The term “company culture” comes up often when preparing for job interviews. You may be able to check off all the qualifications listed in the job requirements, but if your personality isn’t in tune with an organization’s personality, you probably won’t be very happy in that role.
When hiring candidates, recruiters make sure to ask a variety of questions to determine if a prospective employee will thrive in that specific environment. Though you should say the right things when faced with these questions, it’s important to realize that this isn’t a one way street: just like employers want to see that you are the right fit for their organization, you must conclude that the organization is also the right fit for you. We’ve compiled a list of five common company culture questions you’re likely to get asked in an interview, as well as five questions you can ask to gauge whether you will succeed in and enjoy that workplace.
How would your colleagues describe you?
This question tests several things simultaneously: your self-perception, your self-assessment compared to that of your references, and your soft skills. After doing a bit of digging on the employer, overlap your strengths and endorsements from others with the qualities that will make you an asset at that organization. Support traits with concrete examples and expand upon your thoughts by explaining how those behaviors will help you excel at the position to which you are applying. Be sure to remain humble and don’t exaggerate or lie about any qualities.
What work environment do you thrive in?
In asking this question, employers determine the most productive environment for you by taking into account various factors like company size, work-life balance, leadership style, and office structure. Look on the company website for clues that will paint a picture of its working environment and see if your preferences match. If you can’t get a good feel from your browsing, remain neutral and express your willingness to adapt and be flexible. However, do not lie and say you are happy to work in any situation if you know there are some situations that cause you to be unproductive.
Describe a time you failed.
Interviewers want to see that you learn from your mistakes and won’t repeat them in this new position. Moreover, they are listening to how you respond to stress and undesirable outcomes. When answering this question, keep in mind the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Instead of talking about failure, describe how this slip-up helped you grow, and how you can apply what you learned to the role you are interviewing for.
What value can you bring to this company?
Use this question as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. After researching the employer’s needs, explain how your background and skills will assist the organization in achieving its goals. Provide examples of your accomplishments in previous roles to show how you can deliver on your promises.
Why do you want to work here?
This is one of the most frequently asked interview questions because it shows which candidates put in the effort to research the organization and which candidates just want a job. Check out the company website, social media pages, and any mention of it in the news to form a thorough, well-rounded response. Besides touching upon the organization’s perks, stress how its mission, values, and work complement your own goals. Finally, speak about how you can contribute to the organization’s overall objectives.
How does this organization support professional development and career growth?
Most people wish to work in places that will aid their professional advancement instead of keeping them in the same post for an extended period of time. Organizations that foster development in their employees invest in their futures, which can impact their careers for years to come.
Is risk-taking encouraged and what happens when people fail?
Not only will this question uncover an organization’s reaction to failure, but it will also expose whether employees there are encouraged to speak out and offer suggestions. Think whether you want to work for an employer that truly values innovation. Chances are you won’t always produce flawless work, so it is important to work at a place that fosters improvement and doesn’t condemn failure.
How do managers provide feedback to employees?
Feedback is crucial. In fact, studies have shown that 9 out of 10 millennials admitted they would be more confident in their careers if they had more frequent performance conversations with their managers. Without it, you have no idea whether you’re doing the right thing, or if there are any behaviors you need to adjust. This question will give insight on the employer’s approach to performance reviews, management communication, and whether managers have an open-door policy.
What is this organization’s management style?
Different people work better with different management styles. JOHNLEONARD has a great infographic that elaborates on the various management styles and may help you realize which one you excel under. If the organization or your potential supervisor has a management style that clashes with your personality, you may become frustrated and unsatisfied in that position.
What kind of people succeed here?
Listen to the interviewer’s response and see if you can match those personality traits to your own. If the answer is yes, this employer is likely to be a great fit and will contribute to your career goals. If the opposite of who you are is being described, this may not necessarily be the right employer for you.
Aye Moah, Chief of Product at Boomerang, says, “You can’t learn a culture. A bad cultural fit is a lose-lose for the company and for you. Being miserable at work isn’t good for your career, since you will be less invested in the company success.” While it is important for you to mesh well with a company culture, don’t sacrifice your own personal and professional success for an employer that does not work for your personality. Hopefully this post provided some clarity and opened your eyes to some of the ways you can determine if the organization you are interviewing with is the right fit for you and your overall goals.
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