Ideally, you’ll fit right into your office culture and not feel like an outsider or an eccentric or “that guy.” After all, you go to work to do your job, not to make friends, right?
However, the culture of your workplace makes a big difference in whether you feel comfortable and happy. And in turn, this feeling of comfort directly impacts your work ethic and productivity.
If you’re not sure you’llfit in with the company’s culture, the time to find out is before you accept the job. Here’s how to make sure the company’s culture is right for you.
Collaboration Versus Solo Work
One of the main questions you should be asking your interviewer is whether most of your time will be spent collaborating with others on your team, or whether you’ll be working alone most of the time. Most jobs require some aspects of each, but your interviewer should be able to give you an approximation of how you’ll spend your time. You know whether you prefer to work alone or with others, and the answer to this question will help you make a better fit in the company.
Close Supervision Versus Freedom
Some jobs require close supervision for every task, while others allow the individual employee to structure her own day with very little guidance. Most job descriptions fall somewhere in between, but lean toward one extreme or the other.
If you like a hands-on boss who provides constant feedback, you won’t be as happy in a role that offers a lot of freedom. Be sure to ask how often your work will be looked at and what kind of freedom you’ll have to guide your own projects.
To gauge the company culture, be sure to ask about after-hours activities. Ask this question carefully; you don’t want the interviewer to think you’re a party animal. But it’s important to know whether people in the office celebrate birthdays, have going-away parties, or engage in off-site team building activities.
Some people just want to go home after work or don’t have time to socialize with their coworkers; others relish the idea of getting closer to their work companions. Find out which attitude your prospective company espouses and see if that works for you.
Similarly, you want to know if the company offers seminars, networking opportunities, or classes that can help you be a better worker. Ideally, a company should encourage these outside-of-work activities, but you should know upfront how much they expect you to partake in or if they even encourage your presence in these learning opportunities at all. If you plan on moving up in the company, these opportunities can be a gold mine.
Specific Tasks or General Goals
Some companies will have a list of tasks you need to take on periodically, while others simply give you an ephemeral goal and ask you to get there on your own. Again, most companies land somewhere on the spectrum, so it’s a good idea to ask where this company is in terms of goals or tasks so you’ll know how your day is structured. If you’re the kind of person who prefers checklists to outcomes in terms of how to manage your responsibilities, you may find it difficult to fit in with a company that focuses more on the ultimate end point.Asking these questions in an interview will help you gauge whether the company’s culture is right for you, and it allows the interviewer to determine whether you’re a good fit for their culture. Sure, anyone with the right qualifications can do the job, but apersonality clashcan make a workplace unpleasant for everyone.
Finding out in advance whether you’ll fit the company’s culture will make sure you get the right job for you. You can find out what kind of environment you prefer by tryingLiveCareer’s Career Test. Knowing what kind of workplace you’ll thrive in shows you’re an engaged interviewee, which will make you a more attractive candidate overall.
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