Top 15 questions to ask about company culture

You cannot be a bull in China shop and slam into an organization and ask, “hey what is your company culture like?”

Besides the fact, you will not be hired there, an organization will feel dignified answering the question in a polished marketing-approved manner rather than a candid discussion. 

If you out rightly ask about the culture of an organization to either a recruiter or a Human Resources manager, they will tell you what you want to hear. There are a number of questions you can specifically ask during your interview to uncover the inside details about an organization’s culture

We have asked a few recruiters and hiring experts what questions they are frequently asked by candidates about the organization’s culture. These questions can help you next time you are in an interview and want to uncover the secrets. 

Learn more: Work Culture Survey Questions + Sample Questionnaire Template 

Top 15 Questions to Ask About Company Culture

My favorite definition of culture is, “Culture is a collection of words, actions, thoughts, and stuff that clarify and reinforce what truly is valued inside an organization” coined by noted author Jamie Notter. 

Culture ranges from how people dress up at work, how they communicate, what types of discussions they participate to the leadership, reward system and more, as a future employee you will have better work satisfaction, be happier if you find your match! 

There are specific questions we will discuss in this section, that you can ask your future employer(s) to find out whether the organization is right for you. These questions will give you more information than what you simply want to hear. Here are the top 15 questions you need to ask: 

Questions related to engagement and support 

  1. What makes you proud to be associated with the organization?
  2. How does the organization help with your professional development?
  3. What kinds of training programs are conducted here?
  4. Is risk-taking encouraged in this organization?
  5. What is that one thing you want to change about the organization?

Questions related to conflict resolution 

  1. What are the probable methods used for conflict resolution?
  2. Can you describe what is “conflict” referred to in this organization?
  3. How and when do people give feedback to each other in this organization?
  4. How are high stake decisions made in this organization?
  5. Who is the supreme authority in this organization?

Questions related to the work environment

  1. How does the organization celebrate it’s employees’ success?
  2. How do the managers motivate the team if they have failed to achieve any targets?
  3. Does the organization have any flexible working arrangements?
  4. What are the kinds of rewards offered to the employee for their exceptional contribution?
  5. What are the recreational activities offered to the employees?

Benefits of asking the right questions

In organizations where asking questions is not encouraged, information is usually hoarded and people tend to be doing the same thing every day, not willing to take enough risks. In an answer driven organization, people are curious, risk-taking and keep challenging to do better days after days. You should ask questions to get the answers. Asking the right questions can help you uncover a lot more than you can anticipate. 

Here are the top 3 benefits of asking the right questions to uncover the culture of an organization: 

  1. Innovation: Innovation in an organization is when people do things differently. Ask the right question to understand if the organization has a culture of innovation or risk-taking. If an organization is not innovative, it will soon be primitive. If you like to innovate and take risks then you better associate yourself with an organization that appreciates those traits. 
  2. Improved decision making: When you know the culture of an organization and you also know you it is the right fit for you, once you join the organization, you will be able to make better decisions as you now know what is acceptable and what is not. This way you can stay on top of your game and make informed decisions that will benefit the bottom line of the organization. 
  3. Quick to adapt: Asking the right culture questions during your interview, gives you reassurance if the organization is right for you or not. Once you have taken the decision to be a part of the organization, you can now easily adapt to its culture because you are already familiar with it. This reduces your response time to many on-going activities around you and you can quickly adapt to the working style. 

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