The Dirty Dozen: 12 Questions You Might Have to Answer When Interviewing with an Ad Agency

Walking into an interview at a creative firm can be a bit daunting if you’ve never experienced it before. You are probably expecting the standard “Where do you see yourself in five years?” questions, but that will likely not be the case. Sure, you may hear some of the questions that your college resume writing class or your Google search for “interview questions” told you about, but here’s a few others you might want to consider:

1.  What is your creative process? 

We want to know how you work––do you like to think and ponder for hours by yourself and come to the group when you’ve had your “Eureka!” moment? Do you pour yourself into hours of research before putting anything on paper? Do you want to sit around with a group of people and a bag of Cheetos, throwing out tons of ideas to hit the right one?

2.  What is the best & worst advertising campaign that you have recently experienced?

We want to hear your take on current industry trends. This question proves that you are plugged in, have an opinion and can identify good and bad work.

3.  What is your favorite thing that you have created?

Is it a strategic marketing campaign, comic book sketches, a Beyonce mash-up or maybe a perfectly organized grocery list? Just tell us about something you are proud of. We want to see your passion, no matter where it lies.

4.  Tell me about the color yellow.

Just to throw you for a loop. But seriously, tell me your thoughts on the color yellow.

5.  What is your favorite kind of project to work on?

When are you happy doing your work? Do you prefer campaigns that speak to an internal audience to build brand culture? Or do you prefer projects that help to launch a new product or service to the public?

6.  What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced with a client/project?

Yeah, tell us about the bad times. We’ve all seen our fair share of bad clients or poor project outcomes. This question is looking for character. How did you overcome the bad situation?

7.  Today a client walked in the door with a new product: a pair of vibrating socks that give you reminders during the day. Give me a tagline.

We want to see if you can think on your feet. Or if you will ask questions like “What’s the strategy?” or “Who’s the audience?” It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. Most first ideas aren’t winners.

8.  Are you comfortable with prioritizing your own workload?

We want to know if you will be able to get the job done. In a deadline-driven environment, we expect hard workers to jump in when the clock is ticking. Sometimes that means putting aside a project that you are working on, switching gears and pulling a late-night to meet a client deadline. It’s not fun, but it happens.

9.  Did you see Game of Thrones last night?

We really want to know, and we REALLY want to talk about it.

10.  Why did you leave your last job?

A searching question. We are looking for character flaws, attitude shifts or outright negativity. Generally it helps us see the person you might be when work gets tough. Sneaky, right?

11.  What was the last thing you bought/consumed that was based directly on marketing efforts you’ve experienced?

A dual question. How are you influenced by marketing and advertising? And, tell me about that fitness tracker. I am considering getting one for myself.

12.  Do you have any questions for me?

No hidden agendas here. Please, please, please ask at least one question. Ask about recent work that the agency has done. Ask about their notable clients. Ask about what they talk about at lunch. Ask about employee benefits. Asking questions shows you really care about being a good fit for the agency.

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