In many companies today there is a focus on providing not only a great salary and benefits package, but also on giving employees a fun atmosphere to work in. This movement started with the first company that decided a casual, fun workplace was more conducive to happy and productive employees—and for good reason. Studies have consistently shown that happy employees lead to higher levels of productivity, which translates to more revenues and greater creativity. This leads to innovation like never before seen. Just think Google and Apple and you get the general idea.
As you start interviewing for new assignments, you may encounter companies that promote this “fun” workplace. In order to put the best foot forward, it’s best to prepare in advance for a different style of interviewing you may experience. Here are some ways to get ready for an interview at the next funhouse company.
Before the interview, review the corporate website and any articles that pertain to the company as a whole. You will generally be able to learn much about a company by reviewing any press that the company has received, including the executive leadership. Try to understand what the company stands for by reading the mission statement. This will come in handy when you are asked to come in personally for an interview.
If you have the opportunity, speak with the direct hiring recruiter to find out what the general corporate culture is like. Ask what the inside of the building is like, what are some of the events that the company has, and what the general population of the existing staff are like. Does the workplace include any on-site perks like a café, coffee shop, exercise center, a skateboard or bike path, entertainment spaces or other aspects of a fun environment?
Check with your staffing agent to find out what the dress code will be for the initial interview, because he or she has been inside the company. If the agent tells you business casual, be prepared to dress smartly for the interview, but not too over the top with a suit and tie, or too casual with jeans and flip flops. If this fun work environment includes ultra-casual attire, wear at least khakis and a collared shirt to avoid appearing too “stuffy”. Dress codes do vary from one fun workplace to another, so don’t assume to know what will be expected of you.
Ask around to see if any of your personal contacts know anyone who works at your target company currently. If you normally associate with people in the particular industry you are trying to get employed in, chances are someone knows a little more about the company than you, or has had a chance to visit there for an interview. Friends within the company can also shed more light on what it’s really like to work in that environment, which can give you more to go on as you interview. You’ll likely get a more accurate picture of what the fun environment is about, rather than a somewhat biased view from a recruiter who is trying to court you for a job there.
Remember, that you only get one chance to make a positive impression, and that the company has one shot to entice you to want to work there. Sometimes what seems like a “fun” environment to others may not be the right environment for you to work in. On the other hand, it may be the perfect place for you to grow in your career.