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So, you are excited that you finally got an interview with what you believe to be your dream company! But how do you really know that the company and the position are right for you? Understanding company culture is just as important as understanding the duties of a position if you are looking for a long-term employment match.

Below are easy questions you can ask your interviewer to help uncover the true team and company culture. You don’t need to ask all of these, but pick a few that really resonate with you and make sure to fit them into your interview.

What is your favorite part of working here?

If the interviewer struggles to answer, that might be a flag. Anyone should be able to come up with at least one positive for their place of employment; or perhaps they should not be working there! This question is sure to give you insight into the company culture.

How would you describe the company culture {or team culture}?

Yes, it is that simple. Most interviewers will give you very honest information regarding the company culture if you just ask!

How financially stable is the company? 

For most public companies, you can get this information fairly easily, so this is a better question for small businesses and privately held companies. The answer to this question will not only give you an idea of the company’s stability, but also some insight into how transparent the company is (don’t expect to get financial details, but you should be able to tell if the interviewer has any idea or if such questions are considered faux pas in their company culture ).

Why is this position open?

Did someone resign or get terminated? Is the company growing? Has there been a restructure? This information will provide a lot of insight and often open the door for additional questions about the company culture, specific information about the position, and general turnover data.

What is the management structure for the team {or company}?

Depending on your personality, you may prefer a flatter organization or one with many management layers. This question will help you understand the hierarchy, while also giving you some insight into possible growth potential without specifically asking.

What is the performance management or performance review process?

This question is really important. If you work best with constant feedback and in-person communication, a performance management process where you meet with your manager once a year and sign a form, may not be well suited for you. Conversely, if you are a “give me a task and let me be” type employee, a performance management process that includes weekly status checks and pep talks with your manager may not be ideal.

Do most employees eat lunch together or alone, or work through lunch?

This might seem like a simple or odd question, but you can learn about how employees interact with one another by the answer you get to this question.

What are your primary communication tools with your team (email, phone, in-person)?

If you thrive with personalized communication and lots of face time with your manager, do you want to work for a manager who relies mostly on email? If you prefer email communication, will a manager who wants to talk in person all the time drive you nuts? Neither is right or wrong, just better suited for some people than others.

Accepting a new job is a big commitment. Take the time to research and prepare before you interview, and try to learn about the company culture. This will give you the best chance of accepting a position where you will thrive and be happy.

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