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  • Writer's pictureLindi Engelbrecht

How to establish if an organisation is a culture fit when attending an interview

Attending a job interview can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, you’re eager to impress the interviewer and land the job, but on the other hand, you want to make sure that the organization is a good fit for you. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there if you’re hired!

So, how can you establish if an organization is a good cultural fit for you?

Here are some tips that can help you figure it out.

  1. Research the Company Culture Beforehand One of the most important things you can do before an interview is to research the company culture. Check out the company’s website and social media pages to get a sense of their values, mission, and vision. You can also read reviews on websites like Glassdoor to see what current and former employees have to say about working there.

This information can give you a good idea of what the organization values and how they treat their employees. If you’re someone who values work-life balance, for example, you may want to avoid a company that’s known for working employees around the clock.

  • Pay Attention to the Interviewer’s Communication Style During the interview, pay close attention to the interviewer’s communication style. Are they friendly and approachable, or do they seem distant and formal? Do they seem genuinely interested in what you have to say, or are they just going through the motions?

The interviewer’s communication style can give you a good idea of the organization’s culture. If they’re friendly and approachable, it may indicate that the company values open communication and collaboration. If they seem distant and formal, it may suggest a more hierarchical culture where employees are expected to keep their distance from management.

  • Observe the Office Environment If you have the opportunity to visit the company’s office, take a look around and observe the environment. Is it quiet and focused, or lively and energetic? Are employees collaborating and working together, or are they working in isolation?

The office environment can give you a good idea of the company’s culture. If it’s quiet and focused, it may indicate that the organization values productivity and concentration. If it’s lively and energetic, it may suggest a more social and collaborative culture.

  • Ask the Right Questions Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer questions about the company culture. You can ask about things like work-life balance, employee engagement, and opportunities for growth and development. Their answers can give you a good idea of how the organization values their employees and what they expect from them.

Here are 5 potential questions you could ask during an interview to help you establish if an organization is a good culture fit for you:

  1. Can you describe the company culture and what it's like to work here? Asking this question can give you a broad understanding of the organization's values, work style, and atmosphere.

  2. How does the company support employee growth and development? This question can help you understand if the company invests in employee training and advancement opportunities, and whether they prioritize professional growth and development.

  3. Can you describe the management style and approach to leadership within the organization? Asking this question can give you a sense of how the company is structured and how decisions are made. Depending on the answer, you can determine whether the management style aligns with your personal preferences.

  4. How does the company prioritize work-life balance? This question can help you understand if the organization values work-life balance and whether they offer any programs or benefits to support employees' well-being.

  5. Can you give an example of a time when the company demonstrated its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Asking this question can help you determine if the organization values diversity and inclusion and is actively working to create a more equitable and welcoming workplace. It can also give you a sense of the company's approach to social responsibility and community engagement.

“If we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect – people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us – then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes.” - Jim Collins

Keep in mind that not every organization is the right fit for every person. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want in a workplace and to look for a company that aligns with those values. By doing your research, paying attention to communication styles and office environments, and asking the right questions, you can establish whether or not an organization is a good cultural fit for you.


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