How to Assess Company Culture During the Job Interview Process

Being happy at work is about more than job duties, pay and benefits. For many job seekers, company culture plays a big role in deciding where they want to work. According to a recent survey conducted by Glassdoor, 77 percent of job seekers surveyed reported that they would take company culture into consideration before applying for a position, and over 50 percent said they valued company culture over salary. 

How can you determine if a company’s culture is right for you before deciding to work there? Doing your research and asking a few strategic questions can help shed light on whether or not an organization is going to be the right fit for you. 

Do your research. 

Before you decide to work for a company, do your research. There are multiple online resources to help figure out what a company’s culture is like. Check out the company’s website and social media pages for insight into what the organization is like. Many companies highlight their mission, vision and core values on these sites. How is the company you’re considering championing their culture online? Do they post about social events for their employees? Do they highlight employee accomplishments? Checking social media can help give you an idea of what working for a company really looks like. 

You can also use professional sites like LinkedIn to search for company employees and see how they talk about their company online. Do they repost or reshare company materials? Do they talk about how much they enjoy their job? People tend to talk about and promote things that they like, so this can be a great way to check a company’s culture and assess if it’s right for you. 

Ask the right questions. 

 After preparing by researching a company’s website and social media profiles, you can learn a lot about company culture by asking the right questions during your job interview. Simply asking, “What is your company culture like?” may get you a high level answer, but asking a few strategic questions will help give you a better idea of what the workplace is really like. 

For example, if you’re curious about how philanthropic initiatives play into a company’s culture, you can ask what kinds of nonprofit organizations the company partners with. If giving back is important to you and the organization you’re interviewing with doesn’t have any partnerships or support nonprofit organizations regularly, then maybe it’s not the best culture fit for you. 

If employee activities and team building is something you’re looking for, you can ask what specific activities the organization has sponsored for their employees in the past year. Even if you’re considering a remote position, many companies still have ways to engage and connect their employees. Asking for specific examples of what a company has done for their employees not only helps give insight into what company sponsored events may look like, it also gives you an opportunity to think about if you see yourself fitting into those types of activities. 

A company culture that promotes advancement from within may be something that you really value. After all, no one likes to feel stagnant in their role. To assess how company culture impacts promotional opportunities within an organization, you can ask questions such as what percentage of last year’s promotions came from internal employees or what specific career paths look like within the company. This gives you hard numbers and facts that can help shed light on how the organization views promotional opportunities. 

Build your career around culture. 

Company culture can make or break a job opportunity. The good news is that there are multiple ways to figure out if an organization’s culture is going to be a good fit for you. By doing your research and asking a few specific, strategic job interview questions, you can find a company whose mission, values and goals align with your own. 

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