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What Kind of Culture do YOU Want to Work in - And How Can You Decide If You Fit?

Most mentees I work with are pursuing a job – whether it’s getting a job or moving to a different job and/or company – and one area that mentees don’t routinely consider is that of a company’s culture. (See resources that describe “company culture” such as https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-company-culture-2062000.) Mentees focus on the job under recruitment and on the organization, but they don’t always take the time to understand the hiring organization’s culture – and the mentee’s fit in different company cultures.

There are many resources on categories of company cultures that provide job-seekers with ways to assess what categories they would best fit in. And these can be also used in an interview situation to determine culture.

But, when I looked at interview questions for “company culture,” most of the sites described far too many questions to be useful to you as a job seeker. You may not be able to ask more than 2-4 questions during an interview so you need to be selective about what you ask. And questions you ask are also indicative to interviewers about your level of knowledge about and interest in the position and organization.

Last week, I found a survey anyone can take on workplace culture – to identify “mistakes” a company may be making. The survey includes 11 variables and, as I read through them, I saw the opportunity to categorize them according to whether they would help you as a job seeker determine more specifically about the culture or the hiring company – and whether that company is doing a good job of the culture variable. (Here is the survey: https://principlesofexecution.nsvey.net/ns/TakeSurveyPage.aspx?s=88756104170e44e1894613b330cd0dc3&tsid=5e61e8ca1f2b47bbb1080d6b35903c8f&c=en-US)

The image below shows a screenshot of the 11 variables with my categorization of the ones that would be helpful for you to get information about the culture. “Measurable” means a question would provide you with information and background so you can see how you would fit into the organization and thus it would be worth asking about it. For those, I’ve given you a sample interview question.

For those I don’t consider to be measurable, I have defined them in two ways. “Internal” signifies that you would need to be an employee to “see” or measure this. “Opinion” is from the interviewer’s perspective and may not provide you with a full picture or would give you a skewed perspective. (Note that you can likely obtain information on “opinion” variables from what interviewers tell you in other ways – verbal or nonverbal.)

So, when you’re interviewing, I recommend starting with the overall question, “How would you describe your organizational culture?” which may provide you with much of the information you need. But, if it doesn’t, make sure you have carefully selected additional questions on culture so you keep the interviewer’s attention and interest!










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