When you’re considering a new job, one of the key items to factor into your decision making process is, if the company’s culture is a good fit for you. If you’ve ever worked in a culture that didn’t mesh with your beliefs or desires, you know how painful this can be. There are few things as bad as when you make the wrong decision and accept a position at a company with a poor cultural environment. There are ways to help you determine if a company’s culture is the right fit:
DETERMINE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
First, you must decide what you are looking in a company culture. Experts point out that not everyone has the same priorities. While you may like to leave work at 5pm each day, some people thrive on longer hours and more responsibility. Consider things such as; hours of work, atmosphere, types of working relationships among co-workers, etc. what is important to you? This will help you to determine what kind of culture you prefer.
FIND OUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A TEAM PLAYER
The answers you get from fact findings are extremely telling. Turn you BS detector to its most sensitive setting and listen closely for buzzwords. If you hear that promotions are contingent on “something opening up,” you have an idea that people only move up when someone else moves up or moves out. If you hear about “pulling extra weight when needed” or “special training,” be ready for leadership seminars, special training classes, and after-hours works. None of these are bad, but it’s always good to know what the expectations are. Remember, it’s never too early to plan for your next career move, even if it’s in the interview for this one.
FIND OUT IF THE COMPANY OFFERS PERFORMANCE REWARDS
Bonuses are hard to come by these days, but perks aren’t necessarily unheard of. Find out if the company rewards its best employees or is there anything to encourage high performance. Find out how your hiring manager praises or rewards his or her employees and whether they have their teams back when confronted by their manager. Any boss can admonish you when you fall short, but you know you’ve done well, when you find a boss that’ll praise and reward you for good work, or takes an interest in your professional development.
FIND OUT HOW CLOSE-KNIT THE TEAM IS
With luck, you won’t even have to ask this question. More and more companies will come out and ask you those “soft questions,” like what your hobbies are, what you do in your spare time and what other skills you have or things you can share about yourself that aren’t on your resume. When they do, turn it around and ask them to share you some anecdotes too, their reaction will be illuminating-perhaps more than whatever they actually say.
ASK SPECIFICALLY ABOUT CORPORATE CULTURE
Just put it out there: ask them to describe it, and what working at the company is like. Of course, most interviewers will try to paint the company in the most positive light, after all, they’re trying to sell you the job as much as you’re trying to sell your skills, but if you have the chance to ask more than one person, do it. If you’re being interviewed by a panel, take every opportunity to ask every person for their stories. What’s their least favorite thing about their jobs? How many hours a week do they spend at work? Do they hang out together after work? Questions like that will help you find out what you’re getting into.