If you’re a modern marketer who knows what it takes to succeed in a new role, you’re most likely curious about more than just the general details about a job like requirements, pay, and benefits. You want to learn about the team and organization as a whole on a deeper, more personable level.
You can’t be successful as a marketer unless you’re in a supportive workplace environment, and the company culture is one of the biggest factors that impact your performance and attitude at work. Culture ranges from the way employees interact with each other and how they dress to leadership and importance of corporate social responsibility.
Getting the full grasp on the culture will take more than asking “what’s your company culture like?” It calls for a more candid, in-depth discussion. As marketing headhunters, we unfortunately see many marketing professionals realize the culture of an organization isn’t the right fit only after they’ve accepted the job and started working because they failed to do so during the interview process.
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Marketing Headhunters: Interview Questions to Assess Cultural Fit
The culture of a company impacts job satisfaction, performance, and ultimately your career. A marketer with even the sharpest skills cannot perform to their best ability if they’re not in a workplace environment that isn’t compatible with their own values, work style, and personality. Place yourself in the right culture and organization so that you can succeed and excel at your new job.
The person who is interviewing you is a great resource to gain a sense of the true culture of the company. If you ask the right specific questions, you will be able to get a deep insight into the company’s culture and prevent any inconvenient surprises from occuring along the way.
As an experienced marketing talent agency, we believe you must ask these questions when you go into your next interview with your potential employer in order to assess if the workplace is a right fit for you.
What is the leadership style?
The leadership within the marketing department and organization as a whole should abide by a common set of corporate values and goals. Leaders shouldn’t just preach about the culture and how it should be – they need to demonstrate their commitment to it through their own actions and behavior.
In order to gauge how the leadership style fits your own work style, you must understand how your potential boss monitors and measures performance, how they measure individual KPIs, and how they ensure the team is exceeding set goals.
Do marketing heads trust employees to make decisions? Are employees micro-managed? How does your potential boss prefer to handle conversations with his or her direct reports? These are all important questions you should try to get answered during your interviews that will give you insight into your relationship with your prospective manager.
What is it like to work for you?
If you’re interviewing with the direct Hiring Manager, this can serve as a self-awareness test for them. He or she should be able to demonstrate that their direct reports are supported and managed without sounding detached or self-absorbed. If they seem proud of the type of the mentorship they provide, they likely value and are fully supportive of the growth of their team members.
If you’re interviewing with someone from the HR team, you can ask how it is to work with your potential boss. Do they brag about how great it is to work with them, or do they seem distant and unenthusiastic?
However you approach this question, the answer should help you gauge growth opportunities and the type of support management gives even when marketing campaigns don’t always push out desirable results.
You want a team and boss who inspire you to do your best and motivate you to reach your best full capacity in your role. This often means a culture that encourages lifelong learning and leaders who encourage employees that there is always room for growth.
How are collaboration and creativity encouraged?
Is it more collaborative and team-oriented or is success merited on independent achievements? Is this an environment where people are open to new ideas and encouraged to share them?
In a supportive culture, collaboration between team members is valued, and the importance of communicating with your team is demonstrated and understood. Transparency trickles down through the team from management and facilitates successful productivity, creativity and collaboration.
Some organizations require more teamwork and engagement than others. That doesn’t mean one side of the spectrum is necessarily worse than the other, and you may find that you fit into one better than the other. If you like to work more independently, you may find a marketing department that prioritizes team social events and outings is outside of your comfort zone.
As long as you get an understanding that the leaders in the company support and encourage team collaboration in some way, you’ll be in a workplace that isn’t detrimental or unsupportive. Organizations that don’t support teamwork at all and solely focus on individual success can be discouraging and toxic.
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How are achievements/success celebrated?
What kind of employee achievements are recognized? Are expectations from management realistic and achievable? How do employees get recognized for going over and beyond expectations?
This reveals if employee or team achievements and efforts are appreciated. If they aren’t even acknowledged, it’s likely a cold and uninspiring environment.
If you’re someone who enjoys team celebrations and individual recognition, you won’t be motivated or fulfilled in a workplace that solely focuses on end results and bottom-line profit to the business.
How does change management happen?
Marketing is constantly changing, meaning organizations are forced to learn, adapt and adjust their processes accordingly. That requires marketers who are innovative and on the cutting edge to identify trends to support necessary changes and growth.
What has to happen to go through the process of making major changes in the marketing department? Are employees encouraged to introduce new ideas to upper management? Are marketing executives open to reverse mentoring?
You’re a marketer and you need to constantly innovate and bring forward new, fresh ideas. If marketing leaders won’t support you in doing so, you won’t be able to reach your maximum potential as a marketer or drive much change in the organization.
Keep in mind that these questions are designed to be used throughout the entire interview process, and will likely need to be adjusted depending on what stage you’re currently in and who you’re interviewing with. If you’re interviewing with someone from the HR team, general questions about the culture are great to ask. However, if you’re interviewing with the Hiring Manager who you’ll be reporting to, specific culture questions around the marketing department and processes are valuable to ask.
Recognize your own individual goals, work style and values to evaluate your compatibility with a company. By being strategic in the interview process and doing your own diligence in conducting research, you’ll be more equipped to find a great opportunity with a company that helps you succeed and develop your marketing career.