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There’s more to a great job than a paycheck. The company culture can be just as important to the equation as any other benefits they have to offer. But, while it is easy to assess whether a compensation package meets your needs, that isn’t always the case when it comes to identifying a cultural fit.

Some people mistakenly think that the culture of a business isn’t as important. However, when a company’s values don’t mesh with yours, or when the working environment doesn’t help you excel, the shortcomings are difficult to deal with even if you have a great salary.

Often, your best opportunity to assess a business’s culture is during the interview. So, if you want to make sure the company culture is the right fit for you, here are some tips to get you started.

Be an Intentional Observer

The time between walking through the front door of a business and being whisked away for your interview, gives you an opportunity to observe a portion of the company culture in action. Everything from how people are moving through the parking lot, to the reception check-in experience, to the employees you can observe while you wait can give you insights into the general feel of the workplace. Even the presence (or lack) of personalization in the workspaces you pass can give you clues about the environment.

Instead of wasting the time you spend waiting, allow yourself to observe the space as you move through it. Then, you can use that information as part of your larger assessment.

Ask the Right Questions

Most interviews provide you an opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer. When that moment comes, feel free to ask questions that help you solve the company culture puzzle. For example, consider using some of the following:

  • What three words or phrases do you feel best describe the company’s (department’s) culture?
  • What personality traits do your top performers have in common?
  • How are employee accomplishments recognized by leaders in the organization?

You can focus your questions on any corporate cultural point you find valuable including management style, conflict resolution, training opportunities, and more. Additionally, if you aren’t able to assess certain aspects of the environment while walking through the space, feel free to ask for information about the dress code or how the individual workspaces are designed.

The most important part about asking the right questions is understanding what you value most in a workplace and crafting a question that will help you assess those points effectively. Additionally, if some points are deal-breakers, feel free to inquire about those as well.

Go with your Gut

If you attended an interview, you were likely interested in the kind of position being advertised. But, if you suddenly find yourself feeling uneasy about the idea of accepting the position, it is wise to reconsider your response. While sometimes the simple idea of change can make us uncomfortable, it is important to assess if there is more to it. When your internal voice is telling you to walk away, it may be wise to consider other options.


If you are looking for new employment opportunities, The Squires Group has the expertise to help you find your ideal cultural match. Contact us today and see what positions may be available in your area.

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