Identifying Corporate Cultural Fit

Apr 03, 2013

Corporate culture can be pretty far down on your priority list when you’re in the midst of a job search, however, the impact to your long-term success may be significant. The following questions can help determine the culture of an organization – and whether it is a good fit for your personality and work style.

What stage is the firm at? If it’s a start-up, the culture is going to be fast-paced and probably entrepreneurial, which is a perfect fit if you’re a high-energy sort. If the firm is sustaining success, the culture may be far more measured.

What does the workspace look like? When you walk through the office for an interview, for example, notice how people work. If they all have their own offices, the organization is likely hierarchal. If there is an open concept with employees working and overlapping physically, the culture is likely more collaborative.

Is a team atmosphere encouraged? Talk to employees you know at the company or check out bulletin boards, etc., to see if there are employee “events” such as “huddles” every morning or rallying lunches. Do company meetings occur off-site at weekend retreats? Is there regular correspondence to employees?

How is performance measured? Is there a formal annual process for reviewing progress, is it more of a casual ‘just in time’ feedback, or is performance management seen as a tedious process?

How is success earned? Who rises to the top? Is it the person who delivers, the person who behaves a certain way or is it how you get results. Is it a take-no-prisoners kind of firm? Innovative? Cut-throat?

What do people say about the company as an employer? At the very end of a job interview, ask the interviewer what people are saying about the organization?