Being qualified for a position doesn’t necessarily mean the position is the right one for you. You could be the absolute best candidate for the job credential-wise, but if the company culture doesn’t align with your ideals, you are going to be miserable…like a cat trapped in the tree they curiously and confidently climbed into. Here are some tips to help you evaluate the company culture before you’re hired.
1. Do some research before you even get to the interview.
In today’s age of social media, it is a lot easier to learn about a company’s culture than it used to be. You can often tell a lot just by observing how the company responds to customers, what types of things they post on social media, etc. There are a few places you should look:
• The Company Website. This seems pretty clear-cut, but it is good to look beyond just the About Us information. Look at the whole website. Get a feel for how the company presents itself and its employees.
• Social Media. Once you’ve finished with the company website, remember to look at LinkedIn, Glassdoor, YouTube (if they have an official channel), Twitter, and Facebook. A lot of employers check out potential employees’ Facebook pages for red flags. Don’t be afraid to do the same with the company’s Facebook page. Again, watch for how they respond to comments and what kind of things they post on their various social media sites.
2. During the interview carefully observe the environment, interviewer, and tone.
During the interview, you definitely want to be present and answer the interviewer’s questions appropriately, but this is also a time for you to observe the culture. How does the environment feel to you? Don’t underestimate the “vibe” you get. Most people have keen intuition when it comes to whether an environment or situation feels right to them. The job interview is no different. Does the environment feel conducive to you successfully completing your job with this company? Since you’ll likely be working as an administrative assistant or executive assistant, it’s a good idea to observe the working environments of those individuals in the company as you make your way to and from the interview room.
Other considerations also include:
• How prepared was the interviewer for your interview? While it is true that the interviewer is asking him/herself the same question about you, it is okay to observe the interviewer’s preparation. Are you being treated as a hostile invading enemy territory or a guest of the company? These types of observations can really help you to determine if the culture is a good fit for you.
• Is there a particular theme or tone you are picking up? Often companies have a core set of values they live by, and they are trying to make sure that you are a good fit for those values. Interviewers will often ask a few questions that will point specifically to those values. Those questions are a great time for you to learn more about the culture of the company, and even ask your own follow-up questions about the company’s culture.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask a few for a few details.
Getting facts about the company culture doesn’t have to be an altogether sneaky endeavor. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask some questions about the culture too. A few questions to consider are:
• Does the company have a code of ethics or core values?
• Are there a few specific qualities that your most successful employees possess?
• Do you have a few words or a phrase you would use to describe the company or department culture?
• You can find a list of additional questions here (http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-preparation/assess-company-culture-best-fit/article.aspx)
Doing a little research, observing, and asking the right questions can go a long way to ensuring you belong with the company you are interviewing with. I hope these tips help point you in the right direction. Do you have any additional ideas on effectively learning more about company culture? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!