When Corporate Culture Counts in Digital Media Sales

  • Posted by Steve Goldberg
  • |
  • November 17, 2015
The unity of the hands

There is no shortage of jobs in Digital Media, Ad Tech or SaaS for sales, business development, marketing, account management, client services and sales development professionals.  As long as you have the requisite experience, opportunities abound.  “If you’ve got the goods, you can get the job.”

Furthermore, in this hot job market, many of you have multiple jobs from which to choose.  On what basis will you make your decision?  What are the factors that will influence where you will go for your next job?  Compensation? Comfort with your company’s management?  Long-term career goals?

The answers are yes, yes and yes.  There are other criteria as well, corporate culture being an essential one.

Corporate Culture is, in short, the personality and values of a company. This culture is shaped by the vision of the company leaders and is exemplified in their employees, from the amount of overtime they put in and their passion for the company, to the way they dress. Especially in digital media/tech, the varieties of corporate cultures are as diverse as the job seekers they interview. From the traditional values of Meredith to the innovative atmosphere at Google, with a little research you can find your perfect fit.

An essential tidbit to remember when interviewing is that the company is not only looking for the best candidate, but also a candidate that will fit into their specific corporate culture.

The questions you could ask during the interview process can inform you about a company’s culture.  Be sure to ask these questions in an upbeat, positive manner.  They should also be asked during the latter part of the interview process after you’ve sold yourself to the company and you are a strong contender for the job.  Here are some tips that can help you incorporate questions about a company’s corporate culture into your interview process.

1. If you could describe your corporate culture in a sentence, what would that sentence be?

This is a question you should ask every person with whom you interview.  How the interviewer responds, both in words and in body language can speak volumes.  This kind of question also positions you to be a bit more of a thinker, more of a strategic, creative candidate showing the interviewer you’re taking the job interview process seriously.

2. Can you name 3 aspects of your company that you feel sets the company apart from others?

What sets a company apart has everything to do with a company’s corporate culture.  You can gain great insight in terms of if the company is “employee-friendly”, if the company operates with integrity, and if the company’s actions are consistent with its vision.  How much of the positive aspects of the company’s culture is transparent to its customers, employees, and the public at large?

3. How do you recognize and/or reward excellence?

A media or technology company is only as strong as its talent. While this question doesn’t seem like an obvious cultural question, the answer you receive can give you a sense of the morale of the employees. Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work and talent, from time to time. If the answer isn’t clear or strong, it may be an indicator of low morale, or an environment that doesn’t outwardly praise its employees for great work.

4. How collaborative is the team when there are conflicting ideas?

The answer to this question can be a great overall indicator of the potential team dynamics at the company. This question can provide you insights into a couple of things—how well would fellow employees work with feedback/pushback that is contrary to their own, and how well do their teams work together as a united front? If they don’t sell you here, there may be poor collaboration amongst the team. Poor collaboration can create tension, resentments, and overall low morale if employees aren’t able to express their ideas.

5. What’s the best part about working in this environment that I will still be able to see after a year (or years) of working?

This question speaks to the consistency of a corporate culture, and also speaks to its depth and strength. This will also reiterate questions 3 and 4 from a long-term perspective, giving you a view of the company’s traditions and what I call the “workplace way of life” – things that stand the test of time.

6. May I speak with a few of your more seasoned employees?

Try to broaden your scope by speaking to more employees from the company.  This will allow you to get a sense of the company from a perspective from someone not normally in the interview process.  You’ll be able to ask them questions about the company, and judge their answers and body language as you did with your interviewers.  A word here…remember to “sell yourself” to these employees every bit as much you would in any interview situation.  You might be looking for information, but it has to be woven with nuance and subtlety into your overall interview approach.

Conclusion

You spend a lot of time at work.  You want to be happy, and you want to be in an environment that will not only help you to thrive professionally, but will give you the sense that you fit in.   Be sure to evaluate a prospective company’s corporate culture as a part of your evaluation process.