Top Things to Consider When Hiring an SEO

Hiring SEOs, whether you're an agency or a brand, is hard, especially in the current competitive market. So when you’re hiring it’s important you consider a range of different factors to ensure you get the best person for your role. This part of our Digital Marketing Recruitment Guidedetails the top things to consider when you are hiring an SEO Specialist.


Experience should always be one of the first things you consider when you’re hiring an SEO. If you have a fast-growing agency and need someone to get stuck in straight away, or you’re an SME with no inside SEO knowledge, you’ll likely want to consider someone who has a CV full of experience and you feel secure that you can get them in front of clients or shareholders within the first month or two.

However, if your business needs for an SEO aren’t as urgent, it’s worth keeping an open mind for an entry-level candidate that has lots of transferable skills (more on them later) and a passion to learn. It’s much harder for graduates and college leavers to get their foot in the door, and where you have the resources to train and nourish, you’re likely to retain the employee for much longer.


The ‘standard’ SEO specialities are content, tech, or link building, and many SEOs will consider themselves an expert in one of these areas, for example - some SEO's make prioritise technical SEO, whilst others may focus heavily on content led strategies. If you’re looking for a candidate with more experience, you may be looking to fill a specific ‘knowledge gap’ of one of the previously mentioned areas within your current SEO team. Hiring an expert in one of these areas will allow them to.

If you don’t have a ‘knowledge gap’ it’s worth considering a candidate who considers themselves an ‘all rounder’ SEO, so they can pick up all aspects of SEO in their day-to-day.

A lot of SEOs also have a passion for the industry outside of their 9-5 and often will take it upon themselves to train in related (though not SEO-specific) areas. Is your candidate passionate about Python or SQL and could provide your team with new, interesting ways to visualise data? Or do they have an affiliate site they’re using to test new SEO theories that they could apply to client sites? It’s always worth picking up on those things you see on a CV that may not be completely SEO related, but could benefit your team.

Transferable Skills

Now we’ve touched on the ‘hard’ skills, you also need to consider the softer skills that someone with less experience may have. It’s easy to disregard candidates without a degree, but at entry-level for an SEO role, a degree isn’t essential, and candidates may have transferable skills from other aspects of their life.

There are a number of general softer skills that you should be looking for in all SEO candidates, including:

  • Communication
  • Copywriting
  • Analytical thinking
  • Prioritisation
  • Time management

Candidates that can demonstrate they’ve got super communication skills as they’ve worked in a call centre, or a college student who has experience in putting together detailed reports for their assignments, will be able to transfer their skills into an entry-level SEO role.

Ways of Working

My final consideration is to understand how your candidate likes to work. A common example of this is working from home or remote working. If your company has gone completely remote, you need to make sure this is suitable for your candidate, as WFH life isn’t for everyone.

It’s also good to get an understanding of how your candidate likes to work day-to-day, so it’s worthwhile taking the time to explain your current SEO processes at the interview stage. Maybe you’re an agency who has a 4 client limit for SEO account managers, or you’re an in-house team who are completely set on using Slack for your internal comms. Both of these examples, while they may seem insignificant, could be a dealbreaker for the SEO who wants to work on more clients for some variety or the SEO who really hates Slack.