Struggling to find talent in the DC job market? Three interview questions to spot cultural fit and prevent turnover

by Susan Mullin

From dress code to desk configuration, identifying top marketing professionals means finding the right personalities for your office culture

Whether it’s an open office with a bar cart or suits in cubicles, there is a workplace culture for everyone. For Washington companies, that means selling who you are to prospective employees. It can mean the difference between a successful, long-term hire and someone who is miserable on day one.

D.C.’s collective office culture used to have a pervasive government feel—navy suits, hierarchy and proximity to power ruled. Now, due an increasingly diverse mix of professional services and tech firms as well as associations and nonprofits, the region boasts a wide variety of office types and workplace styles.

Take, for example, office space. One’s position in a workplace was often defined by the location of his or her office—spacious corner suite or tiny cube said it all. Now, many local firms mix partners with junior employees and administrative staff in open offices. And while that can inspire a spirit of collaboration, many workers may be put off by the noise, the lack of personal space and privacy, and the inability to move up to a corner office.

Organizations must look beyond skill sets and salary requirements to find the right fit. At TorchLight, we spend time at our clients’ offices to learn about their corporate culture and take into account the needs of the prospective candidates to ensure a better fit. Here are three tips for finding the perfect match:

Ask job seekers how they work

Do they prefer a traditional, hierarchical structure or one that’s flat? If they’d prefer to work on their own, and you’re all about teamwork, you may struggle to integrate them into your projects. Do they like companies with lots of resources or do they prefer to roll up their sleeves? If someone comes from a big company with lots of resources at their fingertips, how will they feel when they have to do it on their own?

Inquire about hobbies

Aspiring yogis don’t always mix well in hierarchical environments; and those who come from a corporate background may feel unmoored in a sea of athleisure and low lighting. Feeling comfortable in an office—whether in a suit or jeans—can influence performance.

Find out what they value

Many Millennials want to work for companies that help them achieve their career goals and contribute to their communities. For them, team building activities at a local soup kitchen could be a bonus. Other workers may want to get in and get out of the office. For them, flexibility—not office-sponsored happy hours—may be essential.

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Posted in , Hiring Managers, Recruitment