When looking for a job, most interviewees try desperately hard to impress the interviewer by being marketable and portraying the best version of themselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Great interviewees research the position, company, and the individuals they will meet during the interview. Most people spend their time preparing their physical appearance, reviewing mock interview questions, and being agreeable during the entire interview process. But how about the interviewer portraying their best, performing their research on the candidate, and preparing respectable questions? There are many things that candidates can learn and pick up about the company culture during their one hour interview or even before!
One of the things I find most helpful is researching the company. I don’t mean just looking at their objectives and pipeline or the current news on their latest breakthrough. Try and connect with people who are in the company to find out how they enjoy what they do and how their work environment makes their job a welcoming place before the interview. You need to find out if people feel like they’re making a difference in the company and if they’re happy when at work (yes, there is such a thing!)
- Can you please describe the kind of work that you do here?
- Do you feel like you are making an impact at this company?
- Can you describe the company culture and how that plays a role on work performance?
- What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
It’s important to get the scoop on how the company works in terms of the work atmosphere and if everyone is being treated with respect. Everyone from the intern to the CEO should feel well respected and that they are succeeding their career goals in their positions.
Back to the interview! I’m not an expert on reading body language, but there are some signs you can pick up on.
- During the interview, is the interviewer giving you their full attention or checking their phone every 2 minutes?
- Did you arrive at the interview only to find out that it has been rescheduled without your knowledge?
- Does the interviewer seem unprepared when explaining the position or asking about key major details they should know are already clearly printed on your resume?
- Does the staff look happy or at least content during the tour of the workspace?
- Does the staff seem like they’re friendly and get along with each other?
- Can you feel tension amongst the employees when you walk into the office?
If you’re in a situation where the company culture is far from ideal, there are small ways that you can make some changes by doing your part in providing a safe work environment where people can grow and learn from one another with a high level of respect. Respect everyone and remember that you’re in a team environment. Sure, mistakes can happen, but how you react to them and help others can make all the difference in the world.
Joviane Bellegarde is a Northeastern Alumna hailing from the Class of 2014. She graduated with a BS in Biochemistry and is working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Technical Research Assistant. In her free time, she enjoys reading, catching up on her favorite shows, and expressing her inner geek. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jovianebellegarde.