Everything You Need to Know about a Company’s Culture.
Are they really “like family?”
We’ve all at some point come to a professional crossroad dredged with burnout, boredom, and unbecoming company culture that ends up pushing us out the corner office of our “forever job.” However it is that we get to this point, it leaves each of us in humbling, equalizing territory at the mercy of yet another hiring manager. It’s in this season of desperate need for redefined purpose or sense of belonging where many of us forget to ask ourselves if we really want to belong somewhere.
For good reason, company culture has become increasingly important in the professional world. In fact, it’s not unusual that when we speak with potential candidates or employers, they tend to list being “a good cultural fit” as one of the most important factors to offering, or accepting a job. Since good employers are already rightfully defensive of their hard-earned healthy culture, we wanted to share with the people on the less certain side of the interview some of the not-so-obvious signs that a company’s culture may not be all the hiring manager says it is. Let’s get started.
1. Your interviewer can’t tell you why the position is open.
The golden goose of all responses to this question is that your predecessor is being promoted. That’s unlikely to be the case every time, and that’s okay! Every open position isn’t a red flag, but evaluating turnover issues ahead of time will give you a better understanding of what you’re walking into. Look for the ability and willingness of the interviewer to give you a valid answer to why they’re looking to fill the position. If they can’t, then…well, you know.
2. Your site tour (if there is one) is awkwardly quiet.
Something to pay close attention to is how the office is reacting to the presence of the hiring manager. Is there avoidance? Do you see people even speaking to one another? Moreso, are you being introduced? We get it, maybe the hiring manager feels that introductions are presumptuous but it’s really never acceptable to skip this nicety. You don’t want to find yourself in a workspace that doesn’t encourage even baseline relationship building. Is there a group willingness to engage in even basic interaction? Keep an ear out to avoid being stuck in workplace purgatory.
3. Everyone is eating lunch at their desk.
So MAYBE people just like to eat over their keyboards, but more likely than not this habit is a great indicator that the company isn’t prioritizing a healthy work-life balance or employee satisfaction.
4. They’re over-eager to offer you a job.
Let’s be honest, It’s always flattering to be offered a job. Be wary, however, of the over-eager… we mean the hire you on the spot, start tomorrow kind of eager. Maybe you are their rockstar candidate, but both you and the company deserve the respect of due diligence. This brand of eagerness should raise concern if the circumstances are not unique. We’re merely suggesting to make yourself aware of the reason your potential employer is so excited about you.
5. Your arrival to the interview seems “unexpected”
So you show up, fully prepared and on time (aka 15 minutes early). Upon your introduction, the office swirls into an awkward, hushed frenzy completely thrown off kilter by an “unexpected visitor.” If this happens to be the case, do yourself a favor and spare yourself the experience of joining a team already lacking communication. It seems harsh, but this is your interview… and this is the moment your interviewer should be on their top game. If your potential employer can’t express preparedness, and calculated interest, you may be better suited elsewhere.
At the end of the day, the best advice we can give you is to follow your instincts. People have off days and companies go through hard spells they don’t deserve to be tethered to. But, only you know the difference between where you’ll fit and where you’ll thrive.