It’s bound to come up in almost any interview you undergo: the subject of company culture. And that’s exactly how it should be – after all, it’s arguably the most important aspect in whether a new job works out or not. It’s not uncommon to find yourself sat in an interview, asking the question, “What’s your company culture like?”
But it goes deeper than flexitime, work-life balance and treating each other with respect at all times. Company culture can, oftentimes inadvertently, be driven by less desirable concepts. So, it’s important to keep some of these more in-depth questions in your back pocket. Accepting a new job is a huge decision – make sure you have all the information you need to make a sound one.
What’s the company’s financial position?
While there’s no doubt that the company is busy – you wouldn’t be interviewing for this role, if they weren’t – it’s important to dig a little bit deeper. Without crossing any boundaries, you should be asking questions around the financial positioning of the business you’re potentially going to join. Is growth happening? Has that growth been consistent? Does the long-term business plan seem realistic? It’s also important to consider where they stack up against their competition (who you should have done some research on before the interview, by the way). Is this company sustainable in their marketplace?
If the financial position is becoming uncertain, it will undoubtedly trickle down from the stressed management uppers to the team itself, and the company’s culture will suffer as a result.
What is the staff turnover like?
If there’s a revolving door of talent incoming and talent outgoing, something’s broken – and you probably don’t want to be next in line to find out what it is.
There’s a right way to ask questions about the company staff turnover rate; it can be a slightly taboo subject, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Ask questions around the longevity of careers, with a view to building your own here – is there a route to progression, and what does it look like?
You should also consider asking questions about why this role in particular has become available. It can be very telling; whether it’s a replacement for someone who’s left, or were they promoted perhaps? Is the company expanding, hence the need for this position? A strong company culture and a low turnover rate go hand-in-hand – so get digging.
What would your staff say about working here?
This one may sound bold, but it’s a great way to get an instant screenshot of the culture. How did the interviewer respond? Was it with a nervous laugh, or a broad smile? Did they have to think about it or did the words come naturally? Do they appear to be considering what it’s like to work here at all levels, across all departments – or are they only referencing their own?
It’s one thing to ask someone what they think their company culture is all about – but what would the masses say? What words would the team at large use? While you can’t ask them directly to compare, the way this question is answered will tell you a lot about the company culture in general.
Questions to ask about company culture
Determining your cultural fit within the companies you’re interviewing for is as important as matching your skills and experience to the needs of the job. Here at NLG, we represent only those clients who we know value company culture as heavily as we do. To learn more about the live vacancies our team is currently trying to fill check out our jobs page here, or get in touch today.