When you are in the advance stage of your interview process and it is likely that you are going to get hired, it is time to check for the culture fit. Is this a place where you will be able to express yourself well? Is this an organization that you can grow in and develop yourself? Will your work style blend in with how things are done around the company?
Look at the artifacts: website, newsletter and other publications, minutes of public shareholder meetings, if any. Look around and check out the postings on the bulletin boards, displays in the lobby and offices, stuff in the cafeteria or water cooler area, frames on the wall, awards and recognitions posted. Get some idea on ongoing activities from the postings and advertised events.
Observe the behavior of people. Listen to the conversations in the hallway, cafeteria or water cooler area. See how people move: fast with a bounce, fast with fear, slow and sluggish, business-like and straightforward, casual and friendly.
Get a general sense of people’s mannerisms and traits. Are they friendly and easy to approach? Are they distant with “I don’t care” attitude? Do they seem happy doing their jobs? Are they casual with an easy air about them when they work? What is the energy in the room?
Have a chat with a few people and ask questions casually and without sounding intrusive or nosey. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- How would you describe the culture of this company?
- What do people here consider to be important?
- How does someone like me need to have in order to fit in here?
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