Company culture is one of the most important characteristics that will affect your job. That’s why it’s important to do your research in advance to find out more about the company. But how can you understand and research something so nebulous as “culture?” Here’s how to do your homework to know in advance what kind of culture a company has before you accept a job offer.

How to Research Company Culture?

Company culture encompasses the unspoken rules that affect employees and their work. Culture can affect your work/life balance and how employees are promoted. It impacts how ideas are shared and what kind of behaviors are valued in the workplace. You’re looking for the kind of culture that you’ll feel at home in and one that will make it a good place to work. How can you figure this out?

Start with researching the company’s website. What does it say about the culture? Can you find their mission, vision, and values? If they don’t talk about culture, it doesn’t mean they don’t have one, but it might mean that the employer doesn’t even realize how important it is. (That should tell you something.) Try looking at employer review sites like Glassdoor to see what current and former employees say about the company’s culture. Always take these reviews with a grain of salt simply because they are so subjective. Try to read between the lines, though, and look for any themes that pop out.

You can also make some connections on LinkedIn with some current and former employees. Look for connections that will actually talk with you about what the company culture is like. Most people won’t mind sharing their thoughts on these issues if you ask them. Keep it very professional, particularly because you can assume this data will make it back to the hiring manager at some point. You can invite feedback on the company simply by saying something like, “I’m considering an opportunity at (the company), and I wondered if you would share some confidential feedback on what the culture is like there?”

Use the interview process to also delve into the company culture. As you’re formulating the right questions to ask about the company, make sure you’re asking things like:

  • Can you describe the company culture?
  • What would it look like for me to be successful?
  • How does the company engage remote workers?
  • When was the last internal promotion that you’re aware of?
  • Can you describe how a team handled a particular crisis or challenge?
  • How would you describe the dynamics of your team?

Culture matters, but it’s hard to define. Make sure your due diligence about a company includes figuring out the intangibles like culture before you take the offer. This will help ensure you’re much happier when you finally take the job.

Are you looking for a better fit? IES can help you find the right culture that aligns with your goals. Contact our team about how we can help.

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