Three Questions for your Interviewer: Get a True Sense of a Company’s Culture

A good company culture leads to loyalty, infectious employee enthusiasm, and a significant reduction in labor costs. It’s something everyone wants, but for whatever reason (there are myriad, and we’ll blog on that later) it doesn’t always happen. So how can you get a sense of a company’s culture when you know everyone is going to say we really value teamwork here at X?

It’s not easy, but ask about the culture and how they’d characterize it and pay close attention to what sort of body language you get when the interviewer answers. Here are three questions to help you get a better sense.

1. What sort of attributes or traits do people who do well at the company tend to have?

You may just get something along the lines of “they’re hard workers,” which is kind of like you answering that your weakness is that you work too hard, but go ahead and forgive them for their lack of creativity. You have two more questions.

2. If you were going to brag about your company at a dinner party how would you do it?

Hypotheticals are fun, as are dinner parties, at least in theory. You might open up your interviewers imagination more if you set a fun context.

3. Is there a general shared pet peeve among everyone, something everyone rolls their eyes at?

So this is where you actually want to see a face light up and an honest answer. You want to see that people aren’t afraid to air a collective grievance, even if it’s something small like a printer that never works or a sink that always clogs. Every office has a quirky pet grievance and hopefully you can get your interviewer off script and comfortable enough to share it, and the answer will usually reveal how close the team is.

Company culture is an intangible asset, and that means it’s not something that can be foisted on a workforce by upper management. It’s a goal that must be shared and that everyone needs to be committed to. It may be intangible, but it’s very important. It’s much easier to achieve great things when you’re supported by a culture that also wants you to achieve great things.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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