The culture test: 15 great questions to ask about company culture

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At the end of a job interview, you’re usually given the opportunity to ask questions of your interviewer to learn more about the company. The most common questions you might ask for this part of this interview are about general job details like work hours, pay, and requirements of the role, right? Sure, makes a lot of sense.

But if you’re like most modern career-minded job candidates, it’s very likely that you care a lot about not only whether the job a good fit for you, but also the company, the team and the culture as a whole. If that’s the case, there are other types of questions that you should be asking – those questions are the ones that specifically help you get real insight on the company’s culture.

What is company culture?

According to Terrance Deal and Allen Kennedy in their book Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life, it’s “the way we do things around here.” While every company defines culture in their own way, most agree that culture is about you, the people who make up the company. It’s about how the company makes you feel about the work you do and support you in that work. Do they promote innovation? Do they allow room for error? Do they prioritize your health and wellness and rest? These can all be considered aspects of company culture.

Why should culture matter to you? Because it’s like the best insight that you can get into how the job is really going to feel every day. And that’s important, right?

Questions about Culture

Keep in mind that the person interviewing you is also an employee of the company who has lots of insight about what it’s really like to work there. Ask them the right questions and they can be a hugely valuable resource for you. This list of questions is a great starting point; choose a handful that are best aligned with your motivators:

 

  1. Why do you like working here and what motivates you to come to work every day?
  2. How do people at the company unwind and recharge after working hard?
  3. How does the organization promote the professional growth and development of its employees?
  4. How are employees here recognized for their results?
  5. How does the company address failure? And success?
  6. Is there a lot of collaboration within teams and across different ones?
  7. How do managers and employees share feedback?
  8. Is there a lot of room for working independently or autonomously?
  9. What are the most common causes of conflict in the organization and how is it resolved?
  10. How does the company celebrate successes and achievements?
  11. What activities does the company offer to promote team building?
  12. What measures does the company take to give back to their local communities and those in need?
  13. What are some things the company has done to accommodate employees with families?
  14. What kind of people seem to be the most successful here?
  15. How does the organization promote work-life balance for its employees?

 

Choose the questions that address the aspects that mean the most to you, whether that’s the company’s efforts to do good in the world or their interest in supporting work-life balance for parents. Adjust your questions based on the interviewer’s answers to previous questions, i.e. if they’ve been with the company just three weeks you may ask what attracted them to the role or whether the role has been what they expected it to be rather than why they’ve stayed for as long as they have.

Finally, write your questions down in advance. It’s common to experience a moment of forgetfulness during a high-stakes interview. Coming prepared demonstrates your interest in the role, organization, and preparedness and ensures you leave with what you really need to know: whether you’ll like working here or not.

Companies with great company culture on kununu

Aptive Environmental

kununu score: 4.83

Aptive Environmental is a environmentally-responsible pest control company that offers residential and commercial services to “make life easier, homes safer and businesses more productive.” That’s a pretty bold statement, but given it’s truly stellar scores across pretty much every work-life category including and most relevantly teamwork, it would seem that Aptive Environmental knows a thing or two about running a solid, productive company culture. These scores come from employee reviews, after all, and Aptive Environmental has over 160 reviews!

Employees say: Aptive is a family. They work very hard to create a fun and motivating place for everyone.

Shepherd Center, Inc.

kununu score: 4.82

Shepherd Center, Inc. is a private, not-for profit hospital in Atlanta, Georgia specializing in the medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury and disease, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and other neuromuscular problems. Hospitals are one type of company where there are so many focus areas, specialists and departments that it’s hard to know if teamwork “works” well in it, but according to Shepherd Center, Inc.’s employee reviews, its teamwork culture truly is a strong point for the hospital, which ought to be attractive for prospective job seekers who want to work for a hospital with a great team culture.

Employees say: I love everything about this company because I feel that they value their employees and appreciate what we do.

Mountain America Federal Credit Union

Mountain America Federal Credit Union, also known as MACU, is a North Carolina-based federally-insured credit union that offers financial products and services across eight locations in NC. As we’ve noticed in other companies on this list, MACU is very customer-focused as a business, which is a huge sign that they have caring, compassionate employees. Add in the fact that it’s a bank means that patience is a necessity too among its team members. Put that altogether and it’s not too surprising that they have a great teamwork score, but that’s still cause for celebration!

Employees say: Great company with great benefits. Fun, welcoming environment. Great leadership.

 

Not your industry? Check out the full list of companies with an awesome company culture, here!

 

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