By Eduardo Alonso, Career and Industry Specialist
We're seeing it in real time—different organizations across multiple industries are doing their best to practice social distancing while also continuing their hiring and recruitment efforts. If you are looking for employment opportunities, this may have an impact on the way you interact with recruiters in the next couple of weeks. If that is the case, it is very important to be proactive about the current situation by learning as much as you can about the organization as possible. Here are a few steps you can take to get a grasp on office culture in a virtual setting:
Do your research.
Know the mission statement for the organization you will be contacting. Mission statements are usually found on an organization’s website and will provide you with a strong foundation about who they are as well as their goals. Reflect on the mission statement and think about how it may align with your personal values.
Inquire about a virtual tour of their space.
There are a few organizations providing applicants with the opportunity to do virtual tours. Make sure you double check with your recruiter to see if this option is available for you.
Make new connections.
You might also consider conducting informational interviews via a virtual platform. One of the most common meeting websites used by professionals today is Zoom, so do not be afraid to reach out and provide your new contact with a meeting ID to connect and learn more about their organization. Here are a few things you may want to discuss:
What is the dress code?
If you do not have the opportunity to visit the work site in person, this topic can be easily overlooked. For example, is the attire business, business casual or casual?
The dress code can often tell you a lot about an organization. For example, a workplace that allows its employees to wear jeans may be more casual and might even encourage inclusive group activities. This may not be the same in an environment where most people wear business or business casual attire. Business attire typically reflects a more serious work environment where you might experience a very formal work structure. Thus, learning about a company's dress code may give you a deeper understanding of their office culture.
How are interactions between team members?
If you decide to ask this question, be cognizant of the fact that two individuals may have very different opinions about a similar situation. This question is asked to gain a clearer picture of the work environment, not to learn specifics about people working there. After hearing a little bit about this, you can reflect on how you see yourself performing in that type of setting on a day-to-day basis.
What leadership styles are common at the organization?
Reflect back on past experiences and leaders for whom you've worked. What leadership styles bring out the best of your skills and abilities? You can bring up your preferred leadership style during your informational interview to get some guidance on how to find that within the organization.
Opportunities for advancement
Depending on with whom you are speaking, you may be able to ask about their professional career within the company. What you are trying to find out is – Have they received an internal promotion? Do they know anyone that has? After how long?
This will provide you with valuable information that can help you set tangible goals for yourself once you begin your new position.
Don't forget—if you have questions about contacting recruiters or conducting informational interviews, schedule an appointment with a member of our team on Handshake!