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The Recruiting Blog of KG Workforce Solutions.

Interview Questions to Uncover Company Culture

by kgworkforce

So, you are excited that you finally got an interview with what you believe to be your dream company! But how do you really know that the company and the position are right for you? Understanding company culture is just as important as understanding the duties of a position if you are looking for a long-term employment match.

Below are easy questions you can ask your interviewer to help uncover the true team and company culture. You don’t need to ask all of these, but pick a few that really resonate with you and make sure to fit them into your interview.

What is your favorite part of working here?

If the interviewer struggles to answer, that might be a flag. Anyone should be able to come up with at least one positive for their place of employment; or perhaps they should not be working there! This question is sure to give you insight into the company culture.

How would you describe the company culture {or team culture}?

Yes, it is that simple. Most interviewers will give you very honest information regarding the company culture if you just ask!

How financially stable is the company? 

For most public companies, you can get this information fairly easily, so this is a better question for small businesses and privately held companies. The answer to this question will not only give you an idea of the company’s stability, but also some insight into how transparent the company is (don’t expect to get financial details, but you should be able to tell if the interviewer has any idea or if such questions are considered faux pas in their company culture ).

Why is this position open?

Did someone resign or get terminated? Is the company growing? Has there been a restructure? This information will provide a lot of insight and often open the door for additional questions about the company culture, specific information about the position, and general turnover data.

What is the management structure for the team {or company}?

Depending on your personality, you may prefer a flatter organization or one with many management layers. This question will help you understand the hierarchy, while also giving you some insight into possible growth potential without specifically asking.

What is the performance management or performance review process?

This question is really important. If you work best with constant feedback and in-person communication, a performance management process where you meet with your manager once a year and sign a form, may not be well suited for you. Conversely, if you are a “give me a task and let me be” type employee, a performance management process that includes weekly status checks and pep talks with your manager may not be ideal.

Do most employees eat lunch together or alone, or work through lunch?

This might seem like a simple or odd question, but you can learn about how employees interact with one another by the answer you get to this question.

What are your primary communication tools with your team (email, phone, in-person)?

If you thrive with personalized communication and lots of face time with your manager, do you want to work for a manager who relies mostly on email? If you prefer email communication, will a manager who wants to talk in person all the time drive you nuts? Neither is right or wrong, just better suited for some people than others.

Accepting a new job is a big commitment. Take the time to research and prepare before you interview, and try to learn about the company culture. This will give you the best chance of accepting a position where you will thrive and be happy.

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Additional blog articles available at KG Blog.

What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

by kgworkforce

Frustrated Interviewee

You’re in an interview and it’s going well. You’re qualified and you’ve impressed them so far. You’re thinking you have this in the baguntil the interviewer asks, “What’s your greatest weakness?” Your mind goes blank, an awkward silence sets in, and you feel yourself begin to sweat. What do you do?!

“What is your greatest weakness?” is one of the most dreaded, yet common, interview questions. Understanding why employers ask this question and being prepared to answer the question are critical to a successful interview.

Why do employers ask this question? Do they really think they will get an honest and insightful answer? Yes, they do. Employers want to know the good and the bad about applicants so they can make the best hiring decision possible. It also provides a prospective employer the opportunity to see how a job applicant responds to a question that intentionally makes them a little uncomfortable. Many times, the employer is just as concerned with HOW you answer this question as they are with WHAT your answer is.

So how do you answer this question? First, you prepare. This question is intended to throw you off your game. But since it is one of the most common interview questions, there is no excuse for letting it stump you. Use this question to help separate you from other candidates by having an insightful, honest, and memorable response. Avoid the most common answers to this question. The clichéd responses include “I am a perfectionist”, “I am too critical of my work”, and “I don’t think I have a weakness”. Even if these clichés are true for you, this is not how you want to respond. EVERYONE has a weakness!

This simple formula will help you conquer this question like a pro:

Declaration + Example + Accomplishment

Declaration: Explain your weakness in an honest, concise form. For example, “I like to help people and it is hard for me to say no sometimes.”

Example: Provide an example that is concise and business related. For example, “Early in my career, when I was working at (Company), I was sitting at my desk one night wrapping up a presentation for a huge sales meeting the next day. I was thinking to myself, why am I still working on this at 9 pm the night before the presentation? That’s when I realized that I had to start telling people no. I had taken on so many special projects that week that I was just overloaded.”

Tough Interview

Accomplishment: Turn the weakness into an accomplishment or positive. For example, “I still love being the go-to person who everyone trusts to do whatever is needed to get the job done. And I still do whatever it takes to get the job done. But I have learned that I can only do so much without sacrificing quality or missing deadlines. Now when someone asks if I can take on a special project or just quickly pull together that report they want ASAP, I really think about it before I say yes. And if I don’t have time, I am confident enough to openly discuss my concerns. I used to think saying no was a sign of weakness, but as I have matured in my career, I have learned that not being able to say no is actually the weakness.”

Have at least two responses prepared for this question and practice delivering your response ahead of time. You may feel silly, but it is much better to feel silly practicing your answers alone or with a friend than in person during a real interview.

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