We’re going to take a brief pause in our technical perusings to talk about something that might range into feelings-territory. Don’t worry; it’ll be okay. I promise we’ll stay on track.

A few weeks ago, Elise told us that we would start having 15-minute interviews with our sponsoring companies to get some sense of which company we wanted to work for. This brought up a round of panic, not because interviews are scary (though they can be), but because of one simple truth: I don’t know how to answer that question. I don’t know how to tell if I want to work somewhere. Never in my life have I had free choice, or felt able to judge a company by merit. The only question I ever had was how much will you pay me?, and that wasn’t really a question I ever even felt safe enough to ask.

When you work in customer service and food service--heck, when you work in unskilled labor--you don’t get a lot of choices. It’s a buyer’s product, and your only job in an interview is to show that you are worth the MSRP.

I asked if we could have an event to talk about culture fit and how you can determine if a company culture will really fit you, and Elise said that we could if I put it on. I said yes. On Tuesday, I held that event.

Four smart and talented friends of Ada, Serene Careaga, Renée Hendricksen, Jeremy Wadsack, and Jeffrey Lembeck, agreed to be panelists at our event. I want to thank them again for agreeing to participate; the event was hugely successful, largely due to their skills and their thoughtful answers.

Below, in no particular order, I want to put some of the advice they gave that really stuck with me. These questions are not meant to be asked all at once; think about when in the interview process you want to ask these questions.

Okay. I have 31 minutes before my first interview. I hope these tricks helped you out; wish me luck!