There are many elements that go into preparing for a successful job interview. Researching the organization, engaging in mock interviews to practice answering common questions, and thinking through how you might use “The Swivel” (should you be asked about your health history or a gap in your resume) are all key to positioning yourself as the best candidate for the role. However, it’s equally important to use the interview as your chance to determine whether a potential employer’s “company culture” is one in which you’re likely to be happy, productive and successful.
Below are tips from a piece recently published on Idealist Careers on how to develop questions to ask during an interview that will help you decide if a company’s culture is a good fit for your needs.
- Spend time thinking about the qualities that are important to you in a work environment. Maybe good work/life balance is at the top of your list post-cancer, or being part of a close-knit team that enjoys doing meaningful work, etc. Try to pinpoint three or four qualities that are must-haves; then start jotting down specific questions that will engage your interviewer in sharing details of how these cultural qualities play out in their workplace day-to-day.
- Make sure your questions are as specific as possible and can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Remember, the person interviewing you may feel they work in a “positive work environment,” but that doesn’t mean their definition of that term matches perfectly with yours. So rather than asking broad questions (e.g., “Do team members get along with one another?”), try to drill down a little further (e.g., “What kind of team building does the group engage in?”).
- Once you’ve posed a question, pay attention to the interviewer’s behavior and body language as they answer. Are they able to easily describe the specific aspect of company culture you asked about — and are they excited to share how awesome it is? Or do they need to pause and think of words to use — and then provide only vague information? Sometimes the most valuable details are found in the manner in which words are delivered, rather than the messages themselves.
For additional tips, read the full article on Idealist Careers by clicking here. And be sure to check out the following CAC resources for more on interviewing and looking for work.