We have talked about the Dos and Don’ts of video interviewing and how to prepare to land your next job.  Now let’s find out how to identify company culture while interviewing remotely.

There are a number of things you consider when evaluating whether or not a job is a good match for you:

  • Responsibilities that get you excited
  • A manager you think you’d mesh well with

But there’s another important factor that carries a lot of weight: company culture.

The work environment will have a big impact on your experience and satisfaction in that new role.

It’s important to understand a company’s culture because you don’t just want to join an organization just to take a job. You want to join one where you can do your best work.

Company culture is somewhat intangible and difficult to wrap your head around during the hiring process and that’s even more true when that hiring process is happening remotely.

What if all of your interviews take place via video chat and you never meet anyone in person or see the office? [ BTW, that video interview is another topic altogether. If you are spooked about that experience, please reach out to me or sign up for my video interview coaching offer available now for a new introductory price.] Or what if it’s not just the hiring process—what if the entire company is permanently remote? Do they even have a company culture if they never work side-by-side?

Understanding company culture from afar—whether the remote aspect is just for the hiring process or for the role itself–is challenging but not insurmountable.

First, forget the idea that culture is synonymous with ping pong, happy hours, and dogs in the office. These perks are only a byproduct of operationalizing culture in an office, but they’re not The Culture. Sure, those physical markers of perks play into a company’s environment and overall vibe, but they don’t make up the entirety of it. That’s good news; it means you can assess culture in a meaningful way, even remotely.

Here are a few tips to help you understand and evaluate a company’s culture before you accept an offer—even if you never step foot in the office.

Know What You’re Looking For

You probably have a list of must-haves you’re searching for in your next position. That should include not only the nuts and bolts like pay and benefits but also the values you want your company to prioritize and the cultural aspects that resonate with you. This prep work is particularly important when you’re going through the process remotely. Trying to understand every aspect of a company’s culture through video chats and internet research alone might feel overwhelming. So, zoning in on the pieces that are most important to you means you can keep your antennae up for encouraging signs as well as deal-breakers.

Perhaps adequate work-life balance is important, and you want to find an organization that isn’t “always on,” especially if you’ll be working from home and are concerned about maintaining boundaries.

Or maybe you’re looking for a highly collaborative environment, as opposed to one where people are constantly heads-down in their own work.

Pare down to three non-negotiable traits to ask about during the remote hiring process, then you can focus your efforts on deciphering cultural clues related to those top three traits.

Still not sure how you’ll navigate the interview when you are remote? Reach out to me and let’s define what those non-negotiable traits of your dream company are so you will be clear and focused during your interview.