This week’s guest post comes from Marketwave’s creative services intern, Christine Suggs.
It’s easy to go into a job interview desperate. You’re young, maybe you’ve padded your résumé a bit (are you really fluent in French?) and your rent is due and somehow you don’t think your roommate is going to enjoy another I.O.U.
But before you throw yourself at a potential employer’s feet, ask yourself; do I really want to work here? These questions not only help you figure out what your typical work environment might look like, but it also makes you look like you’re genuinely interested—in case you’re tired of nodding emphatically.
Things to ask your interviewer:
- Who are the people I’ll be working with most closely? Can I meet them?
- What are you working on now? Is that the sort of thing I’d be working on?
- How many hours do you work a week? (Sure, your interviewer is probably higher up than you, but it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.)
And then there are the intangibles, namely work culture. Even if you’re working on the most fulfilling projects of your life, it can all be dampened by a lame supervisor or the guy who steals everyone’s lunches. Of course you won’t really know what you’ve gotten yourself into until your first day, but these questions might help gauge some of the workplace norms.
Things to look for that might not seem important but totally are:
- Do you feel comfortable around your interviewer?
- Is it an open office or cubicle-land? How much are people interacting?
- Is there music playing? Do you hate it? Or is spontaneous dancing a real possibility/danger?
- Are people plugged into headphones or starting up conversations? Which would you rather be doing?
- How’s their sense of humor? (On my first day at Marketwave, I witnessed an office prank involving a palm tree and cutout pictures of Taylor Swift.)
- Décor: is it super clean modern or a fun mish-mash of personal effects?
- Do people go out to lunch together? (Bonus points for happy hour.)
- How are they dressed? Will your closet accommodate it or are you now in desperate need of a pantsuit?
All of these questions are up to personal preference—I’m an open-office/indie rock/casual dress kind of gal, but you might be really into Mad Men or something and that’s totally fine.
To be honest, I didn’t really ask these questions during my interview for Marketwave. I did get a tour of the office, but I think I was so nervous it was all a blur of really cool purple furniture. Thankfully, I lucked out! I found myself in a super cool office full of awesome people and challenging projects. This not only made me a better designer with a better portfolio, but it made me more conscious of the type of place I want to work—which will be really helpful as I launch my job search when my internship ends at Marketwave.
What are some of your tips on finding the dream job?
Christine Suggs is a student at the University of North Texas who graduates this month. We all wish her the very best as she moves to her next professional chapter!