Wouldn’t it be great if there were ways you could research company culture to determine if you’d enjoy working there? Well, there are!
What’s one of the top factors hiring managers give when rejecting candidates and one of the top reasons employees give for quitting? Not the right “cultural fit.”
In fact, 44% of employees say they want a good work culture over salary when considering a position according to CareerBuilder. Furthermore, 1/5 of workers said a toxic work culture forced workers to leave a job, according to a SHRM study.
But what exactly is cultural fit and how do you evaluate it?
What Does Company Culture Mean?
Company culture is the personality of the company. But it can be difficult to describe an organization’s personality. You can also think of company culture as meaning “how things get done.”
The problem is, we don’t yet have any universal terminology or definitions to describe workplace culture which makes it difficult to people to describe or even define.
One way of doing this is to list the components that influence or impact a company’s personality. These vary widely and can include:
- job satisfaction
- employee engagement
- work-life balance
- opportunities for collaboration and growth
- effective leadership
- organizational trust
- co-worker relationships
- meaningful work
Let’s agree, asking someone to describe their company’s culture isn’t very helpful. Instead, ask:
“Why do you like working at this company?”
Research Company Culture Early
Don’t wait until you apply to a job to learn about a company’s culture. Begin evaluating company culture as you research target companies to help you identify those that interest you.
In order to do this pre-assessment, start by asking people you know (your network) about why they like working for their company. Armed with basic research, you will find it easier to ask specific questions about the components of culture during the job interview. See questions to ask during the job interview to help reveal the company’s culture. And here are 8 things to evaluate before you accept a job.
What Type of Company Culture Do You Want?
It helps to know what type of work culture you perform best in and aligns with your beliefs and values. For example, do you prefer an environment that is:
- slow-paced or quick-paced
- stressful or relaxed
- competitive or collaborative
Continue to list other organizational culture elements that are important to you.
1. Employee Review Sites
Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably and CareerBliss all provide company reviews. These sites are free to use, so invest time evaluating data from all of them. Don’t be concerned about a single negative review. Instead, be on the lookout for repeated themes of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
3. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Company Pages
Not all companies are active or engaged on social media. But it is worth looking for company pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
If a company is active on one or more of these social media platforms, look through the company’s posts and how they respond to questions or comments. Is the tone friendly, professional, honest, witty, professional or not responsive at all? How fast does the company respond to questions? If they are active, I highly recommend you attempt to engage by posting a question or comment.
4. Online Customer Reviews
Whether it’s a product page on the company’s website or Amazon, read customer reviews. See what customers are saying in the reviews. Are they satisfied? What complaints do they have? How has the company publicly addressed complaints? Another source of reviews is Yelp. Though we mostly know it for restaurant reviews, Yelp also has business reviews.
Known as a site for asking and answering questions, Quora may have the answer to “what is it like to work at X company?” You may not be comfortable posting a question yourself, but you can search the site to see if anyone else has asked your question before and read the responses instead. (In order to see all the responses, you will need to register, but there is no cost.)
6. Company LinkedIn Pages
Company pages on LinkedIn can feature lots of data. You’ll find a listing of all employees who work there and who you are connected with. Some companies include employee career paths and videos. Not every organization has completed all the information on their page but do take a look to see what you discover.
7. Ask Everyone You Know
A company’s work culture, good or bad, spreads outside the four walls of the building. Ask everyone you know what they know about the company and what it’s like to work there. If the company has a bad reputation, you want to know this information before you accept the offer, not after.
8. News About The Company
Read local and national news about the company. (Check out these tools to help you uncover company news.) Look for news about changes to the organization’s structure and leadership as it has a direct impact on the culture, for example, news of a recent merger, downsizing or new leadership.
If the company recently merged, be sure to evaluate the reputation of the company it merged with. You should also use your network and LinkedIn to find employees you can talk to about how the merger has impacted the organization and culture.
9. Customer, Vendor and Partner Reviews
Customers testimonials or rave reviews from partners may be listed on the company website. Granted, a company will likely only post positive reviews. But you can search the internet for “negative reviews about X company” and see what shows up.
If you have worked in the industry before, then you may already have contacts you can reach out to. Your questions might probe what it’s like doing business with the company, how quickly they respond to issues, and ask if there are any red flags you should be aware of.
10. Check the company website
Ok, this isn’t very tricky, but you may notice that organizations have started to invest more time, money and effort in telling their story to attract the right potential candidates. The career or employment page may feature employees or provide a summary of perks and benefits. Be sure to review the website to see the organization’s mission and philanthropic support. Finally, don’t forget to review job postings. Sometimes the answers to your workplace culture questions are listed right there.
One last note:
As you conduct your research, you will inevitably hear positive and negative reviews. Consider the source. A person who was fired might have a tainted view of the organization. If the person held a different role or worked in a different department, the management could be the determining factor.
Keep in mind, people have different values and expectations of a job. Use the information to ask further questions during your research and job interview.
There is no right or wrong culture, just a culture right for you. Make sure you take time to research company culture before accepting a job offer.