According the attached Harvard Business Review article, many others like it, and what we hear daily from candidates, a positive work environment/work culture is the number one indicator of 1) employee productivity 2) employee engagement 3) leading signs of employee retention.
The article mentions “cut throat work environments” as a cause for these broken organizations.
Alleged Work Culture vs. Facts
I’ve written about what companies claim or advertise as representations of their culture(s) vs. the reality of what is in fact a true representation of their culture.
At times I wonder if they’re aware their organizations are broken and no one shared these facts with the web developer or copywriter. Possibly, those at the C-level truly believe these claims and shielded from the truth by underlings causing the tumult.
No matter the case, when you’re interviewing for a job and an offer is close at hand, it’s best to request a call or face-to-face with current employees. You’d be surprised what they might reveal during the course of a call. Even better, reach out on LinkedIn to former employees who’d worked in a similar capacity and ask about their experience while working for the company and what they’d heard about the individual who’d be your boss.
The more you know, the better you can make an informed decision.
Trust Your Gut
If you have strong intuition, then trust it. From the moment you walk through the door for a job interview, audit the environment. Do people look tense or miserable? Did someone greet you with a smile, say they’d expected you, tell you how long it would take for someone to meet with you, or offer you something to drink?
Sometimes we’re so nervous about an interview and what we’re going to say, we forget to pay attention to everything around us. When you’re walking through the office on your way to sit down for the interview, take mental notes about what you see and hear. Are people friendly? Do they seem rude? Is the general atmosphere collegial?
Your mind is taking notes subconsciously, though it’s much more effective to activate these inner questions on a conscious level.
During the Interview
Be sure to bring a list of your own pressing questions about the job. If this is a first interview, unless the hiring manager mentions something about salary, it’s best to save those questions for follow on conversations.
Watch and listen to how the interviewer asks questions. Are they truly engaged or simply reading from a list of questions? Does this individual seem like a good listener? Are they going to be available when I need them to help me close a sale? Can I learn from them? Would they be a good mentor? It’s important to have mentors teach us something valuable along our career path.
After you’ve answered all of their questions, have they answered all of your questions to your satisfaction? If not, ask it again or at the very least ask for clarification.
Would you enjoy working with this individual? If the answer is yes, then continue to pursue the role. If the answer is no, then trust your gut and move on.
Does it seem they really want to hire you? Most candidates tell me the one thing that determines whether they’ll even consider a job, is whether the hiring executive seems really into hiring them. They want to be wanted. This is a perfectly healthy feeling considering you’ll be spending a good number of your waking hours working for this individual and this company.
After the Interview
If you find yourself wanting to run out the door and never come back…well…then you have your answer.
This is a good time to take a deep breath, sit down, and collect your thoughts. Ask yourself, “Do I want to work for this company?”
Write down anything you may have forgotten to ask and follow-up for clarification. If you do send a question, how quickly did they respond? Did they answer your question.
Just because someone else really likes working somewhere or can tolerate working there, doesn’t mean the company is a good fit for you. Only you know what makes you tick and the type of environment where you can thrive.
Cultural fit does matter, that’s why it’s important to be armed with the facts about an alleged corporate culture vs. the reality of the organization, especially the department you’ll be working within.