By Melissa J. Anderson

The ability to be your authentic self is something we’ve heard time and time again, as a cultural factor that today’s employees value. According to Rhonda Mims, President, ING Foundation & SVP, Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs, ING, individuals need to be sure they can be their authentic selves at work.

“Being your authentic self” has become somewhat of a buzz-phrase in recent memory. To us at Evolved Employer, it means being able to show your true colors at work, without having to change yourself to fit in.

One of the missions of Evolved Employer is to show which companies are cultivating the type of evolved, open, diverse, and responsible corporate culture that today’s employees say they are seeking.

Mims said, “Pick a place where you can take your whole self to work. Interview companies as they are interviewing you.” For example, she continued, “I’m very proud to work at ING. It’s a culture that fits my beliefs. It’s a culture where you can develop, make mistakes, and prove yourself.”

What should you ask? Here are three big questions.

1. What is it like to work there?

This might seem like an obvious question – but it’s an important one. But, Mims advised, don’t just ask your interviewer. She said, “If you can, ask employees what it is like to work there.” Get the inside insight into the company’s policies and values from other employees who have less of a stake in trying to “sell you” the job.

2. What is the culture?

Mims said, “Understand what the culture is, and make sure you ask cultural questions.” Think about what’s valuable to you in your corporate culture and see if you match up in advance. If the company doesn’t support the values you do, you’re not going to feel fulfilled. Similarly, if you’re expending energy trying to fit in, you could end up burning out – it takes a lot of energy to act like someone you’re not!

3. Can I meet the team?

“Spend time with your potential team,” advised Mims. Since you’ll most likely be working with them every day, make sure there’s a good fit as far as personalities and the team dynamic as well. Make sure you’ll be energized by the people you’ll work with – rather than deflated or defeated. That way you can do your best work in a fulfilling, dynamic team – everybody wins when your job expectations match those of your employer!