There comes the point in most job interviews when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” 🤔
There’s plenty of content on how to answer questions in an interview, but not much about how to ask them.
Here are some of my go-to favourites, specifically for creative agencies:
🚪 Tell me the story of the last time you fired a client. How long ago was it? What happened?
I’m not saying agencies should fire clients left and right. The point is many of my challenging experiences in agencies were due to the combination of difficult clients and weak leadership with poor boundaries or little regard for the team’s mental health. It often required me to step in and protect the team at a personal cost. The answer can be quite telling.
🌱 What’s the background of senior people? Did they grow within the business? How quickly?
This question is great for understanding diversity and potential career paths.
🏆 Tell me the story of a project/campaign you are particularly proud of. Followed by:
More briefly, what are some past projects that are typical of what I’ll be working on?
These questions can reveal a lot about values, culture, and working style. Pay attention to: How long ago was it? What do they choose to mention/spend more time on? Where’s their passion (if it’s there at all)? Who gets the credit? How does the story reflect ways of working and client relationships?
• What’s your social media policy?
This little question can help you identify red flags around control and micromanagement.
💻 What are your remote work platforms/tools?
This gives you an idea of the company’s agility and overall relationship with technology. Are they still using outdated systems? Have they adopted tools like Slack, or do projects still happen on endless “CC everyone” email chains? Do they think about AI?
💸 Towards the end, don’t just negotiate your starting salary. Ask – What is the typical policy/rate for raises, and how long after starting the job does it usually happen? What about for over-performance?
With most agencies, getting a raise can be like pulling teeth, especially the first one. Compensation should be more straightforward, and the culture surrounding it can reveal a lot. Growing, successful organizations tend to be competitive and honest. Even if the answer isn’t your ideal, it provides a guideline for future negotiations.
🤩 Don’t fall for the one nice room. Ask to have a walk around the studio.
Observe the entire work environment as it reflects the business’s health and the team’s priorities. Also, what’s the vibe? Do people seem happy? Relaxed? Stressed? Are there rushed individuals or playful teams?
What are your favourite questions to ask? 🧐