When preparing for a job interview, most of us want to know what a company is really like. Should I move on from my current role, and will the grass really be greener? How do they treat their people? What can I learn about the company culture, before I become an employee?
To help you find out more about the culture of an organisation during an interview, we’ve put together five simple questions that you can ask to get the answers you need. These questions will provide a range of insights for you to consider should you be offered the role, to help you find out more about how an organisation does things – and if it’s the right place for you. Take a look at the list below:
- Will there be opportunities for further training and development?
If you’re planning on staying with the company for a while, it’s important to find out how they’ll invest in you during your time there. This isn’t about money – it comes down to whether they focus on helping employees develop while they’re with the organisation (or not).
This will also give you an insight into the company’s approach to employee retention. If they’re not planning to help you develop your skills and train to progress at a later point, can they really expect to keep you in the long term?
- Who’s responsible for employee engagement – and what do they do?
We know that employee engagement is an ongoing process, not a transactional item to be ticked-off the list once a year. So, if the only answer to this question is ‘we run an annual survey,’ that’ll probably tell you everything you need to know!
In asking this question, you’ll also find out how much importance the organisation places on employee engagement. This doesn’t necessarily mean having a dedicated engagement team or role; we know from our research that engagement can be the responsibility of different departments or teams, depending on the organisation. It’s about finding out whether the company recognises and understands how essential engagement is in the workplace – and how their approach would affect you as an employee.
- How is feedback managed in the organisation, and when can I expect it?
This question will help you understand how leaders communicate with their teams. Is feedback continuous, or in the form of a once-a-year appraisal? Do leaders approach their people as individuals, or is feedback provided at a team-level?
You’ll also get an idea of how the organisation communicates on successes (and learnings), and whether they encourage employees to offer feedback to leaders in return.
- What’s your policy on flexible working?
A 2016 report from the CIPD found that 65% of flexible workers were either satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance, compared to 47% of employees who didn’t have flexible working arrangements in place. That’s not to say that flexible working is for you – but asking this question will give you a better understanding of the importance the company places on employee needs, and work-life balance.
- What do you like most about working here?
This might seem like an obvious question to ask, but it has the potential to reveal a lot about the organisation. You’ll probably already have been asked why you want to work for the company, so why not turn the question around?
Maybe your interviewer loves the organisation due to opportunities for progression, support from leaders and colleagues, how much value the organisation places on employee happiness – or something else entirely. Whatever their answer, you’ll get a better understanding of how the organisation does things by asking one of their employees directly.
What questions do you ask in interviews? Do you think it’s important to find out more about a company’s culture, before you become an employee? We’d love to hear your thoughts – let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments section below.
If you’re looking for a role in employee engagement, HR or internal communications, take a look at our jobs page for new roles each week. You can also get up to speed on the latest employee engagement trends with our Spotlight on the Employee Engagement report, with insights from 76 companies.