Much is said by companies of a “cultural fit”. What “cultural fit” describes is an employer’s belief about the way his or her company should be when considering the qualifications and personalities of the staff it hires, the working conditions and atmosphere within the organisation, and the company’s core beliefs and vision.
This is just one side of the coin, however. As an employee, you will want to know many things, including whether the business or organisation you’re applying to actually has a cultural fit with you, the stability of employment on offer, how well the company is doing, and more.
Ask these questions at the end of your interview. How your interviewer answers it will give you a clear insight into the company you may be working for in the next few weeks.
1 - “How has the role I’m applying for come up?”
If this is a brand-new position, the likelihood is that this is a good sign. It suggests expansion and points to a heathy business, which should be good for overall company morale.
If the role is a replacement for someone leaving the job, ask where the previous incumbent has moved to and how long they were in the job. This is a fair question. If they moved within the business, that’s usually good news as it demonstrates scope for progression and development in the organisation. If, on the other hand, the previous job-holder left the business after only a short time, it is worth knowing why.
2 - “What is the staff turnover like here?”
Another fair question, though be tactful! Certain roles do have higher turnover rates than others – particularly sales & BD. However, if people tend to stay in the organisation, this is usually a sign that it is a happy place to work.
Sometimes, however, changes happen in the workplace that are not the fault of the employer (eg office relocation, acquisition etc), so if there has been some coming & going recently, give the interviewer the opportunity to say what the company’s approach is to improving staff retention. It might reveal some positive developments and plans that could benefit you as a new employee.
3 - “How has the company performed in the last few years?” or, more simply, “How’s business?”
As an employee, it is reasonable for you to ascertain the financial stability of the business that’s interviewing you. Asking the question in this way gives your enquiry the positive spin needed to find out what you want to know.
If a company is expanding quickly, you may want to ask what is behind the growth. This is a good way to allow the interviewer to ‘open up’ and say more about the business and their strengths.
4 - “What do people in the business get up to out of work? Are there social events?”
If you ask this, it sounds, on the face of it, as if you are trying to find out if there is a social scene within the business. But it’s also a good way to find out if there is a social bond in the business and what the management’s attitude is to work & play.
5 - “Is there anything you would like to know about me and my interests?”
This is a useful question to ask as it might reveal common areas of interest between you and the interviewer or team. Then again, it might reveal the opposite. Either way, it would be good to know whether or not you have anything in common on a personal level.