The interview poses as a two-way process. You need to ensure that you fit well within an organization. The hiring manager evaluates your experience and skillsets to determine if you would be a good fit for the position and company. However, as the job seeker, you want to ensure that this company’s culture aligns with your needs and values as well. Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize an organization. Working for a company with a culture that aligns with your work style will allow you to excel in your role, grow in your career, and enjoy what you do. When weighing a new job offer, it is just as important to consider the work environment as much as the salary and responsibilities. It may even become the deciding factor when choosing between two job offers. Here’s how to assess company culture:

The Company’s Mission

At the foundation of every great company is a mission. Within that mission should be a quality product that its employees believe in enough to be excited about sharing it with the world. That product or service is 100% ethical and continues to improve based on the customer’s needs. These traits will help you feel good about what you are doing every day. 

Leadership

Effective leadership directly correlates to great company culture. Look for signs that the leadership adheres to its own corporate ideals. Do leadership trust employees to make decisions? Are employees held accountable for following through on tasks? Do managers regularly provide constructive feedback?

Communication 

Communication in a workplace should be clear, transparent, and honest, from the top down and among employees. A workplace that acknowledges and rewards their employee’s accomplishments will help create better productivity and a positive atmosphere. This works on an individual and collective level as well.

Collaboration and Teamwork

In a productive work environment, teamwork is everything. Everyone has their job to do and the overall product relies on every piece of the puzzle. A work environment that values collaboration and teamwork helps create a positive work atmosphere.

When learning how to assess company culture, remember to ask questions. You can learn much of the organization’s dynamic if you ask variations of the following:

Questions to Assess Company Culture

  • What do you like about working here?
  • Why is this position available?  
  • How is this organization different from the competition?
  • What do you think are the most important overall goals for this position?  
  • How will success be measured?  
  • What are the key financial goals & expectations for the company, both short-term and long-term?  
  • What kind of support does this position (or department) receive from top management?  
  • What will be my key direct-report team look like? What is their tenure, strengths, and weaknesses?  
  • How would you describe the level of freedom this position has in order to determine work objectives, setting deadlines, and measuring success?  
  • What are some of the challenges this position will face in the future?  
  • What are some of the challenges this company will face in the next year or two?  
  • What important changes do you predict for the company in the near future?  
  • How would you describe the climate of this company today?  
  • What is the turnover rate of your company?  
  • What growth opportunities will there be for me here?  
  • As a manager (supervisor), what characteristics are most important in your successful employees?  
  • How would you describe yourself as a manager?  
  • What do you find to be special and unique about your company?