The Interview: What You Might Not Be Asking About Company Culture

Sometimes, a company’s culture isn’t a good fit — for anyone.
company culture

Much of what we publish here is focused on making you, the applicant appealing to them, the interviewers/employer. But what about those times where it looks like you’re going to get offered the job, but you have that sinking feeling the fit might not be right.

Forbes has a great list of red flags for toxic company culture. Do you know what to look for in a great job — and what tell-tale signs should send you running for the hills? For example:

  1. They make a big deal out of the Ping-Pong table. Having a Ping-Pong table is fine; bragging about one is not. Why? The corporate world has somehow equated owning one with having a fun loving-culture. If your potential employers emphasize theirs, it may be a sign they’re checking off boxes rather than giving their employees what they really want.
  2. The place is a dump. Whenever I walk into an office, I look along sightlines. If I see boxes sitting in the aisles and chairs piled up in meeting rooms, I know no one cares about the place. And there is probably a good reason why.
  3. Only the leaders have offices. We’re always leery of a place where everyone has a cube except for the bosses. That usually indicates a hierarchical structure in which management and employees are at odds.
  4. No one talks about culture. Companies should try to sell you on their culture. If the person interviewing you only wants to talk about your qualifications, ask yourself what she’s not telling you about the work environment.


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