12 Questions Smart Marketers Ask to Find the Perfect Job

sheep looking up from the herd

Corporate. In one word that was my workplace culture three years ago. I was working at a top 10 SaaS company, supporting $400 million in annual revenue. We were big in every sense of the word. I should have been happy, right?

Our team worked hard and we achieved a lot together. Yes, many days I was happy. But over time, I realized that corporate life was not for me. I craved more autonomy. (And fewer business trips.) I wanted to be part of a company that complemented my own goals and ambitions. I was fortunate to find that at Aha!

Most of us want more than just a job. That is why culture matters. It can be the difference between working to get paid and working for a purpose.

And it is more important than ever. Just consider this statistic — nearly 80 percent of millennials (the largest workforce in the U.S.) look for culture fit with employers over career potential. I bet that number is even higher for marketers. Why? Well, it is our job to promote the company on a daily basis.

That is why smart marketers know how to interview for culture. But what is the right fit for you? And how do you know if a company has it?

To dig into a company’s culture, it is beneficial to cover off on a few important areas: strategy, communication, transparency, and innovation. But interviews are short and you want to make the most of your time. 

So, here are questions for each area that can help you get at the truth:

Strategy
You will do your best work when you understand the company’s vision and are given a clear purpose. Remember that a clear strategy means fewer last-minute changes — a huge benefit for every marketer who dreads hearing the words “fire drill.” So, you want to work with leaders who take a goal-first approach.

Ask about how they plan and execute against strategy:

  • How does this role contribute to the company goals?
  • What metrics do you use to measure success?
  • How do you plan for upcoming product launches?

Communication
Marketers are master communicators, so be sure the company matches and values those skills. Get a sense for how freely information is communicated. If the exchanges appear hierarchical — with communication coming from the top-down only — you might not achieve much. But you will likely flourish in a culture that embraces responsiveness and two-way conversations. 

These questions can help you learn more:

  • What has been your most successful campaign in the past?
  • How do you deliver positive and negative feedback?
  • How often do you hold meetings? And what do you discuss in those meetings?

Transparency
Determine what relationships are like — both within the marketing team and across the organization as a whole. It is important to know if information is shared freely and if there is an emphasis on collaboration. Most marketers benefit from having autonomy to get their work done while also understanding the “why” behind the work. A heavy dose of fun and kindness does not hurt either. 

Uncover their approach by asking:

  • Who has the most input on marketing projects?
  • How often will I work with people in other departments?
  • Can you tell me about the last team or company event?

Innovation
Marketers have creative minds, so it is important to get a sense of the role innovation plays in the company’s culture. You will likely grow frustrated if the motto is, Do not rock the boat and it will never sink. Suss out how the company approaches new ideas and campaigns.

To find out what makes their marketing team stand out from the rest, ask the following:

  • What do you do to stay up-to-date with new marketing techniques?
  • How has the company changed most since you joined?
  • What acquisition channels perform best and why?

Of course, culture fit is not only important for marketing professionals. All of us thrive when we are a part of a workplace that embraces collaboration, strong relationships, and creativity.

I believe that when you can match your talents with the right culture, your accomplishments will soar. And you will be happy doing the work. I know that’s what happened to me.

What is your perfect workplace?

About Keith and Aha!

Keith is a product marketing pioneer. He is the Marketing Director at Aha! — the world’s #1 product roadmap software. Previously he blazed new trails in customer acquisition strategy at RealPage [RP], a top 10 SaaS company with more than 60 products worldwide.

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