When looking for a new job, don’t overlook the importance of culture. You won’t learn what you need to know by asking generic questions such as “What’s the culture like?” or “Are people treated well?” Bill Barnett, a former McKinsey & Company executive, recommends considering:
• Purpose. Seek an institution whose purpose you could find inspiring. Are people proud of what they do? Do they use the word “we” when talking about their work?
•. Do you prefer to work in a highly collaborative environment or more independently?
• Colleagues. How do people interact with each other? Do they give a lot of deference to senior people? How does the level of the talent compare to earlier positions?
• Communication. How people communicate with others, and how they expect you to communicate with them, will affect your day-to-day life. Consider how well people’sfit with your preferences. See if the communication during the interview matches the answers to your questions.
• Performance. You’ll want to know how fair or demandingis and how supervisors evaluate your work. You might ask: “How often will I receive a and what measures do you use to rate employees?”
• Productivity. A good match of process and policy against your preferences will significantly affect your productivity. Look around the office. Is it orderly or disorderly? Is the hiring process professional and respectful? Are there any red flags?
— Adapted from “To Investigate Culture, Ask the Right Questions,” Bill Barnett, Harvard Business Review Blog.
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