When considering the value proposition of employment, it can be very difficult to measure the intangibles. What are the intangibles? Culture, colleagues, mentorship, and work/life balance to name a few. In my adventures of being a long-time recruiter I have walked through these challenges personally and been alongside a number of professionals who make these decisions well, and some that struggle.
As a long-time recruiter I often speak to professionals from a variety of industries and business focuses and there is one main commonality, there is nothing common about a company’s overall value proposition. Each company has its own unique culture and work environment that may be hard to get a feel for from a couple interviews. Many times, those searching for jobs find themselves focusing on salaries and benefits, which is completely fair, but a company’s overall value proposition should be heavily considered too. Is a little higher base-pay worth the tradeoff, or can you put a price on culture or company reputation? The answer is often “no”.
Unfortunately, a lot of this anecdotal experience is from hindsight. It’s often not until we are in the new situation that offers to pay more, that we realize why they pay more. It’s key to remember that when offered a position, you will be spending a solid amount of time with all those in your work environment, creating relationships and skills that can either develop your future career or hinder it. Don’t overlook the intangibles in your job hunt, a company’s culture is what adds value to your everyday work and allows you to grow professionally in a healthy and meaningful way. Identifying a company’s intangible offerings doesn’t have to be difficult, here are a few interview questions that can help shine a light on an organization’s culture:
What attracted you to (company)? If you could only ask one question, this is the one in my opinion. If you are warmed up with the interviewer, they should stop what they are doing and take this question to heart.
What do you like most about (company) today? This is a good standalone question or follow up to the first.
These two questions may seem trivial and hopefully easy to ask, but I highly recommend having them on your list and do not gloss over them. I feel they are the candidate’s equivalent to a behavioral based interview question. It is not necessarily the data you receive as it is more the feeling you get from it. One or both of these questions will tell you a lot. If the interviewer expresses their initial thoughts of the organization and easily adds to it in a positive light- you may have found your genuine answer.
Do they struggle to answer you? Do they sound too rehearsed or scripted? You might ask this question and hear the gears turning while they load up their resume for updating. Kidding aside, I believe when these questions are asked, once a good rapport is established, you get a great view into the intangibles.
You can always simply ask “Tell me about the culture there? What do you like about it?” Same advice applies, wait for their answer, and don’t add or interrupt them. You will see it unfold. If they do not ask if you have any questions, that could be a sign.
When making big career decisions don’t be afraid to bounce them off of professionals in the recruiting field and those individuals that focus more on the hidden values over the visible. At the end of the day, our role as recruiters is to help you land an opportunity that brings you not only prosperity, but happiness as well.
At BerganKDV, I can confidently say our culture inspires personal growth, passion, and innovation. If you want to learn more about our company value proposition and what job opportunities BerganKDV can offer you, check out our Careers page. If there isn’t an available position that feels right, I still encourage you to become a Talent Insider by filling out this form. Being a Talent Insider allows our team to get to know you better so that we can stay connected and inform you of the latest positions that suit your interests.
Great article, Marcus! I can’t imagine working 8+ hrs a day at an organization where I don’t share their values or connect with the company’s culture! Work should be FUN! A paycheck alone can only provide so much happiness.