5 Interview Questions To Understand An Agency’s Culture

March 24, 2021

Company culture. This is a phrase that is almost always brought up in a Jelly interview by the interviewee. Wanting to know the environment of the workplace you plan to enter is expected, and encouraged! If you are going into an interview with an agency, there are 5 important questions to ask in order to get a real understanding of what the company’s culture is like both between employees and their clients. 

What is the chain of command like?

When entering a new position, knowing what the structure of the leadership team looks like is a great way to predict your experience. Having an understanding of how support is provided at an agency starting at the point of your interview, will be beneficial for you. 

Questions you should be asking to understand the chain of command are things like who are the owners, and how many are there? Additionally, you’ll want to have a grasp on whether communication is open with the owners and whether you are able to address things directly with them. If you have a great idea to share with someone in leadership, does the buck stop with them or are there multiple decision makers within the leadership team that can discuss your ideas more?

The goal is that you can trust that the agency you plan to work for offers support across all levels and provides clear communication tools. 

Does your Glassdoor rating reflect the reality of the company?

Glassdoor can vary in terms of the reflection it provides of a business. It is hard to know an employee’s unique experience and why they felt positively or negatively about their time working at a given company. Being able to ask in an interview what their understanding of their company culture is and how they’ve improved upon feedback will be key in having a better idea of what your experience will be like.

Pull out a couple of quotes from the Glassdoor reviews and have the interviewer explain them – good and bad. This will provide you with a sense of their culture. 

Are you a B Corp?

Understanding the company you are interviewing for, beyond their business goals, is huge. How does the company plan to benefit its community and society and what are they committed to changing? If the goals of the company are to help those and extend beyond just business targets, there’s a higher chance their agency culture will reflect this. By knowing this fact up-front, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how you will be interacting within the company.

If they’re not a B Corp – find out why? Is there something that’s stopping them from becoming one?

Are any of your clients more than 10% revenue?

Discerning a company’s client concentration will help you in understanding their overall value and culture when it comes to clients. If a client is more than 10% of the overall revenue, this can lead to the risk of lack of diversification and divert resources away from smaller customers. If a company is focused on benefitting the relationships of larger clients, this can trickle down to your work environment and what is expected of you. 

Clients who are more than 10% revenue can become bullies which will affect the staff directly. There are a lot of impacts that can come from having these clients including them firing their agency or the agency may fire them due to the more bully-like behaviour. How your agency approaches these clients or situations will impact your experience directly. 

Have you fired a client? Why?

When it comes to firing a client from an agency, it usually comes down to where the priorities of the agency lie. Does the agency put clients first or staff first? In the case a client is being unreasonable, an agency can either let their staff take on the conflict or they can step in to provide additional support and, in some cases, have to let go of the client. Having an agency that puts the well-being of its staff first, will likely have an overall positive company culture.

Consider these questions in your next interview to not only impress the agency you are interviewing for but to equally prepare yourself before starting a new position!

Read about Jelly’s Core Values and how we use them within our agency culture.