Five job interview questions to ask to determine a company’s culture

Defining a company’s culture goes far beyond free snacks and branded keep cups. Culture at work encompasses the values, goals, attitudes and practices within an organisation, from how a company respects and recognises its employees to how it contributes to society outside its walls. Company culture might seem intangible, but in today’s working environment, a healthy and positive work culture isn’t nice-to-have – it’s essential.

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A study by the ADP Research Institute found that workers who feel strongly connected to their employer are 75 times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t, while MIT Sloan found that toxic work culture is the number one reason people leave a workplace.

That feeling of connection, collaboration and purpose at work can come via several critical cultural pillars, including challenging work and professional advancement, remote working support and flexible work schedules, and teamwork and collaboration.

Deciphering a company’s culture from the outside isn’t easy, so asking key questions during an interview can help you determine whether a company’s culture is the right fit.

From employee turnover to ESG policies and work styles, these are the five questions you can use to build a cultural profile of your new workplace before taking the job.

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1. How are new team members integrated?

According to research by Korn Ferry, between 10–25% of new employees leave their jobs within the first six months. It makes sense; No matter how excited you may be to start a new role, it can be almost impossible to feel part of a team without the right guidance or support in those first crucial weeks. In fact, 58% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if they are properly onboarded, according to the Wynhurst Group.

Provident CRM, an independent digital solutions consultancy, places creating a healthy, happy, and rewarding work environment as a top priority, with a particular focus on how new hires are welcomed and integrated into the organization for the long run. When weighing up your options with a new employer, ask about how it supports employees’ first steps at the company to ensure you both get off to the best start.

2. What work style do you have – collaborative or independent?

When it comes to work style, it’s essential to understand your personal work approach first. Are you the kind of person who works better alone, focusing on specific tasks and adhering to your own deadlines? Or do you thrive in a collaborative setting, working with other team members to smash a collective goal?

Ask an employer whether collaborative, independent or a hybrid of both working styles is used in the company. It could make the difference between joining an organization that enhances your productivity or flattens it.

3. What does this company do to give back?

According to a Cone Communications employee study, 83% of employees would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. If finding a company with an ambitious ESG policy is important to you, ask about it before accepting an offer.

Look to companies leading the way in ESG, like app-based challenger bank Monzo. Its initiatives include reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and working with mental health organizations to create new community-supporting technology.

4. How does the company value its employees?

Recognition in the workplace matters. The American Psychological Association found that over 90% of employees who feel valued perform better and stay engaged at work.

Question prospective employers about how employees are valued or recognised. The Me2You recognition award program at PayPal allows managers to reward a job well done, plus the company offers employees an extensive range of year-round benefits, including cycle schemes and wellness supports to ensure they feel valued and appreciated.

5. Why do you like working here?

It may sound like a fundamental question but asking other employees what motivates them to work at the organization can help reveal vital information about whether a company’s culture is the right fit for you.

For example, if they say they like the salary opportunities, you can expect that the company values ​​monetary rewards. On the other hand, if they highlight the social activities available, speak about the wellness support systems in place, or become enthusiastic about the company’s environmental or voluntary programmes, you’ll gain insight into what specific culture is prioritised there.

If their answer aligns with your goals, chances are the organisation’s culture is a match for your priorities.

If you are ready to find your perfect work culture at an organization that meets your specific career goals, check out thousands of open roles on the Fintech Futures Job Board

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