How to gauge an organisation’s work culture at an interview

5th Aug 2016
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A lot of companies today look for recruits who fit best into the culture of the company. The way people dress and talk, the form of leadership and rewards and a multitude of other factors determine the culture that an employee is exposed to in an organisation. Interviewees, in turn, look for a workplace with the best work environment—something that will suit them perfectly. After all, they will be spending a good amount of their time in a day at the workplace. In order to excel at your job, you need to feel comfortable in your workplace. Only then can you focus, be happy and more productive.

work culture

Image credits: jobbuzz.timesjob.com

While the usual practice for an interviewee is to be questioned at the interview, today they are keen to ask a few questions as well to gauge if the employer and the workplace fits in with their expectations. Here are a few questions you can ask your interviewer, especially if you are juggling a few offers, to see if the culture of the company and your ideals are a perfect match.

Find out the level of employee engagement

You can learn a lot about the work environment by asking about the level and quality of employee engagement and growth opportunities within an organisation. What would it mean for you if a project was a success and what would it mean if it was not? The questions you ask your interviewer should circle around the reason why they are happy to work for the organisation and the sort of support they are given to grow professionally.

A good way to judge the best and worst aspects of the job is to also ask your recruiter what the one thing they would change about their workplace would be.

Find out what the day-to-day environment is like

Find an organisation that will cater to your professional goals in a way that you look forward to go to work every day. You need to feel valued for the work that you do and should have the flexibility to showcase your creativity. Here, you could ask your interviewer the way in which events or successes are celebrated in the company or what the options for work-life balance are.

Find out how they deal with conflict

Conflict is healthy. It helps people find solutions to problems and teaches you to work with a diverse set of people. However, the method of conflict resolution and handling of office politics can tell you a lot about the nature of an organisation and its employees. Find out how people give and receive feedback and who has the power to get work done, regardless of titles.

Ask to speak to some employees

Though some companies already incorporate this into their interview schedules, it may be helpful to talk to current as well as past employees. They will be able to give you an insight into team dynamics, the sort of work they do on a daily basis and the kind of environment that you can expect at the organisation.

Find out your interviewer’s personal opinion

Ask them about their most favourite and least favourite parts of their job, their aspirations and whether the company is in line with them. It is, however, best to ask this question towards the end of the interview, else you may be judged as too eager to strike.

These factors should help you identify whether the job and work culture are in sync with you.

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