Corporate culture can seem like an enigma to job seekers. Is the company's public image a reflection of its internal environment? Does anyone guide the culture, or does it develop on its own?
Interviewing with a company can provide you with the insight you need to answer these and other important questions. Asking the prospective employer about leadership styles and motivational strategies can help you decide if you want to accept a job offer.
At the same time, you should be able to demonstrate what you bring to the table in terms of personality, drive and professionalism.
"The great thing about working with a staffing firm is that we've done a lot of the legwork ahead of time to learn about a company's corporate culture," says Heather Box, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Legal Division in Dallas. "This allows us to not only target our search efforts towards finding the right type of employee for our client's environment – but also, once those potential new employees have been identified, to properly 'interview-prep' them in a way that sets them up for success, not just going into the interview, but beyond."
Here are few things to consider:
Positivity and determination
According to the Harvard Business Review, positivity in the workplace directly improves productivity by providing a buffer against stress, building strong relationships and bringing out the best attributes in people.
Employers value positive and determined individuals because these workers require less direct supervision. Determined employees won't wait for someone to come and help them; they'll reach out to ask for help. And a positive environment ensures that help will be forthcoming.
During the interview, consider describing a situation in your work history where a positive attitude helped you overcome a challenge.
Creativity and passion
The Forbes Coaches Council explained that top employers spend a lot of time looking for ways to promote individual creativity in the workplace. For example, companies such as Google develop programs to give their employees the freedom to explore, create, fail and try again.
If you have a hobby that is tangentially related to your profession, look for ways to combine the two. According to author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, many of history's greatest achievers made their breakthrough discoveries not in an office or lab but while performing some other kind of creative work that allowed them to think in new ways.
Employers who hire for creativity aren't looking for mindless drones; they want professionals who are willing and able to learn and grow on their own, and then bring those new insights to the projects at hand.
Skill and experience
Anyone who has worked at both an established business and a startup knows just how different a company's culture can be. At long-standing firms, skill and experience inform the corporate culture. This facet makes these organizations less prone to risk and more likely to develop sustainable growth. However, presenting new ideas may be a greater challenge for newcomers. At a startup, lack of experience is often balanced by fiery passion and innovation.
As you research prospective employers, try to keep these differences in mind, and determine for yourself which environment is better for your working style. When you interview for a position, show the hiring managers how your unique experiences fit into the company's established culture.
Want more advice on how to prepare for your next interview? Check out our resource center for more information.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.