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My Favorite New Interview Question To Ask a Potential Employer

Posted by robkraft on March 5, 2020

I am not in a rush to find a new job and plan to look carefully at each potential employer to see if I think the culture of that company is a good fit for me.  But how can we get a good grasp of the culture without working at the company for a while?  I have been in interviews where a candidate asks, “What is the culture like here?”, but responses to the question are ambiguous because it is difficult to define culture and to accurately guess what the questioner is concerned about when they ask about culture.

The question I like to ask to assess culture is more direct.  That question is:

“Have any of the current managers in the company ever yelled at any of the employees?”

I know what you are thinking.  Wow, that is a bold question!  But it partially gets to the heart of the issue.  I want to know that the managers are emotionally mature.  I believe that an emotionally mature manager will never yell at employees.  Perhaps I would expect yelling if I was joining the military.  And perhaps I should expect it in some industries; but I am a software developer and I do not expect it in the software development industry.  If yelling happens, and especially if it is common within the company, then I already know that is not a place where I want to work.

I believe that it is a little rude to spring this question upon my possible employer during the interview, which is why I like to submit this question to the potential employer before I meet with them in person.  In fact, I like to submit all of my questions to the employer in advance to give them time to prepare answers to those questions for me.

Do you have a better question to ask to determine if the company culture is right for you?

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