Some People Will Turn Down a Job Because of ‘Meeting Culture’ — Here's Why It Matters

Ultimately, meeting culture can, in fact, make or break an organization — so it’s critical to join a company that has a strong one.

Google Calendar filled with meetings

Phase2 Technology

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k

The average worker spends at least three hours in meetings every week. Meanwhile, nearly a third of workers say they spend more than five hours in meetings a week.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, “meeting” has become somewhat of a dirty word — it’s thought of as a time-waster, something that adds little to the organization and zaps productivity. But often, meetings have real value. It all depends on how they’re used within the business.

Yes, meeting culture speaks volumes about the overall organization and its practices. It reflects on the broader communication style among colleagues and managers, as well as how people collaborate and relate to one another. That’s why it’s so important to assess meeting culture BEFORE you accept a job offer.

What does meeting culture say about overall company culture?

How a company conducts and conceives of meetings can tell you a lot about the overall culture of an organization. It offers insight into the company’s values, decision-making capabilities and practices, collaboration, communication and much more.

No matter what your employment status, level or role within an organization, chances are, at one time or another, you will find yourself attending (or possibly even leading) a meeting. It could be a large meeting; it could be a one-on-one. It could be anything in between. But given the prevalence of meetings, it’s important to understand the tone, because this has bearing on the bigger picture.

Does the company use meetings to solve problems? Do higher-ups welcome everybody’s perspectives? Do colleagues use them to brainstorm? When the pertinent issues have been addressed, are attendees able to leave? If you can answer “yes" to these questions, then that’s a sign of a positive meeting culture.

On the flip side, does the company seem to hold meetings with no real agenda? Are managers the only ones who seem to be encouraged to speak up? Is “meeting” the answer to every issue? Do they drag on with no real end in sight? These are all indications of a meeting culture that needs some work. 

How to figure out what a company’s meeting culture is like in an interview

1. Ask.

What is your meeting culture like? What are your goals surrounding meeting culture? How do you plan to improve it?

These are all questions you can — and should — ask in an interview. If the interviewer is able to answer them easily, then that’s a good sign.

2. Observe connections within the office.

If you’re interviewing in person, look around to see how people relate to one another. While this is not directly indicative of what happens in meetings, it does give you insight into how people generally communicate with their colleagues. It also speaks to the larger company culture, which is really what you want to better understand. 

3. Take note of how the interview is running THIS meeting.

Does the interviewer give you plenty of time to ask questions? Do they seem to welcome your perspective? Are they friendly? Do they give you an agenda and confirm the time? 

These are all indications that they value your time — and probably have a strong meeting culture. Pay attention to other signs, too, such as how they speak about direct and in direct reports and whether you are able to meet with people at different levels within the organization. You want to see a manager who encourages their employees and values their opinions.

Ultimately, meeting culture can, in fact, make or break an organization — so it’s critical to join a company that has a strong one.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at:

What’s the meeting culture like at your company and would you change anything about it? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!