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3 Ways To Assess A Company’s Culture During Your Job Search

3 Ways To Assess A Company’s Culture During Your Job Search

Now more than ever, it’s essential to understand a company’s culture before joining their team. According to a report by SHRM, in the last year, one in five Americans left a job due to poor company culture. Additionally, consumers are holding brands accountable. In a recent COVID-19 brand trust report, 90% of people believe brands must do everything they can to protect their employees’ and suppliers’ well-being and financial security. So, it won’t cut it anymore to simply provide a competitive salary. But how can you determine the company’s culture during your job search? Start with these three ways.

Do Your Research

Now, with the presence of social media, it’s easier than ever to get a picture of a company’s culture. Check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t forget to explore employee profiles too! Additionally, browse company reviews on Glassdoor or Google to get an idea of what past and current employees think. (Just remember to take reviews with a grain of salt!) And, if any red flags come up, be sure to address them during your interview.

Observe

If you go in person for an interview, be sure to observe everything around you. Do the other employees seem friendly and happy to be at work? What does the office look like? You want to keep an eye out for how people are dressed, office cleanliness, and updated equipment. As you observe, try to picture yourself as an employee. Does it seem like a place you could see yourself working?

Ask The Right Questions

When the interviewer turns it back around to you, have a couple of great questions at the ready. You want to go beyond the obvious, “what’s the company culture here?” in order to paint a complete picture of the team and company culture. Here are a few of our favorites (and what to listen for in an answer):

Tell Me About A Recent Team Win.

When the interviewer answers this question, you want to hear them celebrate wins, both big and small. Additionally, a hiring manager should give recognition to the team members involved.

How Does The Department Handle Conflict?

Conflict is bound to come up in team environments. However, it’s all about how the leadership handles it. Ideally, they will have a process in place to address inner-team conflict. The answer you don’t want to hear is, “we don’t have conflict.” Chances are, they are avoiding it, or team members don’t feel comfortable sharing any conflicts with their manager!

Are There Opportunities For Development?

Development opportunities are a great indicator of a supportive and encouraging work culture. If companies give their employees the chance to grow their skills and move up in the company, they will invest in your success.

In the end, there’s actually quite a bit you can learn from about a company’s culture from the outside. You just have to know what to look for! Another great way to understand company culture is to partner with a recruiting firm like Johnson Service Group. We have exclusive relationships with hiring managers and get all of the insider information that you need. Ready to get started? Explore our jobs or contact a recruiter today!

Interview Questions For Every Stage Of The Interview Process

Interview Questions For Every Stage Of The Interview Process

If you’ve spent any time on our blog at all, you know you need to ask questions during your interviews. However, it can be challenging to determine which questions to ask at which stage. Modern interviews feature anywhere from one to eight different interviews for one job. And the questions you ask during the initial phone screen should be different from the questions you ask at a final interview. Today, we’re breaking down the differences and laying out interview questions for every stage of the process.

Initial Phone Screen Interview Questions

The initial phone screen might not even be with the actual hiring manager, so it’s not the time to get into the nitty-gritty details. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get any further clarification on the position, company, or work environment. Here are a few examples of great interview questions to ask during your initial phone screen.

  • Can you provide some more information about this aspect of the job?
  • Is this position in office, remote, or hybrid?
  • Would you like a list of references?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?
  • When can I expect to hear about the next step?
  • Is there anything else I can share about my experience or qualifications?

Face-to-Face Interview Questions

When you have a face-to-face interview, things are getting a bit more serious. You’re most likely meeting with the hiring manager or maybe even additional team members at this stage. Whether it’s in-person or over video chat, it’s the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the job’s duties and the team’s culture. Here are a couple of great questions to ask during a face-to-face interview.

  • How can I make an immediate impact in this position?
  • Who will I be working with most closely?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development?
  • What is the company or team’s management style?
  • What is most challenging about this job?
  • What is your favorite part about working here?

Final Interview Questions

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You are in strong consideration for the role, so this is the perfect time to really wow the interviewer with some great questions. At this point, you can really get into the details of what it would look like for you to be in this role and how you personally would fit in with the team. Here are a few bold questions you can ask during a final interview to leave a lasting impression.

  • What are the performance metrics for this role?
  • How will expectations and feedback be communicated for this position?
  • How do I compare to other candidates interviewing for this job?
  • What would you say are the most important skills for a successful person in this position to have?
  • How does this position contribute to the larger goals of the organization?
  • How would you describe your department’s culture?
  • If I were to be hired for this position, when would you like me to start?

These are just a handful of questions you can ask at each stage of the interview process. Keep in mind that it’s best to also incorporate questions that arise during your interviews, and don’t be afraid to circle back to something you need more information on. And if you’re interested in more interview advice, check out our interview prep and advice resources to increase your interview knowledge and boost your confidence.

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

It’s important that you show up to any interview with a few great questions at the ready. However, in today’s day and age, those questions may look a little bit different. There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is on everybody’s mind. And that doesn’t change just because you’re looking for a new job! If COVID-19 policies and procedures are a priority for you (and they should be), it is perfectly acceptable to ask COVID-related questions during your interview. As always, read the room to gauge which questions would be most appropriate. Here are five possible COVID questions you can ask at your next interview.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company?

No matter what industry they are in, their company’s size, or the role you’re interviewing for, the company has most certainly been impacted by COVID-19. Work may have slowed or stopped altogether, they may have shifted to remote work, or the company may have even implemented layoffs and furloughs. What you’re looking for in the interviewer’s answer here is transparency. You should not expect them to have handled it perfectly; that is unrealistic. However, if they are transparent about the struggles they experienced, that’s a good sign that they’ll be transparent with employees!

Will I be expected to come into the office, or are you offering remote work?

Hopefully, this was covered earlier in the interview. However, if it wasn’t, it’s essential to address it! Additionally, you can gain further clarification into their remote work policies. Is it temporary? How much flexibility do they offer? Are employees expected to secure additional childcare when working from home?

What are your COVID-19 procedures?

This is a great lead-in question to discuss COVID-19 safety measures. If the company requires employees to work in-office, are they following social distancing guidelines, providing hand sanitizer, and adhering to mask requirements? Additionally, you’ll want to understand their procedures if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. Do they require all employees to quarantine? Is it possible to complete your work while quarantined? The interviewer’s answers to this challenging question will give you a glimpse into how much they prioritize their staff’s health.

How has COVID-19 affected your vacation and sick leave policies?

Prior to the pandemic, it was utterly taboo to ask about paid time off during the interview. However, things have changed in the past year! COVID-19 has forced many companies to rethink their traditional vacation and sick leave policies. With a minimum self-isolation period of 10 days after exposure, you could burn through traditional PTO very quickly if they haven’t made accommodations. Just be sure to frame the question as above rather than the greedy “how many vacation days would I get?”

What have you done to support employees working from home?

Lastly, if the company is allowing employees to work from home, please ask more about it! Starting a new job isn’t easy, and it’s intimidating if you’re in a traditional office setting, not to mention working from home during a global pandemic without having met anyone in person! You will want to hear that they have established a remote onboarding program, prioritize employee development, and make significant efforts to decrease isolation through various communication software.

As we mentioned above, it’s impossible to expect picture-perfect answers to these challenging COVID questions. Instead, look for transparency, organization, and active actions. And remember, it’s okay for you to prioritize your health and safety during an interview! If you want to feel extra prepared for your Coronavirus-era interview, explore our candidate resources for more tips and tricks!

Interview Question: What Motivates You?

Interview Question: What Motivates You?

What They Want To Know

It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this interview question. When a hiring manager asks, “what motivates you?” they genuinely want to know what gets you up in the morning and excited for the day. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should blurt out the first thing that comes to mind!

You do not need to delve into all of the personal and existential reasons you are motivated each day. Instead, focus on what excites you about your job. What will you look forward to most in this position you’re interviewing for? When the chips are down, and things are tough, how will you be motivated to pull out of it and succeed?

Example Answer For “What Motivates You?”

“As a Project Manager, I love to see everything come together in a successful project. I am so passionate about finalizing all the details of a project, checking off every “to-do” on the list. In fact, my family frequently refers to me as the “Project Manager of our Home” because I carry the same principles into my personal life! No task can be left undelegated; no part of the plan is left undone. For me, there is nothing that compares to the satisfaction of spearheading a successful project. So, when times are challenging, I just remember to keep that end goal in sight.”

Final Comments

This answer is perfect because it goes beyond the surface. The candidate not only explained what motivates them but also painted a complete picture for the interviewer. Finally, it cements their status as a great candidate for the interview because it shows that the candidate’s goals will be aligned with the company’s goals.

Need Help Answering More Common Interview Questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

What They Want To Know

This question tends to put candidates on the defense thinking about how they like to be managed. A hiring manager asks this to understand if you will mesh with their team and leadership style. Many managers deploy multiple management tactics depending on the makeup of their team. Thus, it’s helpful to anticipate how you would fit in.

This is a question that pays to prepare for ahead of time. Think back to times in your career when you were satisfied with your leaders. What did you like most about how you were managed? Additionally, see if you can glean any information about the management culture of the company you are interviewing with. Often, the company’s website or social media will offer insights into the company culture. And in the end, tie it back to your anticipation for this role in particular.

Example Answer For “How Do You Like To Be Managed?”

“Throughout my career, I’ve found that I work best with a Manager that values clear and open communication. I am most successful when I truly understand my role on the team and what is expected from me. On the other hand, I love being able to go to my manager with new ideas and questions. I am able to work independently when the communication channel is there.

This is why, when I was looking at the “About” page on your website, I was excited to see that communication is one of your core values. Reading that reinforced the notion that this company would be an excellent fit for me.”

Final Comments

In general, you want to keep the focus on the positives. Avoid bringing up management styles you don’t like or mentioning previous managers you didn’t jive with. We like the above answer to “how do you like to be managed?” because it brings it back to your qualifications!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

What They Want To Know

Congratulations – you made it through the entire interview. Then suddenly, the hiring manager hits you with this question. Your mind is racing, trying to think of the right question that will sound intelligent and insightful. Don’t fret – your interviewer really isn’t trying to trick you by looking for some obscure, off-the-wall question. They simply want to ensure that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.

No matter how comprehensive the interview is, you must have a question at the ready. Avoid interview faux-pas’ such as asking about salary or time off. Instead, focus on questions that will enrich your understanding of the position or company. We typically advise asking something related to your success in the role or the interviewer’s experience at the company.

Example Answers For “Do You Have Any Questions For Us?”

“Yes. I know you’ve been working for Radius Consulting for five years, and I would love to hear about what you like most about working here.”

Or

“Should I be hired for this position, what could I accomplish in the first 30 days to ensure a successful and sustainable future with the company?”

Final Comments

Both of these answers show that you did your research and that you are invested in being successful in this role. Keep your questions short and simple, and most importantly, listen to the answers! As a bonus, your interviewer’s answers will most likely provide great content to circle back to in your thank you note!

(If you’d like to have even more interview questions in your pocket, check out this extensive list from The Muse!)

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What Is An On-Demand Interivew

What Is An On-Demand Video Interview And How Can You Nail It?

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has changed many things about how we do business forever. One process that has been completely turned upside down is that of hiring. As companies open themselves up to hiring, not only will they be flooded with resumes from those who were laid off or furloughed, they are also facing the challenge of how to interview safely. And with many departments juggling more obstacles than ever, time is precious. Enter on-demand interviewing.

What is an on-demand interview?

According to Interview Stream, a popular video interviewing software, “in an on-demand video interview, the candidate is usually asked to respond to preset questions that are recorded by the recruiter or hiring manager, and the answers are reviewed later.” So that means it will just be you on camera; no one there to respond to your answers, ask you follow up questions, or give hints to how well you’re doing.

What kinds of questions will you be answering?

Because this is a truncated interview, hiring managers will want to get as much information as possible. This means they’ll focus on behavioral questions. Your answers should be detailed accounts of situations you’ve experienced at work or in school. Below are some examples of popular behavioral interview questions:

  • Discuss a time when you faced a conflict while working on a team.
  • Tell us about a time when you faced a lot of pressure at work. What happened, and how did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when you managed a project. Walk us through your project management strategy from start to finish.
  • Tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment.

How should you answer on-demand interview questions?

Because there’s no interaction with an interviewer, it can be particularly challenging to get your personality through during an on-demand interview. Your answers must be enthusiastic, professional, and thorough. It’s essential that your answers give a glimpse into who you are as an employee. Hiring managers will be looking for a positive attitude, self-motivation, and flexibility.

While recording answers, it will feel awkward. But the lack of response doesn’t mean you need to fill dead space with rambling! While your answers should be thorough, keep them concise. Describe your past experiences in detail but come to a clean and confident end. Try your best to avoid filler words and endings such as, “so… yeah!” or “and stuff.”

How can you prepare ahead of time?

Your appearance will be more critical than ever during an on-demand interview. Make sure you have a plain, uncluttered backdrop with no noise in the background. Pick out a simple but professional outfit. Make sure your hair is combed and tidy, and your face bright and refreshed!

If you’re lucky enough to have access to the interview questions prior to your on-demand interview, this is an incredible opportunity! Write your answers down multiple times and practice reading them aloud to friends or family. As you’re recording your answers, you don’t want to come off stiff, so avoid reading right off a page. Repeated practice will build up your “muscle memory” and help the answers roll right off your tongue! You can even practice recording on your laptop and watching your answers back. While uncomfortable, it can be a great way to expose your body language and any answers that may be slightly off.

For more video or general interview tips, be sure to explore our candidate resources.

Video Interview Tips

Video Interview Tips to Know Amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak

Have you suddenly found yourself transitioning from an in-person interview to a video interview? If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of companies are canceling face-to-face job interviews due to the growing concerns of the Coronavirus. As a result, more employers, such as Google and Microsoft, are moving their interviews to a virtual format. If you find yourself in this situation, it can be overwhelming; especially if it happened suddenly. However, here are a few video interview tips to ensure you pass it with flying colors.

Test your video equipment

The first thing you want to do is test your equipment and software. Be sure that your laptop or tablet is up to date to assure you don’t have any issues. Test out the video software that you will be using. Whether it’s Skype or Zoom, it’s essential to be familiar with the software to limit potential “operator errors.” Also, test your internet connection and ensure that it’s strong enough to video chat. You definitely don’t want your internet connection to time out and lose your connection mid-interview. Last but not least, make sure everything is charged up and ready to go!

Eliminate all distractions

When you’re sitting down to do your video interview, you want to ensure you eliminate any distractions around you. Get the kids out of the house, let the dog out in the backyard, and turn off anything that can and will make noise. Have a tidy desk and a clean space around you. Pick a nice area in your home to conduct your video interview with nothing incriminating or distracting in the background. The fewer distractions around you, the better you will be able to focus on the conversation and make a strong impression!

Treat it like any other interview

At the end of the day, the principles for a video interview are similar to any other interview. Do your due diligence on the company before your conversation, dress for success, have good posture and eye contact, and don’t forget that thank you note! Our friends over at Indeed produced a short video that does an excellent job summarizing how to prepare for a video interview:

Take advantage of the booming labor market

There are a lot of concerns about the Coronavirus’s impact on hiring as we approach the end of the first quarter. However, this media-crazed virus has yet to impact the job market. Thus, don’t let COVID-19 derail your job search. You may be doing more video interviews as a precaution, but at the end of the day, your job search will carry on as usual. Hopefully, these video interview tips will calm some of those job search jitters. Good luck!

How To Determine If A Company Will Be A Good Culture Fit

How To Determine If A Company Will Be A Good Culture Fit

In a candidate-driven job market, it can seem like the world is your oyster when it comes to making a career move. But that doesn’t mean you want to take just any job! You want to find one that is a fit for your skills and experience; you want a job that will allow for continued growth. Something else you want to be on the lookout for? A company and team that will be a good culture fit. Use these three tactics to discover your next step!

Do Your Research

Before you interview, or even before you apply, research the company. Of course, you’ll want to check out their website, but also be sure to browse their various social media accounts. This may give you a peek into what the office is like if they frequently do events outside of work, and a more in-depth demonstration of their mission and values. Last, but certainly not least, LinkedIn is your best friend. Find the company on LinkedIn, click on “see all employees on LinkedIn.” Peruse employee profiles to get an idea of the company culture. A few specific things to look for: how long employees have been at the company, how they describe their job, and if they have recommendations and endorsements from coworkers.

Ask Great Questions

Once you get to the end of your interview and the Hiring Manager asks, “do you have any questions for us?” This is your chance! Use this opportunity to ask a couple of great questions that will give you further insight into the company culture. Here are a few of our favorites:

“What is your favorite thing about working for ABC Company?”

“How will this position interact with other team members and departments?”

“How does ABC Company tie their values into their day-to-day operations?”

Pay Attention To The Little Things

The smallest details can give you a hint as to the culture fit of a company! When you go in for an in-person interview, be aware of your surroundings. What is the general attitude or vibe of the office? Do the current employees seem friendly and welcoming? If you have the opportunity to meet with other team members, be sure to ask the same questions you would ask leadership and more! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about working with the leadership team. This can give you a better understanding of how to be successful if you are to be hired.

strengths & weakness

How To Discuss Your Strengths & Weaknesses In An Interview

“What is your greatest strength? What is your biggest weakness?” These just may be the most dreaded questions throughout interview history. Are you supposed to disguise a strength as a weakness? Should you be brutally honest? Even the most experienced candidates have toiled over these questions! Not to worry, we’re breaking them down, so you don’t have to stress about discussing your strengths & weaknesses.

Be Honest

Honestly is definitely the best policy when it comes to interviewing in general, but especially for these two questions. You do not want to be one of those candidates who over-promises and under-delivers on your strengths. Do not exaggerate in any form or fashion. Likewise, when addressing your weaknesses, never try to disguise a strength as a weakness! Hiring managers see right through this tactic and do not find it impressive in any way.

Keep It Concise

A common mistake when it comes to these questions is rambling. Because they are vulnerable topics, you may feel the need to fill empty space rather than leave your answer lingering. Don’t give in to the temptation! Be confident in your answer, and keep it short. More than likely, your interviewer is taking notes, and a bit of silence is perfectly acceptable.

Focus On The Future

No matter what your strengths and weaknesses are, gear your answer towards the future. Let’s say, for example, that your weakness is getting overwhelmed when juggling a bunch of tasks. Take a brief moment to explain that while this is a struggle for you, you’ve learned that by creating lists and prioritizing ahead of time, you’re able to manage that weakness better.

As for your strengths, be sure to explain how your strength will be particularly helpful to the company you’re interviewing with. If your strength is performance under pressure, try to apply it to something you already know about the company. For example, “throughout my work history, I’ve found that I perform well under pressure. For the Project Management role with ABC Company, that will be particularly helpful when coordinating a team to complete last-minute project deadlines.”

In the end, don’t let this question stress you out too much. It is not intended to trip you up, rather to understand what type of employee you would be and how you would fit in with the rest of the team. Keep your focus on answering thoughtfully, and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.