Understand a company’s culture in advance
Before joining any company it is important to know how it operates and how it treats its employees. Getting familiar with the culture of the company you are going to join well in advance will give you a better chance of fitting in, but can you really go and directly ask the interviewer ‘Can you tell me about the company’s culture’ - probably not.
It’s always better to know the company culture beforehand, and only an interviewer can provide you the correct information and help you in taking the right decision for your future. However, you need to be very smart in framing the questions as anything imperfectly asked may project you negatively. Try these four tips to get started.
What is the busiest time of year for the company?
You can’t directly ask how often you will have to stay back and when you will be the busiest, so instead ask, “What’s the busiest time of year?” Most probably the answer to this question would be something like “you would be most busy during….” and if the interviewer answers you ideally, you will get an idea about things like, working hours, work stress, overtime, etc.
When and how often are staff meetings held?
This is a good question to ask as it will give you some indication of the level of communication between you and your co-workers and supervisor, there’s no harm in asking a question like this. So when you ask, “When and how often are staff meetings held,” the most likely answer will be “Weekly,” which is absolutely ok as majority of companies follow this routine. There are very few companies who organise meetings more frequently, i.e. every alternate day, but if they do are likely to either be smaller companies or quite rigid companies.
Where do the employees usually eat?
It is very important to know where employees usually eat. But don’t ask this question from the interviewer or any senior person of the company. Rather ask the receptionist or try to find out yourself where the employees go for lunch. Check if the company offers eating facilities for the employees. It is also very important to know whether employees can eat at their seats, if so, you can assume the working culture of the company is quite comfortable and cordial.
Can you keep your family photos at your desk?
There is no need to ask a question like this, once you join the company you will very quickly be able to see if other employees have photos of their families on their desks, if they do, it’s probably the place where your associates will ask how your family is. If this isn’t really the done thing, the environment of the company is professional and down-to-business. In addition to this, you can also check things like, do employees display the corporate values on their office walls, or are the whiteboards filled with Fridays’ activities or team’s deadline. These minor little observations can assist you to judge the culture of the company in a better way.
Don’t just look for the most suitable position, but also check if the atmosphere of the company is a friendly atmosphere and can help you progress in future. Get an insight by asking the questions and making the observations mentioned above.