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How to gauge if it's a good company culture

A job interview is as much you deciding if you want to work somewhere as the company deciding if they want you to work there. A bad company culture can mean you will be back looking for a job sooner rather than later. But how can you gauge if it is a good company culture?

Why is this position vacant?

One of the best questions to ask is "Why is this position vacant" or "What happened to the person who previously held this job?" How they respond gives you a good idea of the company culture.

Positive answers.

"They were promoted internally."

"The company is growing and this is a new opening."

"They retired." 

"They left for life reasons."

All these answers indicate a healthy company that people want to stay at.

Neutral answers.

"They were let go due to job performance."

"They gave two weeks but didn't indicate future plans."

"They left for an outside opportunity."

These answers aren't "bad" but you might want to probe a little further in to the culture if you hear these.

Bad answers.

"They were fired."

"I don't know."

"They quit unexpectedly."

Any response wherein the previous office holder is bad mouthed.

These answers all may suggest that its somewhere people don't want to work.


Listen to your gut when you are interviewing. If something doesn't "feel right" probe further. It might be disappointing to decline a job but in the long term it means you will find a better company and be happy.