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A classic question that can be asked of people at all levels.

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Now, the question I'm going to answer for today is one that . . . I think it works well, if you were to be asked this for a senior position or a staff position. So, from the standpoint of answering the question, I think the answer is going to work in both contexts.
So, the question for today is, "Do you understand our corporate culture?"
Now, let's assume we were talking about a well-known organization, public firm, yada, yada. So, the correct answer would wind up being, "You know, I know what you want us to know. After all, you have a well-oiled publicity machine and PR for the organization is spectacular. People talk about the firm in this, that or the other way." Then, you describe how the organization is thought of from a positive perspective.
But from there, you continue on by saying, "We both know this is part of what you're putting out into the world. There are people who leave this organization who, if I called, would say something different. How do you perceive the corporate culture because you're living in? I'm not. I'm reading about it. I'm talking to people who work for the firm, AND who leave the firm. How do you see the corporate culture? What does it take to be successful here?"
Thus, you turn the question back to them, so they talk about it and, thus, you're giving them a non BS type of answer because what you're saying is true.
Apple, Facebook, we would talk about smart organizations with enthusiastic people who are committed. You know, it's all this publicity stuff that each organization puts out in order to be seen in a favorable light.
"We reward success. We've got a top management team. We are committed to excellence."
Tell me what form doesn't say that . . . but the reality is different. It's far more nuanced. Thus, you want to remind them of that, so that, in this way, you can get some real insights from them about the positives and the challenges that the organization is facing directly from them.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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