By Edward Cruz, Director, Career Education

Earlier this month, my colleague discussed the ACC’s of interviewing (Adaptability, Communication and Critical Thinking Skills). I believe the points made are valuable, and you should read his blog to get more information. However, I wanted to take a moment to provide some additional thoughts to consider as you begin your search and go through the interview process.

In addition to the ACCs of interviewing, when searching for your position you also need to strongly consider company culture. At times, determining an organization’s culture can be difficult until you are further along in the search process. Let’s say you applied for a position that seems like a good fit and you went through the first round screening interview. A week or two passes and you receive the call you have been waiting for. You were moved onto round two! Congratulations! You made it! They STILL like you. That means the ACCs worked!

Now that you are preparing yourself for the office interview, you can expect to meet with one to two people or an entire department; it just depends on the organization’s interviewing method (tip: it could also reflect their culture so pay attention). Before you arrive for your interview you should take some time out to prepare your questions and do your homework on the organization. At the end of your interview, you will have an opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer. This is your chance, go for it! Learn about their culture by asking specific questions similar to these:

  1. Can you define your culture in 3 – 5 words?
  2. Can you explain how conflicts are handled within the team/office?
  3. How are accomplishments recognized by the department/organization?
  4. What is the leadership style of supervisors/managers at the organization?

Another thing you would what to key in on during your time at the organization is its values, both spoken and unspoken. Meaning, is what they are saying matching with what they are doing? Are these spoken values being reflected in your interactions with all levels of staff? Questions to consider when evaluating the organization’s values are

  1. Are the values clearly stated or visible? Do not be afraid to ask them what their values are.
  2. How are staff interacting with each other?
  3. Are there undertones to the questions being asked by the interviewers or in the way they are responding to your questions?
  4. At the conclusion of the process, think about what the experience was like and how were you treated and made to feel.

In many instances, culture is often times overlooked. With this misstep you can find yourself in an environment that does not gel with your values and causes a great deal of dissonance. Do your homework ahead of time, be observant, and do not discredit your gut feelings during the entire interview process. In many cases, culture is not considered until well after the candidate accepted the position and has spent some time in the new role/organization. With this blog entry, you now you have some food for thought and can prepare yourself to make a well informed decision not only by the offered salary or job title, but something that may mean more to you in the long run and that’s the CULTURE. Good luck on finding your fit!