The easiest thing to ask identify an expert is what campaigns have they ran and what are some specific successes they've found....if they can answer this with exact keyword mentions...then they know their stuff.
1. Look for someone who can give you their thoughts on the biggest opportunities and risks in PPC over the next year, two years.
2. Look for someone who can answer questions about recent (last month) developments on the major PPC platforms/software.
3. Look for someone who can give you very specific examples of what they have achieved in PPC both strategically and tactically in the last 2 years. Further this by asking them to break down how they came to their strategic and tactical decisions.
4. Follow up with any references they give. I know this sounds obvious but so many people don't do this.
5. Ask them about the project they are most proud of.
6. Ask them to tell you about their biggest PPC mistake.
7. Ask them to tell you about who's PPC ads they admire. Who do they study and think do PPC well.
8. Ask them what they want to achieve that they haven't achieved already.
9. Give them a practical test/brief. E.g. give them a scenario and then 20 minutes to come up with a top level strategy and 3 example PPC ads relevant to that scenario.
10. Be open with them about your goals for PPC, how it fits in with your own strategy and ask them to break down what they would be doing in the first month of working with you if they were hired.
These are just some example questions that should help you gauge their experience, interest and self-awareness and should give you a vision for what it would be like to work with them if they are to be appointed.
Since algorithm updates started in 2015, the most important factors in a PPC campaign have changed. Be sure to ask your candidates what are the most important statistics they look for in a good campaign. If Quality score and Relevance are not the first or second answers, then your PPC candidate still adheres to an old-school of thought where "as long as I am paying for top ranked keywords, we will be fine."
Truth of the matter is, Google cares more about now how relevant your link is to users searching those terms. If many users click 'back' immediately after clicking your link, your page is not helping them solve the problem they are searching for. High-quality ads cost less and rank higher on the search engine results than someone even willing to pay more.
Check out this answer from Google to learn more.
My main red flag would be someone who doesn't understand your business and doesn't ask the salient questions as they relate to PPC.
I would come armed with all of the business metrics; who your main competitors are, what CPA you will want to achieve from PPC, how you will measure success, what tools are relevant to understanding your particular market etc. Ask the right questions then see how your candidate responds.
Let me know if you would like a call to discuss what these metrics and how best to plan a strategy around PPC.
I'm the paid search lead for a digital agency in San Antonio, Texas and recently hired someone to fill an analyst role.
During the interview process, here are a few things that I considered red flags:
1. Someone who isn't familiar with Excel. Anyone who's going to be managing paid search accounts absolutely has to be comfortable with data analysis. To be able to pull actionable insights from AdWords and manage campaigns efficiently, that person must have solid Excel knowledge. I place such a high importance on this that I look for this before AdWords platform knowledge.
2. Someone who demonstrates no intellectual curiosity. PPC platforms are constantly changing. In 2014, there were over 40,000 changes to Google AdWords alone. If I detect that someone lacks intellectual curiosity - let alone an intense curiosity for the platform they'll be managing - this is another immediate red flag. To me, a lack of curiosity is a sign of what will eventually become outdated tactics, predictable strategies, and declining results.
3. Someone who doesn't have your business's goals in mind. A good candidate should ask things like, "What are your overall business goals? How does PPC fit into your business's overall goals? How much of your overall business goals is PPC responsible for?" A person who asks questions like these is infinitely more valuable than someone who makes false promises or insists that they're doing their job just because conversions are up.
To recap, I have three main recommendations:
-Look for a strong analytical thinker. Do they know how to set up an A/B test? Do they know how to use Pivot Tables in Excel? If not, they're unlikely to add significant value
-Look for someone who demonstrates passion and curiosity about the field. If they can't remember the names of any industry blogs or books they recently read, that's a huge red flag
-Look for someone who will put your business goals first. Does the interviewee ask questions about your business? Can they work with the math to determine ROI and help you work through realistic goals? If not, this is also a red flag
I hope these tips are useful to you and that your interview process goes well! I'd be curious to learn more about what you're looking for. Feel free to call if you have any questions!