Congratulations! You’ve been invited back to interview with a company. This likely means you’ve done your research on the company, prepared some questions to ask at the end, and worked to make yourself the most desirable candidate. This is all very important, but many candidates forget one major thing about job interviews; an interview is as much of an opportunity for you to learn about the company as it as for the company to learn about you. Unfortunately, many people only focus on the questions they are being asked and only ask questions because it is expected of them instead of using the opportunity to understand the company’s culture.
Company culture can mean many things, from the organization's values to the relationships between coworkers. When determining if you’d be a good fit, employers often look at company culture in addition to your hard and soft skills. As Ashlyn, a hiring expert from Worthington Industries puts it, determining which candidate would be a good fit “typically stems from the culture of the organization; do you have the same values as the company; does their mission statement align with your goals; etc.” 1
The company is trying to determine whether you would be a good cultural fit, but who knows you better than you? No one! So it is important for you to evaluate the company culture and decide if you could be happy and productive working there. Charlene, a hiring expert from Gap, suggests that you “take this chance to ask well-thought-out questions that are important for you when thinking about going to work for this company and would help you make that decision.” 2 There are a lot of important factors to consider when looking for a job, but arguably one of the most important is your happiness. Nobody is eager to work for a company where they know they will be miserable.
There are all sorts of questions to determine company culture and how you’d fit in. Brittany, a hiring expert from Manpower Group, suggests these:
1. How is success defined in this department and how will my performance be measured?
2. Why do you [the interviewer] enjoy your position? What do you appreciate about the company?
3. What is the overall company culture like? Is it the same in this department?
4. What are some goals that you have for this team within the next year?
5. How do you see this position contributing towards those goals? 3
It may be difficult at first to switch how you approach interviews, but perceiving the interview as a two-way conversation and not a one-way evaluation can ensure that you will be happy with a company before accepting an offer.