Organizational Culture From A Candidate Perspective

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Analyzing a potential employer's corporate culture is a significant part of evaluating an opportunity. It can determine how well you enjoy your new role, and more importantly, your ability to succeed. …

Analyzing a potential employer's corporate culture is a significant part of evaluating an opportunity. It can determine how well you enjoy your new role, and more importantly, your ability to succeed. By considering key aspects of an employer's culture and asking specific questions, you can gain a clearer picture of what it is really like to work there.

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  • 1. Organizational Culture   A candidate’s perspective By  Richard  T.  Nawoczynski  and  Sami  L.  BarryS eeking  or  exploring  a  new  career  opportunity  can  be  an  intense  effort  whether  you  are  initiating  a  job  search  onyour  own  or  are  working  with  an  executive  recruiter.  By  the  time  you  update  your  resume  and  brush  up  on  your  interviewing  skills,  you  hope  that  meetings  with  the  prospective  employer  go  well  so  that  you  can  begin  your  new  role  and  focus  on  your  objectives.      Unfortunately,  it  is  not  that  easy.  Even  though  you  may  like  the  organization  and  there  is  mutual  interest,  you  need  to  do  yourself  a  favor  and  learn  about  its  culture  before  you  make  a  final  decision.  An  organization’s  culture  is  equivalent  to  its  ‘personality’,  meaning  its  core  values  and  beliefs,  ethics  and  rules  of  behavior.  Quite  simply,  regardless  of  your  abilities  and  skills,  a  strong  culture  can  set  you  up  for  success  while  a  poor  culture  can  set  you  up  for  failure.If  you  are  social  media  savvy,  you  know  the  quick  way  to  get  an  idea  of  a  company’s  culture  is  by  reviewing  its  web  site,  Facebook  page,  YouTube  videos  or  tweets  on  Twitter.  As  executive  search  consultants,  we  recommend  a  more  comprehensive  approach.  To  appropriately  evaluate  an  organization’s  culture,  you  want  to  consider  its  key  characteristics,  including: Values: ‣ What  does  [organization],  as  a  whole,  feel  is  important? ‣ What  is  [organization’s]  mission? ‣ What  words  describe  [organization]? A strong, positive ‣ What  are  [organization’s]  sustainability  initiatives? ‣ How  does  [organization]  view  work  /  life  balance? culture can set you up for Leadership: ‣ How  would  [organization’s]  senior  executives  be  described?     success while a ‣ What  professional  and  personal  qualities  are  similar  among  them? poor culture can ‣ How  are  decisions  made?    How  influential  are  middle  managers  in   decision-­‐making? set you up for ‣ How  does  [organization]  celebrate  successes? failure. ‣ How  does  [organization]  handle  failures? Internal Communication: ‣ How  are  [organization’s]  goals  and  strategies  communicated? ‣ What  are  [organization’s]  current  objectives  and  plans? ‣ How  does  [organization]  ensure  that  its  employees  are  ‘heard’?
  • 2. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE - A CANDIDATE’S PERSPECTIVE Autumn 2012 navigator Employee Performance: ‣ How  does  [organization]  reward  /  recognize  good  performance? ‣ What  types  of  behavior  are  rewarded  /  recognized? ‣ How  often  are  performance  appraisals  conducted?  What  is  evaluated? ‣ What  are  the  objectives  and  performance  expectations  of  the  specific  role  you  are  interested  in? Professional Development: ‣ How  does  [organization]  invest  in  its  employees?  What  training  and  mentoring  programs  are   offered? ‣ How  does  [organization]  keep  employees  challenged  and  engaged? ‣ How  does  [organization]  encourage  innovation? Recruitment and Retention: ‣ How  does  [organization]  recruit  employees? ‣ How  does  [organization]  retain  employees? ‣ What  is  the  average  tenure  within  [organization]?    Within  department? Other: ‣ Ask  individual  employees  ‘Why  do  you  work  here?’ We also suggest that you: • Arrive  early  for  interviews  and  make  observations  while  sitting  in  the  reception  area.  Watch  how  employees   interact  with  each  other  and  consider  their  professionalism,  courteousness  and  camaraderie. • Observe  how  the  office  is  designed  (is  it  open  or  are  there  offices  with  doors  closed,  etc.). • Pose  the  above  questions  to  multiple  interviewers  and  compare  their  answers.  If  their  responses  are  similar   and  positive,  it  is  safe  to  assume  that  the  organization  has  a  strong  culture.  However,  if  their  answers  are   inconsistent,  that  may  be  a  red  flag. • Meet  as  many  current  employees  as  you  can. • Speak  to  other  individuals  who  know  the  organization  to  gain  a  truer  perspective. Making  a  career  change  in  today’s  business  climate  can  be  a  risky  move  and  an  organization’s  culture  is  a  significant   factor  in  evaluating  a  prospective  opportunity.  After  all,  it  can  determine  how  well  you  will  enjoy  your  new  role,  and   more  importantly,  your  ability  to  succeed.     Do  you  have  other  tips  for  evaluating  an  organization’s  culture?    Email  us  at:  Helbling@helblingsearch.com.     To  read  more  articles  about  career  development,  talent  management  and  the  A/E/C  and  facilities  management  sectors,     visit  our  Knowledge  Center.  To  subscribe  to  our  quarterly  e-­‐newsletter  or  blog,  visit: W:   h el bl i n g s ear c h . c o m B :   blo g. h elblin gs earc h . c o m HELBLING & ASSOCIATES, INC. RETAINED EXECUTIVE SEARCH C o n s t r u c t i o n   •   F a c i l i t i e s   M a n a g e m e n t   •   R e a l   E s t a t e   •   E n g i n e e r i n gPittsburgh w w w . h www.helblingsearch.com c h . c o m elblingsear 724.935.7500