We’re always taught how to say the right things at a job interview:
- “I have wanted to work at your company for as long as I can remember.”
- “I am deeply interested in [insert company specialty here].
- “I am freelancing because I wanted more time to, well, write.”
- “My biggest weakness is working too hard because I love what I do so much.”
- “My biggest passion is writing. And only writing.”
Phew! Nailed it. But what do you say when they ask if you have questions for them?
In my experience, saying the “right” things may help you pull off a successful interview, but it doesn’t get you any closer to finding the right job. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left an interview with a warm, fuzzy feeling but no greater clarity on whether or not the position was a good fit for me.
Remember, interviews are just as much for you as they are for the employer. Instead of giving the right answers, we need to focus on asking the right questions. After all, your happiness as an employee will directly affect your employer’s happiness with you. Contrary to popular belief, honesty is not a naïve and junior blunder. In fact, it might just be the smartest career move you can make.
When preparing for your next interview, here are some questions to ask yourself…and ultimately, your interviewer:
- Why are you a writer? What compels you to write? This is my favorite question to ask a future employer because it sheds light on their passion and primary objectives in life.
- What was the most rewarding campaign you worked on and why? This is great to hear from the employer’s point of view as well as it will give you a glimpse of your boss’ values, ideals and the client-agency dynamic.
- What type of writing would this position mainly involve? Find out what style, tone and length of writing the position requires and if it fits your interests and strengths.
- What is the daily process like between the creatives and the account team? Be aware of how you work most effectively, whether it’s more privately in a cubical or collectively in an open environment.
- How is creativity fostered within the company and how is it encouraged outside the office? The best bosses invest in their employees beyond the duties of the office. A happy, inspired writer is good writer.
The more questions you ask, the less questions you’ll have about whether or not a job is a good fit. May your next interview bring you closer to the right job, even if that means saying less of the “right” things to get there.
Katie Homer -Copywriting
Katie Homer is a certified copywriting chameleon with four years of experience, living in New York City. She has created campaigns for HBO, Starbucks, Guinness, Bank of America, AT&T, Scholastic, General Mills, MasterCard, Sony Ericsson, and Chevy, to name a few. She has experience working at full-service agencies, smaller start-ups, and a marketing department in-house, writing copy for everything from print, TV, radio, and direct mail to emails, websites, catalogs, brochures, product descriptions, seed packets and even umbrellas.