August 12, 2009

Gliebers Dresses: Marketing Candidate Interview Schedule

The Gliebers Dresses Executive Meeting will focus on candidates for the open Chief Marketing Officer position.

Glenn Glieber (Owner): "... it really is amazing that Sarah Wheldon is telling the world that Anna Carter is going to shut down their catalog division in 2010. Are they stupid? Is she stupid? Was she stupid when she worked here? She was the biggest catalog advocate in this whole company. She added all of those catalog in-home dates in order to grow sales. Now, she's being interviewed on CNBC, bragging about how Anna Carter will save all of this money, telling the world that there are enough online channels to more than make up for the sales lost by a paper catalog. I even heard that Catalog Decide, the leading opt-out vendor, is thinking of naming her their Executive of the Year. Cripes, all of this publicity will cause their outcome to be positive. But don't people understand that the catalog is the backbone of the brand? She's going to kill their business, I'm telling you. Their web sales will plummet by 40% or 50%, they won't have any telephone sales, and Anna Carter is going to simply 'go off'. Maybe Anna hired her to be the fall person for when this strategy fails."

Meredith Thompson (Chief Merchandising Officer): "Kevin, is that you?"

Kevin: "Yup, it's me".

Candi Layton (HR and Chief Customer Officer): "Well, Pepper and I combed through the 275 resumes that we received, and we've narrowed the field down to three highly qualified individuals. During the next two weeks, we will fly the candidates to New Hampshire."

Meredith Thompson: "Will we continue our long-standing tradition of group C-Suite interviews?"

Candi Layton: "Absolutely. There's no reason to mess with tradition here at Gliebers Dresses."

Roger Morgan (IT and Operations): "Oh, I'm so excited! It is so much fun to cross-examine potential candidates so that we can evaluate their skills and group dynamics. Lois, remember what I asked you when you interviewed with us last year?"

Lois Gladstone (Chief Financial Officer): "You asked me to tell you the capital of Nebraska."

Roger Morgan: "And the look on your face when you answered 'Lincoln' told me that you could handle pressure. Those folks at Google and Microsoft ask goofy questions like that, and look at what kind of candidates they recruit ... they get the best of the best, folks, while we all get the best of the rest. We need to compete with them, to use their tools to our benefit!"

Candi Layton: "So we have three candidates. Maria Garcia is the Online Marketing Executive at, an online brand that allows users to make personalized gifts. Duncan Berkshire is the Divisional Vice President of Brand Marketing for Blast Candy Bars, and Stan Klepsky was previously the Executive Vice President of Marketing for the Bentley catalog, they sell jewelry. He was downsized in December. I guess Bentley chose to promote the Online Marketing Director to the EVP/Marketing position."

Roger Morgan: "Just think of the questions I can ask, questions that will get these candidates out of their comfort zone!"

Meredith Thompson: "Were there any candidates that had fashion apparel experience?"

Candi Layton: "Well, Pepper, obviously. But otherwise, no, there were no candidates that were at a Sr. Management level with fashion apparel experience."

Meredith Thompson: "Why interview these folks, why not just put Pepper in the job?"

Roger Morgan: "Can we interview Pepper first? Pepper, quick, what is the capital of Idaho?"

Candi Layton: "Kevin, are there things that you look for when you interview marketing leaders?"

Kevin: "Regardless of the position, I like to create a 'quiz'. Since all interviews require some level of interpersonal banter, it is very likely that each candidate fails to receive equal treatment. The quiz has maybe five or ten open-ended questions. You're trying to learn how the candidate approaches certain issues."

Lois Gladstone: "What type of questions would you ask?"

Kevin: "I'd ask technical questions. For instance, if a catalog had 96 pages and was going to generate $3 million in sales, and you increase the catalog to 124 pages, what do you think the sales estimate is for this catalog?"

Roger Morgan: "$3.6 million?"

Kevin: "I'd ask the candidate how s/he would grow sales from catalog marketing, knowing that sales from catalog marketing have been in decline for more than a decade, just to hear how the candidate thinks about the problem."

Roger Morgan: "Mail more!"

Kevin: "I'd ask the candidate questions about the future of marketing. How would the candidate implement a mobile marketing strategy? How would the candidate measure whether social media is worth spending time on, assuming that social media will never be responsible for more than 1% or 2% of sales? How would the candidate decide which widgets to implement on the homepage? How would the candidate develop a 'pull marketing strategy'? How would the candidate integrate e-mail and social media? How many versions of an e-mail marketing campaign maximize sales? What would happen to the sales of e-mail subscribers if you stopped sending e-mail campaigns to them?"

Roger Morgan: "Do we have answers to any of those questions?"

Kevin: "I'd give the candidate a series of metrics from a recent pay-per-click campaign, and ask the candidate to calculate profit-per-new-customer. I'd give the candidate a series of events, you mail a catalog on June 1, the customer receives an e-mail on June 3, the customer orders on June 5 after clicking through the e-mail ... and then I'd ask the candidate to determine the percentage of the order that was driven by the catalog, vs. the percentage of the order driven by the e-mail campaign. You're looking to see how the candidate thinks, and you can objectively compare the answers of each candidate. And I'd ask the candidate theoretical questions about how the candidate would deal with promotions and firings and determining bonus payouts and conflicts with the owner."

Candi Layton: "Kevin, can you come up with the list of questions, and then we'll let each candidate know that there will be a one hour quiz?"

Kevin: "Sure."

Roger Morgan: "I'm really looking forward to this!"

Glenn Glieber: "Ok folks, on to the next topic. Lilly Benson in Accounts Payable says that a deer stands outside her window every day, eating our flowers and, in general, the deer stares at her and freaks her out. She wants the deer shot. She says it is an eight pointer, so it would be quite the prize for somebody. Jennifer Tillman at the Call Center heard about this, and thinks that is an inhumane way to deal with a simple problem. Jennifer wants to spray the plants with a formula that discourages deer from eating the plants, and then Jennifer wants to trap the deer, and haul the deer to Maine. But Pat Thorson in design lives in Maine, and thinks it is wrong to transport animals across state lines. Roger, can you develop a plan to deal with this deer situation by early this afternoon?"

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