5 questions to ask to reveal a company’s culture

 
 
⏳ 2 minute read

Will you fit in? Ask these questions, observe your interviewer and trust your gut.

Published on June 19, 2020
by Kass Monzon
Finally, after numerous resume revisions and endless preparation, you score an interview with your dream company. For many of us, the most important thing is to sell ourselves during the interview – so we get swallowed into this vortex of endless questioning from interviewers and most often, we forget to ask important questions that can help us get an understanding of the company’s inner workings. 

One of the biggest questions people ask is, how do you know that you’ll fit in?  

Our generation of millennials and Gen Z need more than just a high salary to keep us motivated. There are many different intangible things we need from a company to keep us fulfilled and you can uncover this by asking questions about a company’s culture. Simply asking “What’s your culture like?” will not cut it because you’re most likely going to get a canned answer that’ll probably leave you with more questions. 

Culture Question 1: What kind of person will thrive in your company?

This is one of the best gauges of culture match. Some companies require highly-competitive spirits who can thrive in high-pressure environments, some have a chill atmosphere where you can clock in anytime and leave as soon as you get things done. Observe the keywords that your interviewer uses because it will help you determine whether your working style fits their culture.

Culture Question 2: What do you like most about your job here? 

This question might surprise your interviewer a little bit, so be careful in asking this. Asking this can give you a sense of what makes the company valuable to its employees. You will be able to determine what the best features of the company are and match it with your expectations – and because this sounds like a candid question, you will most likely get a raw perspective. Take it as a red flag if this person starts to become lost for words and speaks with a lack of enthusiasm. 

Culture Question 3: Where does the team (that I’d be joining) go for lunch usually?

Office lunch cultures tell a lot about a team. It would be wise to know what your future team’s social dynamics are and lunch break activities might give you a clue as to what kind of team you’d be joining. During lunch, are they slammed with work that they eat on their desks or do they get some time to unwind and take social breaks to catch up and just hang out? You’ll know by asking this question if your personality as an introvert or extrovert will jive well with your new team. 

Culture Question 4: What was the company’s response to its employees during the coronavirus outbreak?

This question will be the new gauge of a company’s care meter. It’s understandable that some companies might have taken a few weeks to get their plans in place so approach this question with that consideration in mind. What’s important to know is if the company acted with empathy and genuine care for its people, whether it’s through giving out sanitary care packages, delivering work laptops to their staff’s homes or paying out bonuses in advance to compensate people fairly — take note of their answers so you can see their commitment to their people. 

Culture Question 5: Is it possible to tour around the office?

A few articles mention that you might have to wait for the final interview to ask this question but if you’ve built a good rapport with your interviewer, don’t be afraid to ask for this. Touring an office gives you a visual validation of what your work life could look like if you join this company. Can you cut through the silence with a knife? Is it an open office with plenty of people collaborating with each other? Are the managers nestled in their offices? Do they stock up on healthy snacks? Whatever your gut feeling is after seeing the office, trust it. 

Remember that interviews are not a one-way conversation. You should be able to ask questions that will allow you to determine if you can thrive in your new workplace. Belongingness at work is one of the most important factors that you need to consider when joining a new company because it will have an effect on your mental health and overall satisfaction. 

Be smart and always ask questions! 

Kass Monzon

Kass is the co-founder at Workbean. She’s obsessed about finding happiness at work and helping organizations understand their people better. She will never be seen without coffee in her hand.

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