Today we’re going to explore seven questions to ask about corporate culture, along with an explanation of what makes them work. Consider asking a few of these on your next interview:
1. If you could describe your corporate culture in three words, what would you say?
This question accomplishes several goals. First, it’s creative. That positions you as a thinker, not just another resume. Second, it challenges the interviewer to boil down the essence of their workplace in only a few words. Finally, your interviewer’s response isn’t as important as how she responds. Watch her body language. Check her posture. And keep an eye on her facial expressions. Look for consistency between actions and words to get the true description of the culture. Because someone’s body never lies to you.
2. If you were going to give public tours of this company, what stops would the guide make?
This is another creative question to challenge your interviewer. What’s more, her answers will represent the “greatest hits” of the company’s culture. This delivers invaluable insight into what they perceive as the leading attributes of their company. After all, you wouldn’t make it a stop on the tour if it didn’t symbolize a core component to the company’s culture, right?
3. If the local paper were going to run a four-page article about your company’s culture, what would be impossible not to include?
Creative, challenging and counterintuitive. Also positions you in a positive light, regardless of the answer. And, similar to the tour question, this allows your interviewer to put her company in the best light. The secret is, by suggesting a newspaper article it reveals the parts of the company’s culture that she would want the public to know about. Transparency is key.
4. What’s the best part about working in this environment that I won’t be able to see from just a walk around the office?
This question digs deep into the true value of working in a particular company environment. You learn the culture behind the culture, as some workplaces are quite different once you’ve been employed there for a few months. This might be helpful in eliciting a little candor in your interviewer about the reality you’d be working in. Sometimes culture is hard to discern from a brief walkthrough or few weeks of work.
5. What are the most common complaints employees make about your company culture?
Although you want to keep your interview as positive as possible, throwing a monkey wrench into the interview gears might not be a bad idea. Especially because it’s an unexpected question. The cool part is, by discovering the negative aspects about a company before working there, you know what to expect. Like visiting Portland during wet season (September through May) before deciding to move there. At least there’s no sugar coating.
6. May I speak with a few of your veteran employees or new hires?
Some companies will already schedule this experience into the interview process. On the other hand, some companies will not allow you to contact existing employees. Either way, asking such a question — and, if you’re lucky, getting an affirmative answer — will provide the best insight into corporate culture, as it comes from a team member himself. If you can make it happen, you’ll be glad you asked. Because behavior is the broadcaster of attitude, and attitude is the reflection of culture.
7. What do you love best about the culture here?
Finally, try getting personal. Find out what brings your interviewer back to work every day. Find out what prevents her from leaving the company and going somewhere else. This example is your best tool as a “final” question to ask toward the end of the interview. Just be sure not to ask it too early. Wait until you’ve created a connection and built rapport with the interviewer. That way you’ll be guaranteed an authentic answer.
Remember: Company culture is everything. You can’t work where you don’t fit.
Ask a few of these questions on your next interview, and you’ll be sure to find the organization that’s the right environment for you.
A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that some American workers have about as much chance of properly identifying their CEO in a lineup as they do of winning the Hunger Games…but does it matter?
CareerBuilder recently surveyed more than 7,000 full-time workers to find out how well American workers know senior leadership at their organizations. Results indicate that while most workers have met their CEO, many don’t even know what he or she looks like. Below are highlights from the survey.
- 40 percent of American workers say they’ve never met their CEO in person.
- 21 percent don’t even know what their CEO looks like.
- Only 35 percent of workers can name all of the C-level officers at their organization, while an additional 21 percent can only name some C-level officers.
- 68 percent of workers don’t know how much their company generates in revenue each year
What your employees don’t know (about the CEO)…Can it hurt?
According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, visibility is key to employee engagement. “Employees realize their top leaders can’t know everyone on a first name basis, but they do expect their leaders to be a public symbol that embodies the organization’s values,” she says.
And while it might not be feasible to give one-on-one time to every employee, finding a way to connect is an important part of the leadership puzzle.
“Leadership from the C-suite can be a difficult balance. The CEO and, in some cases, other senior leaders are the face of the company both internally and externally. Meaning, they need to find a level of accessibility that allows them to connect with employees, while on the other hand, dedicate the necessary time for building relationships with outside stakeholders,” Haefner says.
“How I stay connected” | Insights from the CareerBuilder Leadership Series
We gathered thoughts from various industry leaders on how they connect with employees at every level – and why establishing such a connection matters. Here’s what they said.
“It is difficult in a large company to have one-on-one relationships with all employees, but I find doing brown bag lunches and skip level meetings pay back immensely. It is great to know the people who are working hard every day for your success and let them know who you are as a person, not just a figurehead.” – Gregg Kaplan, President and COO of Coinstar
“Whether it be through pre-shift meetings, individual one-on-one meetings, sharing individual guest experiences, or technological communication, our managers live ‘The Message’ and do what they can to ensure our employees have a great experience. When the employees feel valued and respected it rolls right to our guests.” –Rick Frederico, Chairman and Co-CEO of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc.
“I encourage Sabre employees to follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog so they are informed regarding the direction of – and what’s going on within – the company.” –Philip P. Jaurigue, President and CEO of Sabre Systems, Inc.
“One thing I enjoy is the lunch and learn sessions we host. We go out into the field, give short sound bites of what’s going on the in company, then go around the room to hear from employees. It’s a great way to get a pulse of the organization.” –Maritza Poza-Grise, vice president of DuPont Human Resources
“In the first two years in my role, I visited over 200 facilities to allow me the most informal way to actually meet our caregiver teams. I met with as many people as I could, and I tried to get them to tell me what was on their minds. It was extremely valuable for me; and I felt that I really developed a special relationship with the employees I talked to.” – George V. Hager, Jr., CEO of Genesis HealthCare
“Senior management travels a lot to our regional and local offices; we’re very active in the business and strive to understand what our team faces every day in providing services to our customers. We’re always out there, kicking up dirt and turning over rocks to help uncover opportunities with our employees.” – Jeff Pederson, President of CORT Business Services
How does senior leadership stay connected with employees at your organization?
As a 21st-century jobseeker, it’s important to have an electronic cover letter and résumé to send at the click of a mouse. Here are some steps for converting your cover letter and résumé from Word or WordPerfect documents into electronic ones.
- Remove all formatting, including lines, boxes, bold, italics, and underlining. Change the font to Courier, size 12. Convert your page margins to 1 inch on the left and 3 inches on the right. When you save the cover letter or résumé, choose “Save As” and change the type to “Text only with Line Breaks.” A warning box may come up informing you that you might lose some formatting. Click “OK” or “Yes.”
- Launch Notepad (PC) or SimpleText (Mac) to reformat and clean up your résumé. Move all centered items to the left margin, and make sure all text is flush left. As you scroll through your document, remove all Tabs, replace all bullets with asterisks (*), and change bolded words to all caps. Increase white space by hitting Return twice between sections.
- Make sure your cover letter and résumé are e-friendly. Do not send them as attachments, but, rather, pasted in the body of the e-mail. Practice sending them via e-mail to yourself as well as a friend who uses a different Internet service provider—to ensure the documents are clean and professional-looking. Once you’ve made any required adjustments, your cover letter and résumé are ready for a prospective employer’s inspection.
- Words matter. Always include keywords in your résumé. Recruiters use keywords to search for résumés. So choose some of the basic, important keywords in your field and pepper them throughout your résumé. For example: Web designer, account manager, communications specialist, to name some.
by Duane Marsteller, The Tennessean
The last time Cassie Smith had a full-time job, George W. Bush was midway through his second term as president.
In the five years since, the Mt. Juliet woman has looked for full-time work but has found only part-time hours at a department store and the occasional temporary gig elsewhere. The same goes for several of her friends, many of whom work part time at the Lebanon outlet mall, Smith said.
“A lot of people are hiring, but they’re not giving a lot of hours,” the 20-something said as she waited at an Amazon job fair last month. “It’s pretty much everywhere I go.”
Labor market analysts say Smith’s lament stems from a recent shift away from full-time jobs to part-time, temporary and contract labor as employers try to keep costs in check. But analysts are split on whether it’s a fundamental change in the American workplace or a short-term reaction to the 2007-09 recession and its aftermath.
Either way, local staffing agencies have seen the trend gather steam firsthand.
Three years ago, two-thirds of Frontline Source Group’s clients were looking for permanent employees, said Ceesun Andrews, its vice president of infrastructure and design. Last year, 70 percent used the Nashville firm — which specializes in placing accountants, computer technicians and other professionals — to fill temporary positions.
“It’s now the new normal,” Andrews said. “Temporary-to-hire is the new normal.”
Not only are employers hiring more temporary workers, but they’re keeping them longer. Temporary jobs lasted an average of 13.8 weeks last year, up from 12.1 weeks in 2009, the American Staffing Association said.
The 2010 figure is the longest since the industry trade group began keeping track in 1994. At the same time, turnover in temporary positions has fallen to its lowest level on record.
Assignments that typically lasted 60 to 90 days before the recession now are six months or more, said Jeff Bates, managing partner of TA Staffing in Nashville, which focuses on the logistics, distribution and warehousing industries.
“The business community truly doesn’t know what’s going to happen next with the economy, so it’s easier for them to keep employees on our payroll,” he said.
Among those hesitant to hire is Tonya Jones, owner of Mark IV Enterprises and Legacy Project Resources.
Since she laid off her construction and project-management firm’s last 14 employees in 2009, she has relied on contract employees and outsourcing for labor.
There hasn’t been enough business or any other reason to justify making any permanent hires, Jones said.
“I do not see anytime in the near future any need to add new employees,” she said. “If I can use an accounting firm for $1,000 a month, that’s more affordable than hiring a bookkeeper.”
It’s a common sentiment. Nearly 58 percent of U.S. employers said in a recent McKinsey Global Insight survey that they plan to hire more contingent workers — as temporary, part-time and contract employees are collectively called — in the next five years.
If they do, it would continue a trend that has accelerated since the recession.
There are 9.8 million fewer full-time jobs in the United States now than in 2007, but 2.3 million more part-time workers, government figures show. The number of part-time U.S. workers more than doubled to 8.9 million between 2005 and 2010.
Temporary positions have accounted for more than a quarter of jobs created since the recession ended almost two and a half years ago. That figure was about 11 percent after the 1990-91 recession and just 7 percent following the 2001 economic downturn.
“This trend is now so widespread that the pattern is likely to become permanent,” Bloomberg News columnist Alice Schroeder said. “You can see it in the numbers.”
She and others say employers will depend more heavily on a flexible workforce of contingent workers to cut costs, especially for benefits such as health insurance, and become more nimble in a rapidly changing world economy.
That will force American workers to rely more on their own ingenuity and flexible skills to earn money and pay the bills.
“You could argue that we’re going back to a more networked labor market similar to what we had back in the 19th century,” Schroeder said.
Hours may return
Other analysts doubt we’re permanently becoming a nation of part-timers, temp workers and freelancers for hire.
“So far, all the evidence we have shows it’s a short-term thing,” said Heidi Shierholz, a labor market economist with the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank based in Washington.
For starters, most of the “new” part-time workers actually were full-time employees whose hours were cut because of slack demand, she said.
As business conditions improve, employers probably will restore employee hours before expanding payrolls — something they have not yet done, as evidenced by the average work week being shorter now than before the recession, Shierholz said.
And despite the recent growth in temporary jobs, their share of the overall labor market remains minuscule, at about 2 percent, she said. Nearly 2.29 million Americans worked in temporary jobs in September, according to federal figures.
“We are not becoming a temporary employment nation,” Shierholz contends.
Andrews says “time will tell” which way the U.S. economy shifts, but most people with whom she works would prefer full-time work to part-time gigs.
“People are very much more open to temporary positions these days,” Andrews acknowledges. “But they’re also very blunt that, if something full time comes along, they’re going to leave.”
Facebook is the way of the world now. Facebook connects you all over the world and allows you to learn more about people, places and businesses. The statistics on social media are astounding: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
Hunter International has launched a Facebook page. A Facebook page for a business is different than one for an individual user. For starters, Hunter International cannot ask you to be their friend (if we could, we would!). You have to come to our Facebook page and “like” us. We ask that next time you’re on Facebook you visit our Facebook page and “like” us. On our Facebook page we will have information regarding job opportunities, job fairs, interview tips, negotiating best practices and more.
We would also ask that you message or email us if you are a business who needs to hire skilled employees or a job seeker looking for your dream job we would be happy to help!
“The Great Mismatch?” In the new world of work, unemployment is high yet skilled and talented people are in short supply. (The Economist)
According to employers, the ability to communicate effectively with others and get along with a varietyof different types of personalities are two of the most desirable qualities in job candidates. Employers
want to know if you have the ability to organize your thoughts and ideas effectively. Can you express
them clearly when speaking or writing? Can you present your ideas to others persuasively? Can you
bring out the best efforts of individuals so they become effective, enthusiastic members of a team? Are
you able to successfully contend with stressful situations and handle conflict?
It’s important to know what to include in your resume but is it just as important to know what to leave out? Hunter International recruiters read dozens of resumes each day and abide by the below list of no-no’s:
The word “resume”. Putting this at the top of the page is not only unnecessary but takes up precious space. The same applies to the line “References available upon request,” which is generally understood.
References. Don’t add these to the resume (or cover letter) itself. List them on a separate page and keep it until references are requested.
A photo. You want to be hired for your mind, experience and accomplishments.
Age, etc. Don’t list strictly personal information that is not related to the job, such as age, height, weight, marital status, or health.
Your GPA? At some point, usually five years after graduation, leave off your college accomplishments and your GPA, even if it was a 4.0.
Salary Needs. Avoid including salary needs unless the advertisement you’re responding to specifically asks for them. In that case, include them in the cover letter. Your resume is never the place to broach the subject of salary. The Etiquette Advantage in Business by Peggy and Peter Post
Wondering about some of our clients, several are on this list and for good reason they have strong leadership, strategic business partners and understand the importance of retaining and recognizing top talent. FORTUNE magazine released its annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.