Workers having a meeting in a modern startup office.

When you are looking for a job, there are many factors you should consider before making a decision. Location, compensation, responsibilities, and more all play a role in that decision. Recently however, company culture has been given more consideration. It ultimately determines if you will actually fit in and be comfortable doing your job. Company culture is a big component of every workplace, and should be factored into your job search. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to discuss or bring up in a job interview. In today’s blog we’ll provide one question that will tell you a lot about the company culture.

When to Ask

Towards the end of your job interview, most interviewers will open it up to questions. This is your chance! It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the role, the company, and the people you could be working with. It’s also a great time to learn more about the company culture. You may have had the opportunity to walk through the building and make some assumptions, but this is an opportunity to get concrete answers. Your first thought may be to simply ask, “What is the culture like here?” and that’s not a bad idea. It’s straightforward, but asking so outright may result in you just getting a canned answer. The last thing you want is a rehearsed answer on culture.

Instead, we recommend asking, “What do you like most about the culture here?”. This question is great because it should generate a genuine response. By asking the interviewer for something specific they like, you will be less likely to receive a prepared answer. People are always happy to share their opinion when they feel it is valued, and this is no different. By asking about culture you’ve also opened the discussion, and can ask any other related questions. If you’re still searching for more information, there is another question you can ask.

Digging Deeper

If you’re not content with just asking one question, consider asking, “What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to succeed at this organization?”. This question works well because although it doesn’t directly address culture, the answer you receive will speak volumes about it. For example, if they say that independence is an important quality, you can probably expect to be focused on your own projects while you work. However, if they say teamwork is an absolute must, you can expect more of a team atmosphere. Whatever the answer, it will give you an even greater idea of the culture at the company, and you may also find out you have the right qualities to be a great member of the team!

Culture plays a huge role in every workplace, and you can’t be faulted for wanting to know more about a company’s culture before signing on. Even if you are content with a job’s salary and responsibilities, without a good culture fit, it can all fall apart. We hope these questions help you uncover more as you go through the hiring process, and lead you to find a job that is a great fit for you!