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Asking for culture

Anonym A fragte am 14. Mär 2018

What are some good questions to ask interviewers/friends to get to know the real picture of culture in each firm/office?


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antwortete am 14. Mär 2018
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.
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Agree with Vlad, but there is a way I've found useful. I ask my interviewer their best memory so far of being at the firm. It solves for two things: (1) ends the interview on a happy note (2) gives you the top-end/positive end of the culture. In any case, they won't bash their firm at the interview, so asking about their worst experience is pointless.

Vlad antwortete am 14. Mär 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Interviewer: I don't recommend asking the interviewer any questions that may cause negative emotions including the questions about culture. The main objective is to have a good conversation and highlight your intellectual capacity and curiosity. The last impression is always important, thus I don't recommend spoiling the impression by any negative memories that may suddenly come up to the interviewers head.

Friends: you can always ask your friends directly what's going on with the culture. Just go through the value chain in consulting. Potential pain points:

  • Promotions
  • Openness of the leadership to feedbacks
  • Up or out policy
  • General behavior of the leadership team
  • Communications with the client
  • Gender Equality
  • Long hours and related issues
  • Mentorship (Couriers counselor, DGL, etc)
  • Staffing
  • Performance reviews
  • Is it the same globally? Or it's just the local problem?


Francesco antwortete am 14. Mär 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Vlad you should not ask questions related to negative emotions; on the other hand, a question on the company culture should not always necessarily lead to negative feelings (hopefully! I don’t think you would like to join the company otherwise).

Some questions that could be good for that are:

  • What is the thing you are most proud of that you did while at [Company Name]?
  • What is something you didn’t know about [Company Name] before joining that you found great about the company later on?
  • What do you think is the most important skill you developed which helped to have the career you had at [Company Name]?

These questions should all help you to get a general feeling of what are the key values inside the company.