A good marketing job interview is always a two way street. Your interviewer should be driving discussion with pointed interview questions, but in most cases candidates are expected to carry on the conversation or ask questions of their own.
This is a crucial aspect of most interviews, and the way you take initiative and ask intelligent questions of your own could mean the difference between winning a great marketing career opportunity or losing out to another candidate.
In many ways, you should be evaluating a potential employer and job just as much as your interviewers are testing and considering your experience and capabilities.
At any job interview you’ve been to before, you were probably asked toward the end if you had any questions of your own to ask. This is a crucial moment in any interview, and your response could make the difference between landing your next big marketing career move or getting overshadowed by another candidate. Whether you’re applying for your first junior level creative staffing position right out of college, or you’re being recruited for a prestigious marketing executive search, take advantage of this opportunity to set yourself apart as a candidate and make sure the position and the company are the right fit for you.
The Importance of Asking the Right Questions
Before you start worrying about what questions you should plan to ask, it’s necessary to understand why you’re asking them. That will form your interview strategy.
Too often, having a list of questions ready to ask is just a part of the “interview prep checklist” along with basic things like arriving 15 minutes early and dressing appropriately. But you shouldn’t just approach it as a prescribed formality to check off your list; instead, take it as a meaningful opportunity to learn. If you get the job, you’ll be spending a huge amount of your future time working there. Don’t you want to make sure it’s something you’ll be happy and satisfied doing?
Most importantly, your questions should be aimed at verifying that the position is really a good match for your experience and skills, and that it will serve as a meaningful step forward toward your life and career goals. Think carefully about what you want to give, and get, in this job, and design your questions accordingly.
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Your questions also serve double duty as a way to indicate your excitement about the job, the interest in the company, and a conversational tool to bring up some important parts of your experience and expertise that weren’t getting mentioned otherwise.
Asking specific questions about the company’s business moves and marketing activity give evidence that you’ve done your homework, know how to prepare for important business functions, and are enthusiastic about the opportunity. Carefully-directed inquiries into that role’s core mission, its definition of success, and the metrics by which it will be held accountable will show your commitment to pursuing the business’s goals and equips you with powerful insights that will help you in future rounds of interviews.
Catering Your Questions for Your Interviewer
One of the most important considerations when crafting your own questions for an interview is determining who will be on your interview panel. You should always go out of your way to find out who you’ll be speaking with, what their position is in the company, and how they’ll relate to the role you want to fill.
In most cases you can expect to be interviewed by your future manager/boss, or at least someone who operates at that level. Good questions for people in this position will involve getting a better understanding of their plans for the future and how you can help them achieve those goals. Some examples:
- What is your vision for the future of this team over the next few years?
- How does this role fit into that picture?
- What are some of the biggest obstacles that are holding you back from where you want to be?
Sometimes you may find yourself speaking with a future coworker who is at a similar level in the org chart to the job you want. They may even have the same job title as the one you’re pursuing. These kinds of conversation require a delicate approach; you usually want to assure them that you’re a cooperative, supportive team member who believes all ships rise with the tides. Take care to avoid questions that can position yourself as a rival for authority, recognition, and resources. These interviewers will have the best perspective on what your day-to-day work and responsibilities would look like, so take advantage and inquire accordingly:
- What’s the workplace environment and culture like?
- What kind of people tend to succeed at this level?
- What do you think about the organization’s current direction and strategy?
As marketing recruitment specialists, we typically advise against having a future subordinate interview a potential manager. Still, it happens; so it’s wide to be prepared with questions like:
- What management and leadership styles do you prefer?
- What do you want to do with your career, and what do you need to get there?
- What do you need to succeed in your position?