Terrific Question for Assessing Culture in a Job Search

In The One Question You Should Ask About Every New Job, Grant says,

Ask people to tell you a story about something that happened at their organization but wouldn’t elsewhere.

There are four categories of stories:

  • The human-ness of senior management (or not)
  • Promotion opportunities for anyone
  • How the organization fires/lays off
  • The consequences for mistakes

A terrific question for cultural fit. Does this organization make decisions the way you want a potential employer to make decisions?

Grant goes on to ask about the one universal practice: How does this organization have meetings?  (See Ask Questions of the Hiring Manager and the Interview Team for this and other questions.)

If you have not articulated your values—what culture means for you—consider drawing a timeline of your career. (I have more guidance in Manage Your Job Search, but the blog post is a good start.)

If you interview with enough people, you can ask these questions during your interview. You can ask the questions on a phone screen. Don’t wait to ask until the interviewing is over and you already have an offer to ask. That’s a little late. You can rule out toxic cultures before then.

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