If you have the luxury of options for your next place of work, making a decision comes down to culture fit as much as it does salary, and other important factors.
People work long hours in Hong Kong - you spend a lot of time at your desk, around your colleagues, and at an office. When you’re spending that much time somewhere that’s not your home, don’t you want to enjoy the experience? A strong company culture is about providing a social, happy and productive work environment that nurtures staff development.
Finding yourself in an office with poor culture can quickly feel like a grind. Here are a couple of things you can find out about in advance to help decide whether the culture at your next job will be right for you.
Determine your deal-breakersBefore applying, figure out what kind of company culture you would enjoy. Do you prefer working independently or are you a team player? Are you happy to work more hours than required? Will you be more comfortable in a collaborative or in a competitive environment? Once you’ve decided what your likes and dislikes are, you’ll know what to look for and what questions to ask in an interview.
Research the companyWith a mental a list of your deal-breakers, it’s time to do some research. Most companies have websites and social profiles you can check out. While you can look under the “About Us” section of the company’s website, it’s unlikely to give you a real sense of what it’s like to work there. Check out their social media - Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn - platforms. Look for photos, read their captions and see how many people are engaging in the conversation. You can also look up ratings online to get a sense of what current and former employers think of the workplace (but take these with a pinch of salt - some ‘reviews’ could be severely negative because of a personal conflict.) Ask around - do you know anyone who has worked there before? You might find former staff members who are happy to give you insider knowledge.
Be observant! Your interview is your first introduction to the business - so take note! How does the receptionist greet you? Do people in the office appear relaxed, but working hard? Or do they look like drones? Look at how the office is decorated - is it plain and boring or colorful and energetic? All these things will give you little clues about what to expect if you get hired.
Ask the interviewerNow’s your chance to ask what you want, based on what you’ve researched and seen. Interviewers expect questions about their company culture - they know it’s a big draw card for talent. Ask about working hours, what staff do for fun, and whether they run team building days. Do staff hang out together outside of the office? What career growth programmes do they offer? You might also find out about perks you didn’t know about - such as a free pantry with snack food or an early knock-off on Fridays so staff can have a drink and unwind.
Keen for more insight like this? Check out our Career Centre.