In addition to having the qualifications, one of the most important aspects of joining a company is being compatible with their culture. So important that some companies have created culture specific quizzes for their new prospects.
One of the benefits of working with a recruitment company is that we are able to give you insights into the company’s culture. So the important cultural questions can be asked before the 1st interview so you don’t waste your time. However if you’re not working with a recruiter there are still steps you can take to find out:
1. Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a good place to start. Some companies won’t feature on there but some will, and whilst I wouldn’t decide by just reading some of the reviews on there, I’d certainly bear them in mind when you interview there.
2. Homework: Before the interview, doing your homework is essential, which includes looking at their website, their social media presence, even the style and types of job descriptions they have. A company’s mission statement will often give an indication of their culture.
3. Listen and Observe: At the interview, the best thing to do is listen carefully and take everything in. Take a look at how your interviewer dresses and acts, including their body language. You could also ask to have a walk around the office. Questions you can ask the interviewer include – what do you like best about working here? Or how would you describe the company culture in a sentence? Listen carefully to their responses.
4. Learning and Training: Developing people is an important part of a company’s culture. Some companies will and some won’t so it’s important you’re happy with one or the other. Many companies will publicly advertise if they offer training opportunities or they might be part of ‘Investors in People’. If not, it’s a question you can ask in the second round of interviews.
5. Teamwork: If possible, take a look at the office set up. Are the desks open plan or are they enclosed cubicles promoting individual work. Are there dedicated break out areas where people can collaborate?
6. Social Life: Some people prefer a lively social life and some prefer to head home to family. Of course sometimes people are expected to attend events after work but make sure you understand what the social side is like before you join. This is always a good topic to discuss with your potential future colleagues.
7. Reward System and Flexible Working: Knowing the performance benefits on offer and policy towards flexible working is important for happiness and long term enjoyment in the role but make sure you either get your recruiter to ask the question unless it comes up in conversation.
Even if a role seems like a good match on paper, there are a lot of factors that will affect your success and happiness within a role. Before saying yes to the offer, assess if the culture is going to fit your requirements.