My least favorite question in an interview, other than “where do you see yourself in five years?” (because let’s be real, I’ve barely planned my day, let alone the next five years.) is “do you have any questions for us?” I usually ask the interviewer to describe the company culture to me and pray that they think I’m the right fit and vice versa. But, of course, if the work environment was toxic, do you think your future employer would really tell you?
With the rise of toxic work cultures and unethical business practices, it can be easier than ever to determine if a company is creating a hostile work environment for its employees. But, even if the company is “non-toxic,” you may not necessarily fit in or like the company’s practices. Many employees are doubtful about fitting into the next company that has an offer, especially if they have just left a toxic work environment, so what can you ask as an employee to help you determine if a company will agrees ?
Elissa Shuck, career strategy coach, job search counselor and interview consultant, has compiled a list of questions to ask to help uncover leadership style and team culture.
Some of my favorite leadership style questions include:
1. How often do you like to be updated? (state of the project, challenges, communication)
Matching communication styles is very important. If you like a little more freedom to do your job, you might not want to work for an employer who blows up your email, text, or Slack channel every fifteen minutes.
2. How often do you bring your team together for collaborations and updates?
Listen, we all hate meetings that could have been an email, but on the other hand, some tasks can’t be done unless everyone is on the same page, especially when they require a interdepartmental collaboration.
3. If I am hired, what is the best way to support your efforts/vision/strategy?
Knowing how you fit in and how your talents can best be used is essential.
4. What is your approach to the professional development of your team?
You want to grow professionally, and it’s important to know which companies offer professional development, and access to good free professional development can be part of the benefits package with a 401k, retirement, and generous PTO .
Now, you and your future boss might agree, but will you fit in with the team? Knowing how your potential teams work and where you fit into the equation could make or break your experience at the company.
My favorite questions about team culture are:
1. What is the most common form of communication between team members?
I love texting because I can’t refresh my inbox 1,000 times a day. Also, I hate when something is urgent and someone takes all day (or more!) to respond to your emails. Personally, I think expecting employees to track Slack, Discord, emails and texts, AND blast them daily, is too much. I would rather have a central communication method, but if you like chaos, you like it!
2. What was the team’s most recent accomplishment?
If the teams can’t accomplish much together, that’s a sign that there’s a bigger problem within the team or management, and that’s a red flag. I would run, not walk, if they couldn’t name a single team achievement.
3. How long have you been on the team?
Many companies suffer from high employee turnover. This, again, is a symptom of a larger issue at play. Conversely, there may be several new hires – a sign that the company is growing rapidly – which means there are a lot of potential for growth or promotion within the company! And finally, if I am hired, what is the best way to support the team [efforts, vision, strategy]?
You’re a star and you deserve to be part of a team or company that lets you shine and aligns with your efforts. In the end, it could be a great company or a great team, but you might not be the right person, and that’s perfectly normal!
Employers, be prepared for candidates to ask these questions and be prepared to answer them, after all it’s better for everyone in the long run if you find a suitable employee the first time! Prospect employees, don’t be afraid to ask these questions in your next interview. The right company will not hesitate to answer it and more than ever since it is a job market for employees!
This article has only served as an abbreviated version of an important article written by an expert in the job search industry. Please go check the full post and for those job seekers, good luck for your next interview, I hope you find the right person soon!