A job interview is a two-way street. While you’re evaluating candidates to find the best fit for your job and culture, those candidates are evaluating you. Job candidates look at everything from how you’re dressed to who’s present at the interview to the work environment to determine if you’re a fit for them.
A job interview often serves as a candidate’s first impression of your brand and culture — and you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Just as you expect candidates to put their best foot forward during an interview, they expect you to do the same. Take advantage of this time with candidates to show them what your company and the position are all about.
When it comes to selling company culture during a job interview, these hiring professionals have the right idea:
1. Show and Tell
Company culture is one of the most important factors to consider when a candidate is searching for a job. During an interview, employers should make sure to explain their company’s core values and how this informs their workplace culture. They should also highlight aspects of working culture that benefit employees: food options, special events, days with relaxed dress codes, and other examples of cultural perks that speak to an employer’s core values in action.
But beyond that, demonstrating culture is a “show” rather than “tell” process during an interview. You should evaluate your interview questions to make sure they’re demonstrating your company’s core values. Make sure the tenor of your interview style matches your company’s working style. Is it fast-paced? Is it informal? Is it the type of company where you’re not afraid of having fun once in a while? Your interview style should be as close to your working style as possible.
Finally, show the interviewee around your office at the end of the interview to help them see your culture in action. Introducing them to happy, engaged employees who are clearly practicing what you preach will speak louder than any interview-room explanation.
2. Make it a Group Effort
At our company, we like to get at least one employee from each department to participate in the interview. Depending on our schedules, we either conduct interviews together or in a round-robin fashion. To avoid confusion, we often go into each interview with an assigned set of questions pertaining to our own department.
For the job candidate, our style offers them a well-rounded view of the company and a chance to interact with those they will be working with. Not only does our interview style help display a wide view of our company’s culture, but it also makes the applicant feel welcomed and a part of the team from the get-go.
Erik Episcopo, Resume Genius
3. Hand Over the Reins
The best way to show off your company culture is through the people that create and live it every day — your employees. We encourage our employees to be part of the interview process. They provide ratings and even make requests for which candidates they want on their teams. This creates ownership for the success of the new employees and helps bond them with the team.
It is not a requirement, but an opportunity. The employees are happy to share the pros and cons of our company, and meeting with many employees gives the candidates a broad overview of the culture.
4. Give Candidates a Culture Tour
The most powerful way that I have found is to conceptualize the “job interview” as the culture tour, the interview, and the post interview chat.
It has been powerfully successful to have a member of the staff (not a middle or executive leader) or one of the admins grab the interviewee for a few minutes before the interview starts (the amount of time for this varies depending on the organization) to give them a tour of the company or to hang out and chat if the job is more virtual.
In that chat, they facilitate a down-to-earth and frank conversation about the company, the history, the culture and the values.
It’s important that it’s a staff person who is comfortable with this process who can share information easily while also listening closely for the interviewee’s questions, responses and impressions. Once the tour is complete, the interviewee is brought into the interview. After the interview, the same person or another staff or admin chats with them about their experience and any questions they have.
This approach gives the interviewee a sense of company culture from someone “in the trenches” which increases the sense of credibility — that this isn’t just a pitch. And, it gives the hiring team a ton of information about the applicant when they debrief the staff person who gave them the tour and did the debrief.
5. Share Your Core Values
We do something pretty cool here at Officevibe. We have playing cards with all of our core values listed on them. During an interview, we ask candidates to order the cards in order of importance and then to explain their answer. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s designed to see how they think through the problem.
It helps us attract the right candidates — candidates who are aligned with our values. It also, from day one, shows candidates what we value and the type of person we’re looking for.
6. Live Your Motto
We bring prospects in and give them a tour of our office. Now, we are no conventional office. We have a house in the middle of our marketing department and a shark hanging from our conference room ceiling. Our motto is ‘Work Hard. Eat Hard. Play Hard,” and it’s something we bring to the table at every interview.
It’s important to show off a company’s culture during the interview process because everyone wants to work for a fun company. You have to spend more time working than you do with your family, so you want to enjoy spending time in the office. If you love what you do, it’s a win-win for everybody.
7. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Within the conference room where we hold many of our interviews, we have posted pictures of professional sporting events that many of our employees have attended, as well as pictures of employees attending the athletic events that their children participate in.
By doing this, we’re able to highlight two aspects of our culture — employee appreciation because we often provide tickets for sporting events to our employees as a thank you for their hard work, and work-life balance, as we truly empower our employees to take the time they need to care for responsibilities outside of the office.
How does your company show off your unique culture during the interview process? Let us know in the comments below!