5 Ways To Learn About Company Culture

You had a great interview but what is it really like to work there? Here are five ways you can learn about company culture before accepting the job offer.
5 Ways To Learn About Company Culture

According to a new study conducted by Bamboo HR, nearly 1 in 5 employees are looking for new jobs due to declining company culture. In addition, the research found significant disconnects between managers and employees on various aspects of culture. Human resources professionals are also feeling the strain, with nearly a quarter of HR managers (22%) reporting that remote work has caused them to spend most of the workday on tasks they dislike or hate.

Company culture (also known as organizational, corporate or workplace culture) is defined as an organization’s shared values and characteristics. It is comprised of a variety of elements, including company values, mission, ethics, goals and expectations. Organizations can have a variety of different cultures. For example, some companies are team-based, while others encourage individual achievement. In some cases, you’ll find that hierarchical management is valued while other businesses prefer a more casual workplace. 

Ideally, you want to work for a company whose culture is aligned with your values. But how do you know what the corporate culture is like if you never worked there? Let’s examine five ways you can learn about company culture before accepting the job offer.

Research the company culture

An organization’s website is a prominent place to research company culture. Pay particular attention to the mission statement, blog and careers section. The mission statement will give you insight into the organization’s values and priorities. If a mission statement doesn’t exist, the company may lack a long-term vision. The corporate blog should reflect a culture where employees are valued. If a blogging culture isn’t present where multiple staff members contribute, it might indicate that workers don’t feel their voice matters. Also, review the careers section to get a glimpse of what it’s like to work there. Usually, companies include information like compensation, benefits, awards, employee videos and other valuable information. Looking at the corporate social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn will also provide a glimpse into the organization’s priorities. Finally, create a Google alert so you can stay on top of the latest news and announcements.

Seek out employee feedback

Networking with employees is always a good idea. Former employees will most likely be willing to share honest, unfiltered feedback. Consider using social media sites like LinkedIn to connect with and message current or former workers. You can also expand your search to employee review websites. Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably, and CareerBliss provide company reviews. Look for red flags like multiple reviews that describe similar negative experiences. One bad review may just be an isolated case. But ten or more may be cause for concern.  

Ask about company culture during the interview

It is good to ask about company culture directly during the interview process. Usually, a recruiter or hiring manager will be forthcoming, even if they just give you a general idea. Some examples of questions to ask during the interview include:

  • Why do you like working here?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What makes the company culture unique?
  • How would you describe the work environment?
  • What if any activities outside of work do you attend?

These types of questions will keep culture fit at the forefront of the conversation and help you determine if you’re a good match.

Notice how you were treated during the process

How you are treated during the interview process is an essential indicator of how the company is run. Usually, it is also a preview of what is to come. So, after your conversations, take the time to reflect on your experience. For example, were you treated professionally? Did you speak to a wide variety of employees? Were there any instances where you felt uncomfortable? By listening to your intuition, you could avoid making a mistake that you will regret down the road.  

Pay attention to your surroundings

Arriving early to the on-site interview will allow you to observe the office environment. Try to get a feel for the overall energy in the office and watch how people interact. Do employees seem happy to work there? Does it look like an environment where you would like to work? Are the employees friendly with you? Try to make sure it’s the kind of environment that inspires you to jump out of bed to work every day.

According to CareerBuilder, 44% of employees want a positive work culture over salary when considering a position. And an SHRM study revealed that one-fifth of workers said a toxic work culture forced them to leave a job. Clearly, company culture is linked to job satisfaction. And it’s not about getting fancy perks. Culture needs to go beyond extrinsic rewards to include a clear mission that employees feel connected to and inspired by. Let’s face it, at least a third of your life is spent at work. And you’re not going to get that time back. So be sure to do your due diligence before you accept the job offer to ensure it’s the right fit. You’ll be glad you did.

Feeling stuck and not sure it’s time to make a career shift? Download my free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!

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