3 Sneaky Ways to Figure Out a Company’s Culture

by Apr 5, 2019

Here’s the scenario: you took a leap of faith, stepped into the unknown. You accepted the job offer. You thought you were in dream-job land. Two weeks later, you’re about to run screaming into the Snowy Mountains.

The problem? You did not research the company’s culture before taking the job.

Not to fret — I’ve got your six. In today’s post, I’ll show you how to figure out the company’s culture before you pull the trigger on the job offer.

Poke Around the Company’s Website

Time to set out on a little research trip. Grab your coffee and get the laptop ready. All set?

The first thing you want to do is head over to the company’s website. Most companies have pages like About Us, Our Values, What It’s like to Work Here, etc. These are your go-to places to get that first taste of the company’s culture and core values.

The good news? Companies take their time to spotlight their culture and values. And that means they are easy to find.

Need an example? Here are Accenture’s core values, which took me one minute to Google:

Screenshot of Accenture's values

Now, what do we make of these, Watson?

Collaboration, transparency, and accountability seem to be important to Accenture.

Is that your flow? Are you the kind of person who thrives on working in concert with others? While taking responsibility for each task? Or would you rather work on your own, competing with ambitious, career-driven people?

Neither is better or worse. But one could be a much better option for you to give your full power to the organization.

Pro tip: Set up Google News Alerts to keep tabs on the company’s digital presence. You might not get insights into the company culture, but it’s a good way to track the company’s image in the news.

Screenshot of Google alert's page

Dive Deeper: Reviews

Let’s assume the values on the company’s website seem like a good fit. Chances are, you don’t want to end up in the workplace version of The Odd Couple?

That’s why you need to take your research a step further – namely to find out what current and past employees are saying about the company. Why? Because not all companies stand by their stated values.

So head over to Glassdoor. This is the advanced research gear that’ll tell you if the company walks the walk, or just talks the talk.

Here is an example of an employee review for LinkedIn:

Screenshot of LinkedIn's profile on Glassdoor

Take those reviews and see how they resonate with what you found on the company’s website. Found a match? Good! You’re on the right track.

Dig Into Cultural Questions

So far so good; you’re as pumped about your findings as Sheldon when he’s playing with his train set.

Wait.

Before you waltz over to your phone and call the hiring manager to take the job, ask a few cultural questions (you can do it over the phone or set up a meeting to talk in person). This will help you max out the odds of landing in the right place.

Now, the hiring manager will spare no effort in painting the company in the most complimentary light – they’ll try to sell you the job as much as you’ll try to sell your hard and soft skills.

Your mission? Dig for the truth. Here are four cultural questions you can ask the interviewer to probe for common values.

  • Does the company favour individual contributors vs. team players? (teamwork)
  • Do employees get to decide how to organize their workflow? (flexibility)
  • How do managers prefer to dish out feedback to employees? Are they upfront or do they try to sugar-coat things? (transparency)
  • Do you provide employees with continuous learning opportunities? (growth)

Final Words

So you’ve done the digging. You’ve built a mental picture of what you might be getting yourself into. It could be great, or it could be far from perfect.

Here’s the deal: sometimes you just need a job. You don’t care much about the environment. If all you want is to land a gig and walk out of the door soon after the 12-month mark, then forget about the culture!

But if you’re hunting for the job that makes you light up like a Christmas tree, put cultural fit at the very top of your priority list.

 

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Max Woolf

By Max Woolf

Content Marketing Specialist at ResumeLab

Max Woolf is a career expert at ResumeLab. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and travelling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.

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