1 year ago
April 13, 2016

Research the Corporate Culture Before Your Sales Job Interview

Researching the corporate culture of an organization before your sales job interview will help you meet your career goals.

Rhys Metler

Researching the corporate culture of an organization before your sales job interview fulfills two purposes. First, it allows you to frame your responses to interview questions appropriately while providing a framework for your own questions about the company. Second, it can give you insights into whether the corporate culture is the right one for you so that you know going into the sales job interview that the position will help you meet your career goals. Using these methods to research an organization’s corporate culture will save you and the interviewer with whom you are working from covering basic ground, and allow you to get to the heart of decisions impacting your career trajectory.

Find Out How the Company Perceives Itself

Every organization has a set of mission statements, goals, and objectives that are easily found on its website. The way that these pieces are worded can give you insight into the company culture. What is the tone of the message? Are the words used more formal or more informal? Are the statements concrete or do they leave room for creativity? Judge the purpose of these statements against the purpose of your own career, looking for alignment.

Follow Up with the Perceptions of Others

The corporate culture that an organization is trying to create will tell you much about whether the organization is a good fit for you, but it can never tell you the whole story. Balance the organization’s self-stated culture against the perceptions of other individuals and organizations prior to the sales job interview for a well-rounded picture. Look for sources such as:

  • Press releases written by others, such as companies with which the organization holding your sales job interview has collaborated
  • News items written by industry publications or general interest magazines and papers
  • Social media feedback from employees, clients, and partners

Looking at an organization’s most recent activities and the achievements it has chosen to publicize will show you what the organization values most. This in turn can help you determine the organization’s overall direction and how this likely influences its corporate culture.

Use Business Networking Tools Like LinkedIn

Reaching out to individuals is a good way to acquire information prior to a sales job interview, though you will want to approach this tactfully. If you have connections in your business network who have worked for or with the organization at which you have a sales job interview scheduled, ask these connections whether there is a convenient time to have a conversation in person or over the phone.

  • Be sure that you make the purpose of the requested meeting clear to avoid surprising your contacts.
  • Try to contact individuals who are still connected with the organization as well as individuals with past knowledge.
  • Allow for the possibility that a contact might not want to discuss his or her knowledge of an organization’s corporate culture. This might not have negative connotations; for example, he or she may be afraid of violating a non-disclosure agreement.

Continue Seeking Information During the Sales Job Interview

Although the internet and the experiences of others can give you an idea of what the corporate culture of an organization is really like, these impressions are almost always biased to some degree. Ensure that your understanding of a corporate culture is well-balanced by continuing to ask about culture during your sales job interview. Questions you might ask include:

  • What do you think differentiates your company’s corporate culture?
  • In what ways do you think your company’s culture has changed since it was founded?
  • Would it be possible for me to speak with some of your current sales people about their experiences here?

It is difficult to be too well-prepared for a sales job interview, and corporate culture is one of many topics you will want to research. Do all you can to gain an understanding the corporate culture before and during your sales job interview to support your future success.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.