Ever since COVID-19 has hit the world, everything has changed significantly.

Whether it’s our personal or professional lives, the pandemic has put a crucial impact on all of it.

One of the significant changes in the professional life of everyone is the rise of remote jobs.

Every company in the world has realized the importance of remote jobs and after experiencing a forced period of work from home, a lot of companies did report an increase in productivity among their employees.

So, are remote jobs the future of employment?

That’s a separate debate to be had.

For this particular one, we’re focusing on if you’re interviewing for remote jobs or if you’re reading it amidst the pandemic and are about to give a job interview remotely, then how would you know if it’s a good fit for you?

Back in the pre-pandemic era, we would get invited to the physical address of the office and would have enough evidence in terms of conversations, infrastructure, facilities to decide and make an educated guess on the culture of a company.

However, when you’re interviewing remotely, it can be very hard to know the culture of the company.

So, here are 5 ways to know a company’s culture when interviewing remotely:

1. Know your zero tolerances

All of us have an ideal working environment in mind before we even start looking for a new job.

Apart from basics like salary and benefits, make sure you have a list of certain values that you expect from a company you wish to work for.

Company culture can have a vague meaning if you don’t have a particular set of cultural aspects in mind. So, make sure you’re aware of yourself and what you’re looking for in your next company.

Also, make sure you have certain zero tolerances in mind. Meaning anything is a big red flag for you in a company in terms of company culture. This will also assist you in assessing a company’s culture when interviewing remotely.

When you have a concrete list of things you expect in a company culturally and things that you cannot stand, then you will be able to assess the company better during the interview.

2. Ask questions related to company culture

Following up on the previous point of having a list of expectations and zero tolerances for a company’s culture, make sure you ask a lot of questions during your interview.

As you’re interviewing remotely, you must have a specific list of questions that you want to ask the interviewer.

Make sure not to ask very open ending questions like “Tell me about your company culture” or anything similar that will get you very scripted responses from your interviewer.

Instead, craft your questions around the company culture specifics that you have on your list.

Here’s a list of sample questions you can ask your interviewer:

  • How has your company culture changed ever since remote working started?
  • How do you keep the team spirit together when working remotely?
  • What are some traditions you have for your remote as well as in-house employees?
  • How do you keep a check on the mental health of your team members?

Such questions or anything along the lines can get you valuable information about a company’s culture.

3. Do your research

Stemming from the first point of having a comprehensive list of the cultural elements you’re looking for in a company, it’s time to become Sherlock Holmes!

While interviewing remotely may seem you can get deceived or make a bad judgment, but let’s not forget you have the world at your fingertips; the internet.

Take your research online and go through the company’s website. Spend some time there and find out how the company is describing themselves and their culture to the outside world.

Check out the “careers” and “about” sections of the website, which will give you some idea of what the company believes in.

See if they have a company blog where they publish about their teams or any information related to company events, workshops, etc. This can also give you some idea of how they treat their teams and what all is happening on the inside scenes of the company.

Dig into their social media accounts and see how they interact with customers online. Their responses on social media to their customers and stakeholders can give a fair perspective on what kind of beliefs they have at the company.

Finally, get into employee reviews on websites such as AmbitionBox where employees anonymously leave reviews about their companies.

4. Connect with former employees

People who have already worked for the company will probably give you the best review of the culture of a company.

While current employees may be a little biased when talking about their current company, former employees may give you a pretty blunt review of their experience.

Connect with some of the employees on LinkedIn to get their first-hand reviews on the company.

You may ask them to get on a call if you wish to have a good discussion or have doubts about the company.

Send them a personal message on LinkedIn and explain your case. Ask them if they’re free to get on a call and tell you a bit about the company and their experience.

5. Observe behavior

While all of the previously mentioned points are great to find out a company’s culture when interviewing remotely, observing the interviewers might give you all you need to know!

If you’re being interviewed by a panel or a group then observe their behavior.

See how their relationship with each other is. Are they giving equal opportunity to everyone on the panel to speak and chime in during the interview.

Are they cutting each other off while addressing you or asking questions? Are they respectful towards each other?

Also if the group that is interviewing you is homogenous then diversity may not be their main thing.

Such small cues can give you enough information to guess a company’s culture.

In conclusion, while interviewing remotely may not be as good as a physical interview, but it has become a norm since the pandemic. So, all the job seekers should find savvy ways to find out company culture even when interviewing remotely.

Some of the points mentioned in this piece can help you to get great clues on a company’s culture and hopefully help you in making the right direction in your job search!

Good luck! Stay safe!

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Bhaumik Karia

Bhaumik Karia

Content Marketing Strategist & Writer by profession, musician & traveller by choice.

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