure to ask as many questions about the companies services, their culture, and preferences as possible.  The recruiter will typically have spoken with contacts at the company and with other interviewees post interview.  This is a great opportunity to gain some inside knowledge before you step in the door.  These are all great ways to educated yourself before walking in the door and will allow you to have an intelligent conversation about the company during your interview.

Demonstrate Value

Depending on what position you are applying for take some time to identify what you believe to be areas of need or improvement for the company.  You should walk in knowing you may not be 100% correct but it will be appreciated that you made the effort.  If applying for a social media position I would take some time to analyze what they are doing currently, what the results appear to be, as well as some recommendations for increased customer engagement.

Spending some additional time to identify what you believe to be their competitors will also be a great source for gather information.  Perhaps you notice a competitors blog or social profile that has a lot of readers or followers.  Try to identify what they are doing and how the company you are interviewing with could do that better.

Asking questions is also a great way to demonstrate value.  If you can think quickly on your feet then this will allow you demonstrate immediate value.  Some questions you might consider asking are:

  • What do you believe is your biggest area of need?
  • What would you like/need to focus on but don’t have enough time to do?
  • What personality traits are you looking for in a candidate?
  • What does the typical day look like for this position?
  • Are there any other areas of your business that you would like to grow?

Consider Each Interview a Learning Experience

Whether it is your dream job or not I believe that you should walk into each interview hoping to learn as much as you possibly can.  In addition to being a great networking opportunity it can give you a sense of what companies in the industry are looking for in a candidate, industry buzz words, and a chance to learn more from someone else in the industry.

Even If You Didn’t Get the Job, Ask For Feedback

As disappointing as it may be you will not get every job you interview for.  If you receive word that they have decided not to hire you don’t be afraid to ask why.  I recommend sending out a brief and polite email asking for feedback.  Thank the interviewer for the opportunity and ask if they have any recommendations on skills that would make you more attractive to a company like theirs because you are interested in constantly evolving your skill set.

Working for an Internet Marketing Company

There Will Always Be Other People Who Know More Than You

No matter how long you have been in the industry there will be other online marketers who know things that you don’t.  Instead of foolishly refusing to learn from these other influentials I would recommend keeping tabs on what they’re teaching and apply information that you find useful to your own strategy.  There may be tactics that you do not agree with but if anything it will give you a sense of what other respected members of the community are recommending to your potential clients.

Welcome Constructive Criticism

I for one thrive on feedback.  If I don’t know what I am doing wrong or how to fix it how will I get better?  I have a tendency to take some feedback personally because I put so much of myself into my work.  However, I’ve learned that you can’t consider it a personal attack but instead an opportunity to learn more.  Take the feedback that you’ve been given, add it into your process, and work to avoid the same mistakes next time.  Say perhaps that you don’t agree with the feedback provided?  I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with having an opinion as long as you have data to back it up.  So, until you have that information do not present an argument.  An educated opinion is worth so much more than an emotional response.

The Best Internet Marketers are Passionate About What They Do

In a field like Internet Marketing I think it is essential that you care about your work.  Care not in the sense that you like the paycheck, but that you actually have a interest in what you are doing.  Companies and clients can tell if you are not invested in marketing their product and getting results.  Social media engagement is a full time job.  You must be willing to connect even when it may not be convenient to answer the questions and address concerns of your customers and potential customers.

Adaptability & Process Are Extremely Valuable

In an industry that changes from one day to the next those that are not adaptable will be left behind.  Once you find tactics that work be sure to document them and make them part of your process.  This process will clearly evolve over time but it will help maintain order for yourself and the rest of your team.  If each team member is taking a wildly different approach to online marketing you will not be able to truly measure the success of your efforts or provide a best practice approach.

What Next?

I don’t consider what I do a job.  It is a journey and an education that I am extremely thankful for.  Through my experience I have learned what should be done, as well as what not to do.  I know that I have shared some of my personal experience but I am curious to know what helpful tips other readers in the industry might have.  If you could tell everyone one thing that you’ve learned while working in this industry, what would it be?

Are you interested in working for a company like TopRank Marketing?  If you would like the opportunity to work with us we would love to hear from you.  We are currently looking for Account Managers, as well as Search and Social Strategists to join our team.  Our Careers page on our website provides some more detailed information on our current openings.

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.


  1. Indeed, as a reader to this blog I am truly impressed by it`s content, have been coming across posts that are so very informative for me, keep impressing us! well worth the read.I found it very informative as Iclasament italia have been researching a lot lately on practical matters such as you talk about. 

  2. I’m not a Job seeker but looking here how I can do a good outsourcing for my business online, and yeah it’s great information collected here.

    Atleast I will hire the person who will follow all the facts mentioned above.

  3. I’ve learnt that you never stop learning and that you have to make sure you (and your employer) put aside time for research. The only way to stay up with the game is to keep reading and keep exploring.

  4. Avatar FREE Stuff To Get says

    very interesting information Thanks

  5. Avatar Ramesh Sharma says

     good information for seo thank you so much.

  6. nice info 

  7. nice info

  8. Really great post and i appreciate. If you go for pre-interview then reviewing the step about company website, management, content and social profile of the company.There will always be other people who know more than you. this point is really helpful for us.Thanks for sharing  wonderful post.

  9. Avatar Ashley Maynard says

    Thanks for the content. I now have an idea of how to prepare for an interview with a company like Top Rank Online Marketing.