Trying to gauge company culture is important in helping to understand if it’s the right environment for you to succeed, personally and professionally. You need to believe in the company’s vision and make sure that it shares your values. Think about what you expect in terms of leadership style, flexibility, recognition, social life etc., and then put together a list questions that will, at an interview, help you clarify your understanding.
Points to consider:
- How easy it is to talk to senior staff members and how much help are you likely to get?
- What characteristics and skills does the company value? What type of person is likely to succeed within the organisation?
- What opportunities are there for further education and training? Ideally, you want to work for a firm that takes an active interest in its employees’ development and allows them to make mistakes without fear of recrimination
- What contribution does the company make to the community and/or the environment? An organisation that is active in the wider community and has a genuine commitment to charitable causes will usually be considerate to its employees
The answers to these questions won’t reveal themselves automatically during the course of applying for a job, so it’s up to you to do your homework. Do your research, read company reviews on websites such as Glassdoor and try networking with current and past employees to gain an insight into what it is like to work for the company. An organisation that’s proud of its company culture and has nothing to hide should be relatively forthcoming, as long as you approach these subjects tactfully.
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