Hiring Managers: Have you ever been asked this question in an interview and drawn a blank? Your answer might have been, "Oh we have a collaborative culture" or "We have kombucha on tap" or even the good old, "We work hard / play hard!" (nooooo)
What is a candidate really for when they ask you this question? Do they really care that you have snacks in the boardroom and free coffee? Maybe. Or are they looking for a transparent, authentic review of the workplace? Highly Likely!
People want to know they can work in a culture where they will be supported, compensated fairly and feel valued. Gone are the days where many sales people feel the need to stay with a company that treats them unfairly, disrespects them or even discriminates against them.
They are asking you, "If I get this job, what will my daily life be like working here?"
Will I be working at night and on weekends?
Am I expected to respond to your emails within minutes?
Are you a micro manager?
Is this a ‘helpful’ community to be working in? Will me peers be receptive to helping me?
Can I work here for longer than a year and see career progression?
Will you mentor and coach me to get better?
Will leadership listen to my ideas?
Do you actually live your mission and values or are they just statements?
Do you tolerate racism and discrimination?
If you can't answer these questions honestly, then you have no place interviewing candidates. If you choose not to answer these questions honestly, then you should find another place to work!
Being deceitful in the interview process about a job seeker's 'day-to-day' activities and the company culture will lead to turnover, excessive hiring costs, negative reviews and likely customer attrition. Not to mention that it wastes everyone's time.
So the next time someone asks you, "What is the culture like here?" Be honest, and ask them if there are specific areas of concern that you could address. Your candid conversation will go a long way with candidates!