If their response doesn’t sound like you, it might not be the role for you. Thank them for their answer and chalk it up to experience. You’ll know what and what not to look out for in your next application or interview.
What are the company’s values?
If you can't find a firm’s values online, ask about them during your interview. It can help you determine if the company’s culture and your personal beliefs align.
What is your favourite thing about working for the company?
Hearing current employees' and managers' thoughts gives you a deeper insight into the business. You may learn something that you wouldn’t find on the company’s website, via their social media channels or from job adverts.
If you feel comfortable, you could also ask what one thing would change about the company if they could. How do they react? Do they answer or avoid your question? Does their response feel genuine or scripted?
How are projects delivered? Is it a team approach, or do people work on their own projects?
This goes back to our earlier question of whether you prefer collaboration or autonomy. Depending on which working style works best for you, you’ll know whether you want a team-led or individual-led culture.
What is your management style?
You want a boss who brings out the best in you. A manager's style can be perfect for a particular employee and help them succeed in their role. In contrast, another employee might struggle or feel constrained under their lead.
Some managers provide direction, while others include their team in the decision-making. One manager could be involved in the day-to-day duties and hand out tasks. Another might be more relaxed and encourage employees to use their initiative.
Only you know what style you respond to. Listen carefully to answers during interviews. What does your gut feeling tell you? Does it sound like the right approach for you?
What training or learning and development opportunities do you provide for employees? What opportunities would there be for long-term career growth?
Showing that you want a long-term career and are serious about developing your skills can impress interviewers. Unless it is a temporary role, most employers want someone who is committed to the business. It also gives you the opportunity to find out how they invest in their staff, and whether that suits your professional and personal goals.
How do you encourage staff to have a work-life balance?
Job adverts and descriptions can only give you so much information about the culture of a business. Work-life balance can be tricky to judge until you join a company. But asking the question in an interview can start to build a picture. Do the interviewers openly answer or skirt your question? Does their answer tick all the boxes for you regarding work-life balance?
What does success look like in this role/how do you measure success?
This can help you determine whether a business has a goal and targets-driven culture. Or if they create an environment where ideas are free-flowing, and employees solve problems. Returning to those earlier questions, it is about what style makes you feel comfortable and confident.
If I’m successful, what is the first thing I should do when I’m in the role?
This is a tactful question, as it can give you a plan of action if you’re offered the job. It also gives you an understanding of what is important to the business. Assess how this aligns with your values and way of working to establish whether you’re a cultural fit.
Work with a trusted recruiter to find your ideal culture
When you sign up with Search, you’ll gain access to our network of more than 4k leading UK employers.
You’ll be paired with a consultant who will dedicate the time to get to know your experience, goals and values. They will work with you to match you with a company where they know you’ll be a cultural fit. Register or upload your CV today.