11 Interview Questions I love

The Growth Report #55

Happy Friday Maverick Marketers!

First of all thank you so much for all your messages of relieve that this newsletter is back in your inbox.

Some of you were fearing the worst because we were on summer break for a couple of weeks. Let me assure you: This publication is here to stay.

And for the 25 of you who are new this week, welcome to the party 👋

Alright, so let’s get into…


...Today's topics

📈 Hiring Marketers:
11 Interview Questions I love

🧰 Tools of the Trade:
Articles, Tools and Inspiration for Marketers

⛑️ Reflections from the Trenches:
Kick in the Butt: Effort is not optional


📈 Hiring Marketers

11 Interview Questions I love

I try to speak to at least 2-3 new people every week. Be it potential clients, partners, peers, podcast guest, or people I meet online. And I made it a habit to take feverish notes during those conversations. And then those notes often get transformed into articles or lists (gosh, I love lists!).

Hiring for values and work ethics is hard

In those conversations, hiring is one of the most discussed topics. Everyone struggles finding and screening for people who fit both their company culture and the professional profile they are looking for.

The latter is easier, but determining whether someone has a similar value system and work ethic is difficult. So whenever someone tells me a revealing question they ask their candidates, I add it to a list called Awesome Interview Questions (I know...). And I thought I share my favorite 11 of them with you today.

My 11 Favorite Interview Questions

  1. What’s a reason why we should not hire you?

  2. When is it okay to break the rules?

  3. You have 5 minutes. Teach me something new. Anything!

  4. What is the thing that breaks your heart?

  5. What is an article or book you read recently that changed your mind about something?

  6. What would the title of your autobiography be?

  7. What’s something you’re bad at that you really wish you were good at.

  8. Tell me about some people you’ve helped in your career.

  9. Give me a single sentence to tell our CEO about you when I see her later today.

  10. What’s your favorite part of your current (or previous) job?

  11. How does this position relate to what you really want to be doing?

The last one is my personal favorite. 🤓

A lot of these questions are revealing, because they dig deeper into the motivations of the person in front of you.

And by the way — I believe that interviewing is a two-way street. I wish a had a similar list of questions that applicants could ask the interviewer!

If you got other ones that you like to ask, please send them over.


🧰 Tools of the Trade:

Articles, Tools and Inspiration for Marketers

💬 Progress and Setbacks.

"Progress happens too slowly to notice, but setbacks happen too quickly to ignore." — Morgan Housel, The Psychology of Money

👨‍🎓 Marketing & Leadership Education

  • Deploy Empathy - A practical guide on how to interview your customers. Buy this for yourself and your team and then go out and put customer research into practice. It will change the way you do business. I know it did for me.

  • LinkedIn Marketing Job Report - A deep dive into the in-demand marketing jobs of today and the skills that will be relevant tomorrow. If you are a marketer, I encourage you to at least skim this and make your own conclusions on how these developments affect your career.

🤩 Brands and (digital) Products that caught my eye

  • PodLink - If you have a podcast this little service is a real time-saver. Search for your podcast and all episode links on all platforms are displayed at once. Makes sharing much easier! -> Example with my podcast.

  • SmartMockups - Put your products on mockups of books, screens, frames hanging on the wall, and even outdoor billboards.

  • Tally - Say goodbye to Typeform. This is my new favorite form builder. Looks and feels like Notion which doesn’t hurt ;-).

📚 Interesting reads

  • The Age of Infinite Leverage - Leverage is a force multiplier for your effort, skill, and judgement. And the internet brought this power to your fingertips.

  • Learn Like an Athlete - The more you learn, the easier it is to learn. Pick the right projects, and you’ll develop a personal network effect, where each new skill increases the value of skills you already have.


⛑️ Reflections From the Trenches

Effort is not optional

The wonderful and funny Ava @noampomsky wrote the following passages in a recent post:

I think a lot of people want to be but they don’t want to do. They want to have written a book, but they don’t want to write the book. They want to be fit, but they don’t want the tedium of working out. They’re ashamed of rejection and they’re ashamed of imperfection. Fantasy is easy and effort is punishing. Seeming is always easier than being.

But she's not done yet...

Here’s what I know: if someone’s much better than you at something, they probably try much harder. You probably underestimate how much harder they try. I’m not saying that talent isn’t a meaningful differentiator, because it certainly is, but I think people generally underestimate how effort needs to be poured into talent in order to develop it.

And we don't like to hear that right? We like to explain the big successes of others with sheer luck and talent. Because then we are off the hook.

It's no surprise we wiggle ourselves out of responsibility when we see the accomplishments of others. Because effort is under our control. And as Ava wrote...

...Seeming is Always Easier Than Being

Putting in the effort means that we need to try a lot. And trying looks ugly. Trying is not glorious. There is years of wanting and hoping and working when reward is uncertain.

But whether it's in our relationship, our career, our hobby or our life as a whole:

Effort is the price we pay for unlocking everything beautiful and worthwhile in the world.

There is no way around it.

Effort is not optional if we strive for a meaningful life.

And genuine effort seems to be where meaning comes from...but that's for another time.


That's it for this week.

Talk soon,

Sandro