Top 10 Questions to ask an interviewer

“How would you describe the culture of this business and what do people like most about working here?

The following is an excerpt from the Nation Best-Selling book: iQUIT – HOW THE WORLD OF WORK IS CHANGING FOREVER AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU – Available today on

Organizational cultures can have a huge impact on your work life—especially when working within larger organizations. An organizational culture is simply a set of values, norms, feelings, attitudes, goals, and behaviors that help characterize and even identify the organization. Sadly, great cultures can be rare, and you will know what they are simply by asking others who currently work within them how they feel about working there.

As previously discussed, cultures typically start with the leader of the organization and repeat throughout it—both directly and indirectly impacting every role including your own. But some cultures are deep-seated and well ensconced for years within the fabric of the organization—and can be powerful enough to transcend and force themselves upon new leadership.

For example, one of the bright spots in an otherwise miserable airline travel industry is Southwest Airlines. After cofounding Southwest Airlines over five decades ago, Herb Kelleher created one of the strongest and most remarkable business cultures in any corporation. Southwest even prominently dedicates a page on their website to their unique culture. This page includes statements like, “Every employee is responsible for promoting and preserving our culture,” “Our culture is woven into all aspects of our business,” and, my all-time favorite, “We also have a Culture Services Department that is charged with championing a Culture through which every Employee knows he or she matters.” And what is the result of all this for Southwest? How about a 96 percent employee retention rate, 44 straight years of profitability and growth, and no layoffs? Now, how many corporations can claim that? Then again, how many also have a department dedicated to cultural services? Most don’t.

Great business cultures also help attract great people who, working together, can accomplish great things. Elon Musk once said, “If you’re creating a company or if you’re joining a company, the most important thing is to attract great people. So, either be with or join a group that’s amazing, that you really respect, or if you are building a company, you’ve got to gather great people. I mean, all a company is, is a group of people that are gathered together to create a product or service, and so…that will determine the success of the company. So do everything you can to gather great people if you’re creating a company.” And one of the best ways to find these great groups of people is to ask about the culture of the company they are working for. 

In summary, make sure to ask about the company’s culture and see how people respond to this question. Just a simple smile (or a lack thereof) in response to this question can tell you a lot about if you are potentially working for the next Southwest Airlines or if Alec Baldwin’s Glengarry Glen Ross character will eventually want to give you a “motivational speech” about winning a car or steak knives—or getting fired if you don’t.


Question #1: Who would I be reporting to and how would you describe their management style?

Question #2: Why is this position now open?

Question #3: What was the growth rate of the business last year?

Question #4: What would people tell me are the top three benefits and top three challenges in this job?

Question #5: If I perform my job well, what are my potential career paths from here?

Question #6: Who is the leader of this business and how would people describe their leadership style?


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