15 June 2017
Company culture has quickly become a top priority for many professionals. And, it should be! Employees who feel they fit into their company’s culture are not only more engaged and productive at work, but also happier in general. That being said, all job seekers should strive to make smart decisions when it comes to company culture. While cool perks can be enticing, company culture goes beyond ping pong and free snacks. A fun office environment can certainly be part of it, but culture also encompasses an organization’s missions and values, what level of work-life balance is provided, and whether teamwork or autonomy is encouraged. It also includes factors that can impact your day-to-day satisfaction, from the office layout to how fast-paced the environment is. Since company culture covers a lot of ground, there are many things to look out for when assessing whether you’d be happy and successful with a potential employer. In addition to company research and observing the environment around you, there are certain questions you can ask to gain more insight into the culture when interviewing. Here are 6 to keep in mind: How will my success be measured? Before you accept an offer, it’s important to be clear on what is expected of you as well as how your success will be determined. You’ll want to pay close attention to how realistic their expectations are, and whether or not you feel you can deliver. If not, this may point to a culture that is too metrics-driven or fast-paced for you. What was the department’s latest accomplishment, and how was it celebrated? This question can reveal if employees are recognized and thanked for their hard work. It can also point to a team-oriented workplace culture that allows individuals to understand the overall impact of their work. What are some industry trends that are impacting your work? This question can help clue you in to whether the company (or department) makes the effort to stay up-to-date with evolving industry trends. If they can’t provide you with a recent example, this should raise some red flags that the opportunity won’t be able to offer you the professional development you need for long term success. Do you offer any continuing learning opportunities for employees? If so, what type? In a similar vein, you can learn how invested the organization is in its employees with this question. Leadership development programs, mentorship opportunities, and continuing education workshops are all signs that point to a company that is interested in not only retaining its employees in the long run, but also helping them develop the skills needed to push business forward. What do you personally enjoy most about working here? Interviews can sometimes be very one-sided, so asking a question like this can help encourage the hiring manager to open up and shift the focus off of you for a bit. Their answer and body language can reveal a lot, including whether they actually like working there. In what ways does the company give back to the community? If you are interested in making an impact beyond your work, asking this question is a great way to determine if you and the company share similar goals. If the organization values philanthropy and encourages volunteering, inquire further about employee participation and the causes they are most passionate about.