For my job at Pomerantz Career Center, I have probably been in over 1,000 corporate headquarters during the past 10 years. Each one is unique and each one conveys a good deal about the corporate culture. It is important to pay attention to this when you are interviewing for a position so you will better understand what you are getting into and if the “fit” is good. Let’s start first with the way people treat you or react to you when you visit.
In most cases during my visits, there has been some walking time as I am escorted to the recruiter’s office or an available conference room. Often I have passed “cubical communities” where everyone is looking at their computer screen, completely unaware of anything else going on around them.
On some occasions, people pass by and greet my escort and then look away. In rare circumstances, those passing by greet my escort and then look directly at me and say, “Good morning!” or “Hi. How are you?” And on even rarer occasions, EVERY SINGLE PERSON we meet greets me! I must say that these times have really bowled me over and I always comment on this to the individual with whom I meet.
Such a culture of “We’re glad you’re here,” speaks volumes about what it must be like to work there. Does this appeal to you? Or would you rather be in the middle of the cube community, oblivious to outside stimuli? If this accepting atmosphere is something you detect, you have found something to inquire about as you interview. “How does the organization foster this shared attitude?” “What programs or activities are in place to bring about this result?” “How will my ‘on-boarding’ begin to develop this in me?”
Asking these questions will demonstrate that you are attune to what is obviously important to the organization and also that you are interested in how you will be brought into the community there. The answers to your questions will surely lead to additional discussion about the corporate culture/mission/vision. Observing these at work is so much better than simply reading them on a web site – or on a wall in the corporate cafeteria. Do you aspire to work for an organization that walks the walk? Be observant!
-Written by Jane Schildroth, Director of Corporate and Community Relations (Retired)