4 Ways to Show Your Company’s Culture in an Interview

Posted on Oct 1, 2018 - By Martina Bretous

When you are evaluating candidates to join your company, you must always keep in mind that it is a two-sided process. Just as you are assessing a candidate’s skills and potential fit in your organization, the candidate will be conducting his or her own research on your company. Culture fit is one of the key factors in reducing turnover and increasing employee productivity. Part of your recruiting strategy should be to highlight your company’s culture through various channels to attract the right candidates. Everything from job postings to your company’s social media presence will play a role in how a candidate perceives the culture. Once the candidate gets to the interview, this is the best time for you to showcase the culture and assess whether the candidate will be a good fit.

Match Interview Style to Culture

As you begin the interview, it’s important to set the right tone. This element may mean something different for every company. The goal is to mirror the formality and communication style that the applicant would expect if he or she started working at your company. The questions you ask should reflect the values you uphold at your organization. For example, if communication is a key value, consider asking the applicant about his or her communication style and relationships with former co-workers.

Your language is another indicator of the company’s culture. If the environment is very formal, typical in a corporate environment, the interview should illustrate that. This will give the applicant a good idea of what to expect on day-to-day conversations with co-workers and supervisors. However, if your company is more informal, don’t be afraid to display this during the interview. Whatever your culture is, it’s critical that you highlight it throughout your conversation with the applicant.

Discuss Company Values and Goals

During most interviews, hiring managers will discuss the applicant’s qualifications for a specific role and evaluate their fit in the team. However, interviews are not one-sided. Candidates base their decision to join a company on many factors, not limited to financial and professional benefits. They also consider the company’s mission and its trajectory, as it is often indicative of the company’s values. With this in mind, it’s important to include a discussion on the company’s core values in the conversation. It lets the candidate know more about where the company is headed and what they are looking for. For example, philanthropic projects show a company’s dedication to the community. It can be a great transition into the applicant’s professional goals to assess if it is in line with the company’s vision.

Involve Various Departments in the Process

Many companies have subcultures within each department. When a hiring manager conducts an interview to hire within a specific team, this often comes into play. The candidate may get a sense of how their prospective team functions. However, they may be unaware of the company’s culture as a whole. As such, one effective way of providing a broad overview of the culture within the company is including other departments in the interview process.

When candidates meet employees from several departments, they may get to explore other aspects of the company. Current employees can provide the best insight into the culture, as they know it firsthand. This method offers a more holistic point of view of the company while providing a glimpse at specific areas of the company.

Give a Tour

While you can speak endlessly about your company’s culture, showing is often better. With this in mind, the first step is having the interview in the office space, if possible. The candidate will be able to get an insight into their new potential work environment and commute. Once you speak with a promising candidate, providing a tour of the company workspace can help the candidate make a decision. During the tour, a candidate can take the following factors into account:

  • Workspace Design – The layout of a company’s office can be a huge indicator of its culture. Companies that value hierarchy typically create a spatial divide in the office through separate offices, closed doors and limited visibility to establish authority. Offices with open workspaces and many group meeting areas typically reflect companies that value community and collaboration.
  • Personal Touch – An employee’s workspace can also speak volumes on the culture. When employees have personal items on their desks, such as family photos, this may signal that the company welcomes individuality and work/life balance.
  • Environment – When candidates take a look around and observe employees in an office, they get to know the office’s pace and the relationship dynamics. The environment can show potential employees a lot about the culture that you may not be able to express through an interview alone.

There is a reason why 51 percent of candidates want to visit a company’s office, as it is a subtle but strong reflection of the culture. From there, candidates get a sense of everyday life at the company and determine if the culture is in line with their ideal work environment.