As part of our interview process, we always allow time for potential hires to ask the interviewing committee some questions. I was pleasantly surprised when one recent candidate asked, “why do you like working here?” This was not the first time someone asked this question, but it still caught me off guard because of how infrequently it comes up in interviews.
This is a must-ask question for any applicant or employee who is intentional about finding a job within a healthy workplace culture. The answers of those who respond will tell you a lot about what matters to the people who work there.
When you ask people why they enjoy working at their organization, listen for responses that are focused on culture, mission, purpose, and people. For example, in a healthy culture you should hear answers such as, “I like the people I work with,” or, “The work we do matters and makes a difference.” In not as healthy cultures, you might get replies that are more focused on rewards or prestige: “I like that there are free snacks in the kitchen,” or, “it’s cool to work for such a well-known firm.” For you, the potential employee, there is a treasure trove of information inside these responses that will help you better understand the culture of the organization.
From my perspective as a potential employer, there is a benefit when candidates ask this question as well – it tells me they care about culture. It says they are looking for a good fit and not just any job. And if they care about culture, they will be more likely to contribute to a healthy one.
So, the next time you are in an interview or are helping someone prepare for one, remember to ask the question: “Why do you like working here?”
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