Before the job interview takes place, you’re sitting in the lobby waiting for your name to be called. You’re probably going over what you’re going to say and preparing yourself for the interview, but you may want to consider taking note of what’s going on around you at the your potential new work environment as well.
As Forbes states, getting a sense of the company culture during a job interview is essential to job seekers. Knowing the company culture is important in your decision making process should you be offered the position. Without even asking the employer any questions though, job seekers can gain a sense of what the company is like. How? Simply taking a look around the office before, during and after an interview can speak volumes about the company. So, for your next job interview, take the time to notice your surroundings and take note of the clues that tell you what the company culture is like. Here are some things to keep in mind as you observe a company and its culture during a job interview.
The very first person you interact with at the office is usually the receptionist. Many people don’t notice, but your interaction with the receptionist can hint at the company culture. When you meet this person, do they greet you with a warm smile or just direct you towards the office without even looking at you? Do they seem distracted by work or distracted by their Facebook? Also, take note on how other coworkers walking in greet the receptionist. Do coworkers come in with smiling faces and warm greetings, or solemn faces with no greeting?
While waiting for your job interview, look around at the cubicles and note the layout of the office. Is it an open layout where the cubicles have few walls, allowing coworkers to interact more or are they walled up like boxes of solitude? Do you see people talking or is it fairly quiet? Gaining a sense of the energy in the workplace is a major indicator of the company culture. If it’s a quiet work environment, it may be an indication of independent work and minimal distractions. On the flip side, if there’s a lot of chatter and a lot of people moving around, then it may be a hint this company appreciates collaboration and a team setting.
Job seekers can take note of the smaller things as well such as the way people are dressed and their body language. These things tend to go unnoticed by job seekers during the job interview, but they can serve as major indicators to the company culture. Are people dressed casually or in business attire? Consider if you would feel comfortable showing up to work every day in those clothes. When it comes to body language, do you see people comfortable and relaxed at their desks or are they tense and frazzled? Do they change their demeanor when the boss walks by? This can give you a sense of the relationship coworkers have with their superiors in the office. Are there a lot of people drinking coffee or energy drinks? This may indicate that they work long hours or are feeling overworked.
Keep these things in mind next time you walk into an office for an in-person job interview. If you are participating in a video interview, take note of as much as you can and see if you can come to any kind of company culture conclusion.
Is there anything you try to look for in your job interview in regards to company culture? Did you even ever think to look for these kinds of things? Job seekers, share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by mkosut