Culture. All companies have one, good or bad. When looking for a new job, it’s important to find a culture that complements your personality. But how do you know what the company culture is really like? Keep reading for a few tips to help you along the way.
Research. Research. Research.
Prior to your interview, spend plenty of time scouring the web to learn everything you can about the company culture. Check out the company website and take the time to read the blog posts that are published. These are a good indication of the type of culture the company has and what’s important to them.
Look at all the social media platforms. Better yet, follow them. Dig around on Facebook and LinkedIn and read their posts. Make sure to take a look at the comments as well! Who’s following them and mentioning them? What are the employees saying? Find their YouTube channel to see what’s important to them. Go ahead and Google the company as well. You may find additional information here that the company hasn’t shared itself.
Find employee testimonials.
You can typically find many of these on the website inboth video and quote formats. Employees need to give permission to publish these and you can generally trust that they are authentic.. But go a step further and check out Indeed and Glassdoor too. Testimonials on these pages are 100% authentic and written directly by the employees.
When you arrive on site to interview, you really have a chance to see if what’s been touted online matches what you see and feel when you’re there.
Be mindful of the demeanor of the employees.
Does the receptionist happily greet you when you arrive for your interview? Are you offered something to drink and is he or she genuine about making you feel comfortable? As you walk through the halls, do the employees smile or say hello? Employees who are friendly and in good spirits at work are likely more engaged and enjoy the work they are doing.
Take a look at your surroundings.
As you walk by employee desks, do you notice if they are personalized to show each individual’s personality? This would be an indication that employees are allowed to bring their whole self to work. And if they have a desk that’s personalized to them, they probably don’t consider themselves a short-timer.
Make sure to ask specific questions about culture during the interview.
Here’s your chance to dig a little deeper and ask specific questions that are important to you. Simply asking, “what is the company culture like?” may not be enough. Listen to see if they give examples in the questions you ask. This will help you see what the culture is like rather than what it feels like.
Ask about company communication. How is news and information communicated throughout the organization? This is important to see how “in the know” employees are of regular activities. Companies that regularly share information with staff will have a number of ways to do so. Regular one-on-ones with employees, a company intranet where news is posted often for all to see, and regular “town halls” are a good indication that the company values communication throughout the organization.
Ask how employees are recognized for a job well done. Companies that recognize their employees will have a solid answer here. There should be various ways, both publicly and privately, for employees to be recognized. Gift cards, company lunches, recognition boards, posts on the company intranet and cards of appreciation are a few examples.
Inquiring about development and continuing education opportunities is important too. Companies that want to keep employees motivated and challenged will regularly allow employees to take part in additional development opportunities. Do they have a portal with online classes? Do employees take part in offsite seminars? Do teams partake in group development opportunities or teambuilding activities?
Be sure to take the time to ask questions that are important to you. Work/Life balance, telecommuting options, company events, and social philanthropy are other areas that can help you visualize what the culture is like.
When you are interviewing, it’s not just the company deciding if you’re right for the them—you get to decide if they feel like the right fit for you. Keep your eyes and ears open, and pay attention to the subtle signals that you definitely would (or wouldn’t) like to work at that organization.