3 Ways to Know If an Employer’s Corporate Culture Is a Fit For You

corporate culture cohesion

Landing a great job is no easy task. In addition to making sure you have the right skills and experience, you need to consider whether a potential employer’s corporate culture is right for you.

The job interview should be a two-way street. An OfficeTeam survey found that two-thirds of companies have lost employees because the work environment wasn't a good fit, so hiring managers will be assessing you carefully to make sure you're a match. At the same time, you should also be evaluating the job and the workplace culture of your potential employer. But gauging cultural fit during the interview process is challenging. Nerves, a strong desire to make a positive impression and the structured nature of the interview can all contribute to a skewed reading on both sides. What can you do to make your corporate culture assessment more accurate before and during your job interview?

1. Research the company before your interview

Sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn can help. Glassdoor offers insights from company insiders in its user reviews and commentaries. On LinkedIn, you can search for current and former employees and look for revealing patterns. For example, what coworkers say (or don't say) about each other can give you a good idea of how collaborative and supportive the work environment is. And if people don’t stay with the company long, that points to a general lack of satisfaction.

2. Prepare good questions and answers

Preparing for common interview questions is always a good idea. And when you prepare with culture fit in mind, you can highlight the characteristics of your ideal work environment. Here are some sample questions and answers:

Q: What's your greatest weakness?
A: I find it challenging to work with micromanagers. However, when I do, I've learned to provide frequent updates to keep them in the loop on everything.

Q: Why are you interested in this position?
A: I’ve heard that your company works hard to provide growth opportunities for your employees. That lines up with my ideal work environment.

Also prepare questions about the elements of the corporate culture that matter most to you. Consider asking these types of questions:

  • Do staff struggle with work-life balance? Why or why not?
  • What personality types would not be a fit? 

The more open-ended the questions, the more background information you will hear, which will give you better insight into the reality of the work environment.

3. Pay close attention

Are you good at reading body language? You don't have to be an expert to pick up on obvious clues that will help you evaluate the company's corporate culture.

When the conversation touches on work-life balance, how does the demeanor of your interviewers change, if at all? Are they more serious? Arms crossed? Watch for strong or weak eye contact when speaking about issues that are important to you. It's easy for someone to downplay negative aspects of the work environment during a job interview, but you can watch for subtle signs of discomfort and ask follow-up questions to gently probe for more information.

Let's face it, corporate culture fit can make the difference between a great job, a good job and a bad job. So, don't just attempt to land a job. Try to figure out if it's the right job for you.

How do you assess corporate culture in a potential employer? Share your tips below.

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