19

On a career site, it includes this question as an example of how wording can be so important:

Better:

What are things your organization has done recently to show how it values its employees?

As opposed to the the curt

Does your organization value its employees?

But would this question be risky when I'm applying for an internship spot? I will be in a low-level position. Is it presumptuous to ask proof that they "value their employees"?

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  • I think so, as it could be a trap to see whether you would bad-mouth your current and/or previous employers. – stanigator May 11 '12 at 0:05
  • 6
    Personally, I think the sort of company that would take offense at that would be the sort of company you don't want to work for. You may make some interviewers uncomfortable with this question, but you don't want to work for them either. – Steven Burnap May 11 '12 at 3:00
27

So just rephrase:

  • Why do your employees love working here?

  • What do you feel is most special about your company as a workplace?

  • Why is your turnover rate so low? (Ask after you find out that the rate actually is low.)

  • Competition for good employees is pretty stiff in your field. How do you manage to attract and keep good people?

You may be applying for just an internship, but you'll still be working there for a while and it's not unreasonable to ask questions about the work environment and the company's relationship with its employees. Just be polite about it.

  • 1
    Thank You So Much Caleb, these certainly have a positive tone! – Adel May 10 '12 at 22:32
  • You can also try "could you give me an example of something you've done recently" instead of "what have you done recently" - this makes it sound like you're asking for help understanding rather than challenging them to meet a standard you're setting. – Kate Gregory Apr 5 '13 at 21:00
10

When they are interviewing you, which do you think they'll ask?

  • Do you tend to put the extra mile in when necessary?
  • What have you done recently that involves going the extra mile, when necessary?

The first is something everyone will say yes to. Everyone. Who wants to be seen as someone who works 9-5, no matter the situation?

Likewise, any company will answer yes to "Does your organization value its employees?" Really. How awkward would that moment be when you ask me that and I say "no, never."

"What are things your organization has done recently to show how it values its employees?" is a perfectly valid question. The only people who will be uncomfortable with it are those who have no examples.

Do you want to work for those companies? If so, then asking the question is a little risky, yes. If not, then you're showing that you know you have options and that you're genuinely interested in taking the right job, not just any job.

2

I have previously seen employers lying to applicants just to get them interested in the job. This is more common than you might think, especially in smaller companies or in smaller towns where there is a lack of applicants.

Therefore, whatever question you ask and whatever answer you receive, don't take it for granted. Ask your question in a polite manner, but you'll have to work for that company and see for yourself whether that organisation values their employees.

2

Since it's an intern position, you should rather ask:

  1. What type of onboarding program do you have for new employees (Most companies that value employees have a good onboarding/training program)

  2. What do you like about working here (if the interviewer likes the company the company probably values it's employees)

  3. What type of project can I expect to get while interning here (if they give you fun/interesting work it's also probably an indicator of a good place to work)

1

Not at all, even though you're "just an intern" it shows that you're interested in the company for more than just the job experience, you might actually be interested in working for them long-term after your internship is over! Most interviewers would be very happy to receive that kind of question.

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