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4 ways to evaluate a company’s culture in a job interview

If you’re on the job market, you need to find something that not only satisfies your salary and job expectations but also keeps you happy and motivated. Is the organisation inclusive? Is the boss approachable? Do colleagues share a camaraderie? Do employees complain of being overworked?

These are only some of the things to consider when assessing a company’s culture before accepting an offer. The culture of an organisation has a major impact not only on your productivity but also across other aspects of your life. So, how do you gauge cultural fit – and if you’d actually thrive in an organisation? Interviews are one crucial way of finding out.

The unfriendly interviewer – When you show up for an interview, you should expect to be treated with respect. A smile, a handshake and a friendly greeting will not only help you decide if a company is the right fit for you but also if you direct boss is someone who you can get along with.

The questions they ask – The questions your interviewer asks are a dead giveaway of the kind of culture the company has. A big red flag is if your interviewer starts to ask personal questions about your marital status, sexual orientation or plans to start a family. Not only are these illegal to ask in many countries – but they’re also deeply offensive. When put in such a position, firmly but politely steer the conversation to the job you’re interviewing for.

Your interviewer is distracted or can’t explain the role – Is your interviewer constantly fiddling with his/her phone? Can he or she explain the role without fumbling? If your answer is yes, then you should be concerned. Afterall, you took the time to prepare, the least your interviewer can do is pay attention.

When in doubt ask – In most interviews, candidates are presented with an opportunity to ask questions. If you’re having doubts about the company culture – then don’t be shy to ask. Depending on what’s important to you, here are some questions to ask:
● Is it a collaborative culture?
● Do colleagues hangout after work hours?
● What’s the gender ratio?
● What’s the company vision for an inclusive workforce?
● What is the company’s maternity policy?
● Are flexible work hours an option?
● How does your boss deal with conflict between colleagues?

Separately, here’s a list of some other questions you can ask.

While interviews are meant to be for employers to hire the best candidates, it’s equally an opportunity for candidates to make informed decisions about the choices they’re going to make. Good luck on your job search!

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