3 Clever Ways to Evaluate Company Culture in an Interview

When you’re considering a new job, multiple factors will play into your decision of which company is the best fit: salary and benefits, responsibilities of the job, distance from home, and travel requirements, just to name a few. But have you considered the company’s culture?

According to CultureIQ, “Employees’ overall ratings of their company’s qualities — like collaboration, work environment, and mission and value alignment — are 20% higher at companies with strong cultures.”

Your overall happiness and satisfaction with your job could be drastically impacted by the company’s culture. But how do you know if the culture is good or bad?

ASK PROBING QUESTIONS

During every interview, there is a time for job candidates to question the interviewer about anything that’s on their mind. Consider the following questions, whose answers could be very telling about company culture:

  • How does your company support professional development? Is it a priority?
  • What kinds of events, committees, and other employee engagement activities exist at the company?
  • What is the dress code?
  • How do teams and the company overall deal with failure?
  • What is your company’s history with employee turnover? (Note: This could be something you can research online, too.)
  • How long have you (the interviewer) been with the company?
  • What are some recent challenges the company faced? How were they met?

UTILIZE YOUR NETWORK

In addition to directly questioning your interviewer, lean on your professional and personal network to evaluate the company’s culture.

Do you know anyone who’s worked for the company in the past, or who works there now? Ask around to trustworthy friends—you won’t want word to get back to your current employer that you’re job searching.

Search online via LinkedIn for past or current employees you may be connected to. Ask mutual connections for an introduction and strike up a conversation about the company’s culture.

Ask the interviewer if you can speak with some of the people you’d be working closely with. These individuals above anyone else are going to influence your view of the company culture the most. Make sure you get along with them.

If you can, talk to both current and former employees of the company—but keep everyone’s opinions and possible biases in perspective. Consider this: if someone who worked at the company for less than a year says it’s terrible, their perspective may be a bit jaded.

LOOK FOR RED FLAGS

In most circumstances, trust your intuition to tell you if there are red flags related to the company culture. For example, is the interviewer forthright in telling you specific details about their company? If not, this could mean they’re hiding something.

Another red flag could be an interview moving too fast. If you have a rushed phone call followed by a brief in-person meeting, then they offer you the job, it could mean they’re trying to fill the position without even getting to know the candidate.

ONE WAY TO GET IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT A COMPANY

If you work with a recruiter to find a new position, you’re connected to resource with in-depth knowledge of the company (their client). Lean on this partner in the job searching process to learn all about the companies for which you may be a fit.

Want to work with an executive recruiter? Submit your resume today.

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