You just landed an interview with a PR agency you are dying to work for. Now what?
It’s time to prepare.
First, it’s important to remember that an interview isn’t a one-way street. You should interview the employer as much as the employer interviews you. Both parties want to make sure the relationship would be mutually beneficial. If an agency is bringing you onto their team, they want you to be as excited as they are.
So when you are asked by the employer, “Do you have any questions for me?” your answer should always be yes.
Do Your Homework
Before your interview, conduct thorough research on the agency. Use that research to come up with several questions tailored to them and your potential role. Tailored questions show your interviewer that you took the time to familiarize yourself with the firm.
The more educated you are about the business, its culture and clients, the better prepared you will be when they ask you questions as well.
Practice your prepared questions in the mirror or with a friend. This will help you feel more comfortable in the interview and will allow you to catch any nervous habits you may have while speaking.
Engage with the Interviewer
Amy Hoover of TalentZoo explains why it is so important to engage with your interviewers by asking questions:
“It’s expected—and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.”
To be safe, come prepared with at least 10 questions to ask (I offer suggestions for you below.) Take note, of course, if any of these are addressed earlier in the conversation, so that you don’t make the interviewer repeat themselves.
Avoid basic questions that you can find answers to by doing research online. And make sure that you’re asking intelligent questions that will actually benefit you. Don’t ask just for the sake of asking.
Seek Out Mutually Beneficial Opportunities
Here’s the best way to think about it:
If you were offered a job that day, what would you want to know about the company?
You don’t want to show up the first day and be assigned work you know nothing about or have no interest in. By interviewing the interviewer, you will get a much better idea of what you are getting yourself into.
Will you fit into their work environment? Do you like the type of work you will be given? Does the salary fit your lifestyle? Questions like these will vary from person to person, but it’s crucial that you listen to yourself and determine what you need to know during an interview.
The 10 Questions
Here are 10 questions to ask in an interview that are relevant in most cases. Unless there’s a reason not to or your interviewer is short on time, I recommend asking all 10:
- What do you like most about working for this agency?
- Can you walk me through a typical day for someone in this role?
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- Do you consider your firm a modern PR agency—and if so, in what ways are you more forward-looking than other firms?
- How often does the firm conduct formal and informal reviews of team members?
- What opportunities are available for continuing education or professional training?
- Why is this position currently open?
- What key qualities would make the person in this role successful?
- What is the next step in the process?
- What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?
Good luck, and happy interviewing!
Scott Baradell is founder and CEO of Idea Grove, a unified PR and marketing agency for B2B and technology clients. He is editor of TrustSignals.com, offering news, analysis and advice on the latest in brand trust.