Job interviews are about finding out if YOU are a fit for THEM and vice versa. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable asking the interviewer questions that get to the heart about whether or not YOU feel like it’s a fit. Here are some example questions to ask to get a better feel for company culture.
1) Within your team/group, how many projects and initiatives do you have running concurrently? Is that typical? Do projects or initiatives usually originate from employees or from the top down? What percentage of projects make it to completion vs. getting shut down?
These questions help you needle in to see how organized and focused the company is. Regardless of how demanding a job is, nobody wants to work in a place where there is a new project/initiative or flavor of the day constantly. If you sense that a company is plagued by corporate “attention deficit disorder” AND the job that you’re interviewing for has been created to address an initiative, you might become collateral damage when the initiative, program or strategy goes sideways or becomes yesterday’s shiny object.
2) How long have you been with the company and where do you see yourself in the next 2-3 years with the company?
This question is often asked by the interviewer but rarely by the interviewee. You should ask because it allows you to see how the interviewer sees their path within the company and their perception of their mobility.
3) What kind of professional development opportunities do employees engage in – either company sponsored or external activities?
You’ll learn more about how the company values investments in their people. You can judge a company not by what they say but by where they invest their money in. Companies with internal training or leadership development teams aren’t the only companies that invest in their employees. Smaller firms can offer even more enriching programs through 3rd party vendors and outside training opportunities. What you want to find out is if the company’s culture values it – whether they build or buy it isn’t the important thing.
Eli Howayeck (MBA, Kellogg School of Management), Founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts, is passionate about helping motivated people achieve their career, educational, or personal goals and helping businesses, large and small, overcome a variety of challenges facing their business.