Virtual interviews have become popular in today’s job market, especially for remote positions. This practice is convenient for all parties since things like travel time and sweaty palms don’t matter. But how can you determine a company’s culture without setting foot in their offices? Use these tips to evaluate a potential employer during a virtual interview.
Understand Your Needs
First, you need to establish what appeals to you and what is important to you as an employee. Look at your own values and determine the factors that will signal a similar culture.
If you’re interviewing with multiple companies, consider creating a pros and cons chart for each. Or, use a checklist system with your desired company traits and amenities and use it to evaluate each company. Don’t forget to leave room for notes!
Do Your Research
Before going into any interview, you should always research the company. When looking for clues about their culture, review the company’s mission and value statements. If they align with your values, that’s a good sign! If they don’t, it should be considered a red flag.
Besides the company’s website, you can research on third-party sites like Glassdoor. However, use these sites with caution! Remember that you can’t verify the accuracy of the information, and most of it is subjective (like opinions).
You can also view the company’s social media accounts (and even their leaders) and look for mentions by other accounts. This could give you a behind-the-scenes look at what’s happening and being said.
Look For Cues
Once your interview is underway, pay attention to the interviewer’s responses. Words are important, but also be aware of their body language, enthusiasm and energy level, and any changes in tone.
If you are interviewing with different team members, you can ask each person the same company culture questions to see how their answers align (or vary). Companies should be preparing for interviews too, so most of your questions should be expected.
Some questions that can provide context for the company’s culture include:
- Does the company encourage employees to directly contact higher-ups with ideas?
- How do managers motivate employees when objectives have not been met?
- What does growth and career development look like?
- How is success measured?
- What is your management style?
- How would you describe the work environment?
- What does work/life balance look like at your company?
Compare Your Options
Once you’ve completed your interviews, refer to your checklists or pros and cons lists. It’s important to envision yourself at each company and determine how different factors will affect your position. Work/life balance and company culture are critical components of your employment, so consider carefully!