During most interview processes, any candidate will hear “corporate culture” thrown around at different steps along the way. Most of the time, the comment goes unnoticed – mentally filed away as another piece of helpful, not critical, information about the hiring company.
Normally, the assessment of whether the company would be the right fit for you is a secondary to more tangible, easily-defined aspects of a job – like salary, benefits and vacation time.
We are not naïve. We understand that money is important in the evaluation of any job offer. We do, though, encourage all candidates not to ignore their potential fit with the new company when deciding to jump to their next opportunity.
Company culture is not a throw-away sales pitch from hiring companies – it matters.
Strong cultures provide identity, help retention and enhances brand awareness. Corporate cultures are more than tools to draw the millennial workforce. The availability of digital information makes a strong brand awareness a critical part of any candidate’s assessment of a company’s relative position in the market.
Understanding a company’s true culture is important but how can candidates really understand a corporation’s culture from the outside looking in?
This is tough – especially with the interview process is filled with the prospective company putting their best foot forward. Unfortunately, it can be hard to figure out what it will be like to work at the company.
The Balance Careers suggests that a company’s middle management is key in the development of corporate culture. As you navigate through the interview process, play close attention to subtle clues about the company with the managers with which you’re interview.
Take time to notice their:
- Decision making
If the interviewer does not offer up clues to culture, make sure to take time to ask questions aimed at bringing out elements of the list above.
Instead of asking about your direct manager, ask something like:
“Tell me about how decisions are typically made here.”
Rather than asking about office parties, you might say:
“When was the last cause for celebration at work?”
If you neglected to ask these questions during the interview process, ask them after the offer comes. We’d suggest directing these questions toward your immediate manager rather than the HR representative as some departments have their own corporate identity.
If you’ve asked these questions and are still uncertain of the corporate culture, Fast Company lists a few unconventional ways you might go about understanding how a day will go if hired by the company.
Fast Company mentions:
- Taking note of the sounds and smells of the office.
- Is the office frantic?
- Does it smell like no one takes a lunch break?
- Can you hear fun or excitement?
- Check the bathroom.
- The article claims that much can be learned about a company based on the cleanliness of their restroom.
- Consider the pace of the process.
- You may be able to detect if you’re “just another candidate” by the pacing of the interviewing and offer process. Companies are willing to slow their processes for high-potential employees that they see as a long-term fit.
So, snoop around the office and ask your honest questions during the interview process. If you’ve done so, the full picture of your fit within the corporate culture of the company is painted.
And, while salary is likely the most important factor in any job offer, your fit into the culture of the company should not be ignored.
Need help finding the right fit? Contact Goliath!