How to look for company culture during the job interview process

  • 2021 is the year of “The Great Resignation”, with more than 4 million workers leaving their jobs in September alone.
  • People are more interested than ever in working not only for companies they respect, but also for those that respect them.
  • Here are some ways to learn more about the culture of a business before accepting an offer.

For the first time in a long time, employers are worried: The past few months have been dubbed The Great Resignation, with 4.4 million employees quitting their jobs in September alone. Employees and job seekers are re-evaluating what they want from a company, and that includes more than pay and benefits. Receiving a salary is no longer enough. Candidates look for a company whose culture matches their values ​​and shows that they value their employees as individuals. But how can a job seeker know they’ve found one?

If you are looking for a job, you can’t really trust a company’s branding and rewards. You have to do your homework to really assess what it is inside. Here are some tips to make sure you land in a business that you love, and more importantly, one that loves you back.

Define what you want

Before you apply anywhere, have an honest conversation with yourself about what you are looking for. Think about your current and past jobs: what did you like about them? What didn’t you like? Maybe you felt isolated as the only woman on the team or the only person of color, or you appreciated that there were open discussions about racial equity. Identify what matters most to you so you know what to look for and what to avoid.

Digging Deep During the Interview Process

Once you’ve determined what’s most important to you about a company’s culture, focus on that during interviews. Try to discern what it is like to be an employee by asking the hiring panel meaningful and revealing questions.

Calendar and transparency

The pace of communication during the interview process can tell you a lot about how you will be treated as an employee. Your recruiter, especially now, is probably juggling many open roles and might not respond to you as quickly as you would like. A call or an email can go through the cracks. But how do they react then when you follow up? A brief apology and a solid timeline for moving forward shows the company values ​​openness and transparency.

Work-life balance

Take note of what is asked of you: are tests or assignments given within a reasonable time? Do you receive emails at all hours or only during the standard working day? Find out about the communication expectations outside of working hours or the last time the team had to work on a Saturday and how often this happens. The answers can tell you if the business is right for you.

Additionally, note how much unpaid time they ask for as part of the interview process – for example, if you’re asked to take a test or create a presentation. A business that minimizes overtime – or even offers a payment for it – shows that they understand the effort you’re putting in. On the other hand, one who demands excessive unpaid time might be indifferent to your work-life balance. If you don’t get the respect you deserve before you start working somewhere, that is unlikely to change after you start.

Management style

It is difficult to approach the management style before you start to work somewhere. After all, no one will admit to micromanaging from the start, even though 79% of employees say they have experienced it. Determine what kind of leadership you can anticipate by tailoring your questions to the recruiter or hiring manager.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

It’s easy for companies to pay lip service to diversity, but there are several ways you can tell whether to believe their hype.

A company that prioritizes experience over degrees shows that it understands that not everyone follows the same path. You can also check the ad for gendered language, which could reveal an environment that is not as committed to fairness as the company claims.

Also, be careful of who you see in your interview panel. The lack of diversity among the people interviewing you can be a reflection of a larger culture, especially among management positions. Find out about diversity initiatives within the company, what measurable impacts they have had. Does the company have employee resource groups (LGBTQIA + or black employees, for example). If so, ask to speak to someone from one of the groups to get a feel for the actual reception of the culture.

Get what you deserve

The interview process can bring out your insecurities. Build your confidence ahead of time by being prepared. Practice asking questions ahead of time – yes, literally. Repeat your questions for a business is as important as practicing your answers; repetition helps you overcome your nervousness and choose the best formulation. This is especially important when it comes to ‘uncomfortable’ questions, such as those about diversity.

If a business sidesteps these issues, it’s a pretty strong signal that your values ​​don’t match. You are looking for a business whose values ​​match yours and this type of business should be happy you ask about their culture because that means they have found an employee who will thrive in their environment.

By clarifying what you need from a job and asking the right questions, you will land somewhere that will not only give you pay, but also respect.

Find out how Glassdoor can help you with your job search.

This post was created by Insider Studios with Glassdoor.