Five Company-Culture Clues You’ll Spot On The Job Interview


Liz Ryan, Contributor – Forbes

• If they require you to interview over and over with so many different people that you lose track of their names, something is wrong. You shouldn’t have to meet half the people on the payroll in order for them to decide whether or not to hire you. Companies that take forever to make hiring decisions and involve too many people in the decision are organizations where nobody dares to make a decision on their own.

• If your interviewer is blasé about the fact that people who were supposed to meet you are out for the day or never knew you were coming, that’s another bad sign. Too much disorganization in the interview process (accompanied by little or no concern for your time) is a big red flag.

• Sometimes you will see and hear hostility right in the job interview conversation. Pamela went to a job interview with a large technology firm. Her hiring manager “Meg” gushed about the company and her own department in particular. The next manager Pam met with said “You seem like a smart person. Why do you want to work in Meg’s second-rate department?”

• Pay attention to the employees you don’t get to meet — the people who are sitting at their desks, walking around the facility and meeting in conference rooms. Listen to snippets of their conversations and you will learn a lot about the culture. Is it friendly and casual, or ‘strictly business?’ Read their body language. Are the employees relaxed, or tense?

• Finally, notice the communication between you and the employer during the hiring process. You should have access to your hiring manager once you’ve met that person and then are told you’re being considered for the role. If your hiring manager doesn’t have time to read and respond to your email and/or voice mail messages now, when will they have time for you?

Don’t be fooled by the fact that a particular organization is a household name or has a reputation as a “cool” company to work for. Cool companies can have as many problems as uncool companies do!

You can have a great time, learn a ton and grow your flame tremendously working for a “boring” firm that none of your friends have heard of.

Over the years as an HR person I have met dozens of brilliant leaders who run companies that will never make the Fastest-Growing Companies list or the Fortune 500 — and so what? They are sturdy businesses that deliver good products and services and take great care of their employees.

Work for people you like and trust — that’s the best way to go. If they are smart people and their product doesn’t sell, they’ll regroup and come up with a new product idea. If they are arrogant, clueless people, it doesn’t matter how great a product or service they sell.

If you have to watch your back at work and the stress level is so high that you can’t sleep, how good a job could it possibly be?

Walking away from the wrong job opportunity is a courageous act. Something in you changes when you stand up for yourself. Slamming the door on a bad job is a great way to bring new opportunities in!


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