As my summer internship with Quinn Thomas draws to a close and I look toward the next step in my career, I’ve learned there’s one part of the interview process that can have a significant impact on how the hiring team looks at a candidate. While you may be focusing on being prepared for any question they throw at you, it’s equally important to come up with insightful questions of your own to ask. Remember: a job interview is a two-way conversation. It’s extremely important to ask a potential employer questions about the company. This shows initiative, creativity and can help determine if the company is a good fit for you.
Here are four questions that will make you stand out from the crowd:
1. What’s your company culture like?
If your values don’t align with those of the firm you’re interviewing with, you may struggle to find your place in the company. Just because a firm has their mission and values on their website, doesn’t mean they’re reflected in how employees work together. Ask questions about specific values to learn what they care about and how they practice that every day. This shows a hiring committee that you care about truly being a member of the team.
2. How do you choose your clients?
In addition to reading through the featured clients and case studies on a firm’s website, ask questions about why they work with these clients—is it based on shared values? Does the firm focus in a particular sector? Showing interviewers you care about understanding the context of how clients are chosen shows them you care about intentional connections.
3. What is the scope of work for some of your clients?
Some firms focus primarily on public affairs, while others can handle a mix of media relations, marketing, strategy or content development. The firm-client relationship is extremely important to determine the nature of the work you’ll be doing. This question shows you understand that marketing communications isn’t one-size-fits-all.
4. Will my work be client-facing?
This one is a zinger—no interviewer will expect a prospective intern to ask whether they’ll be having direct interaction with clients! This sets you apart by showing you understand there is a distinction between what a firm does internally and what clients see.