Company culture, the invisible force that shapes an organisation’s soul, is often overshadowed by flashy perks and benefits. You may think it’s tough to figure out company culture at interview stage, and perks listed in the job description (if listed) offer little insight into the true essence of a workplace. Sometimes, they can be more of a smokescreen. To truly understand a company’s culture and determine if it aligns with your values and aspirations, you may need to read between the lines and ask the right questions.

1. What is the company’s mission and values?

Delve into the core purpose that drives the company and the guiding principles that shape its decisions and actions. Do the company’s mission and values resonate with you personally? Do they reflect a sense of purpose and social responsibility? Understanding the organisation’s fundamental beliefs can help you gauge if it’s a place where you’ll feel fulfilled and motivated.

2. How are employees empowered and recognised?

A thriving company culture empowers employees to take ownership of their work and encourages initiative. Explore how the company supports professional growth, fosters creativity, and promotes autonomy. Do employees have opportunities for advancement and skill development? Are their contributions recognised and celebrated regularly? A culture that values and empowers its employees is more likely to inspire loyalty and high performance.

3. How does the company prioritise collaboration and teamwork?

Collaboration is the bedrock of many successful organisations. Inquire about the company’s approach to teamwork and collaboration. Are there cross-functional projects, team-building activities, or platforms for knowledge sharing? Does the company foster an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas, seeking help, and working together to achieve common goals? A collaborative culture can lead to greater innovation, problem-solving, and camaraderie among colleagues.

4. How does leadership communicate and engage with employees?

Leadership plays a crucial role in shaping company culture. Investigate how leaders communicate with employees, whether it’s through regular group meetings, one-on-one meetings, or transparent communication channels. Are leaders accessible and approachable? Do they actively seek feedback and input from employees? Open communication channels and approachable leaders create a sense of trust and transparency, allowing employees to feel heard and valued. This is relevant whether you’re interviewing for a large company or a smaller organisation. Communicating important information to employees is crucial either way. How reachable and accessible is your manager? This is also a factor that will shape your time at work!

5. How does the company promote employee well-being?

Beyond traditional benefits like health insurance or commute allowances, explore how the company supports employee well-being holistically. Are there wellness programs, mental health resources, or initiatives to promote work-life balance? Does the company encourage employees to take breaks, disconnect from work, and prioritise their physical and mental health? A company that genuinely cares about employee well-being creates a supportive and sustainable work environment.

In conclusion, when evaluating a potential employer, don’t let the allure of perks distract you from the deeper cultural aspects. By asking insightful questions, you can uncover the true heart of the company and determine if it’s a place where you can thrive personally and professionally. Remember, a positive company culture isn’t just about the tangible benefits—it’s about the intangible values, beliefs, and behaviours that create a fulfilling and meaningful workplace.

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