Q: How can I figure out a company’s culture and whether it’s a right fit for me?
A: To best tell a company’s culture, ask questions. During the interview, play detective and search for attributes that would be a good cultural fit for you.
First, figure out the elements that would help you succeed in a company. Do you prefer a culture that is highly social where co-workers spend time together inside and outside of the office? Or do you perform better in an environment where there is quiet space for you to focus entirely on work? Do you like working in a highly individualistic and competitive environment or do you prefer one that is more collaborative with group decisions? Understanding what you prefer is the first step to identifying a specific company’s unique culture.
Once you understand your side of the equation, start to investigate your prospective company’s with questions that help uncover culture:
1) How often are decisions made in group settings?
2) How often do people collaborate in team projects?/ How often does the staff meet?
3) What attributes would make me successful in this work environment?
4) How would you describe your company culture in 3 words?
5) Who are your mentors?
6) What ways do employers achieve work life balance?
7) What activities or sponsorships do the company hold?
8) How is performance feedback given to employees?
Make simple observations of your setting during the interview as well. Take a look at your surroundings and observe the dress code. Are people dressed in business professional attire or casual clothing? Do you see any family photos? Take a look at the makeup of your co-workers. Does your employer value diversity?
Other ways to discover a company’s culture is through social media! Take a look at the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages. There might be pictures posted about social events or casual Fridays.