How To Determine If A Company's Culture Is Right For You

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

We hear the term “company culture” a lot, but what does it actually mean? Often this term refers to the environment in which employees work. There are many components that can impact the culture including the company’s mission, their goals, their expectations, their procedures and rules, or even their philosophy on employee engagement.

Before you decide to accept a role with an organization, you need to understand why knowing what their culture is like is important and how to find out.

Why Does A Company’s Culture Matter?

A company can offer you a huge bump in your paycheck or they can offer you a shorter commute, but if the organization itself hosts a toxic culture, no amount of money will probably keep you there for the long term.

A company’s culture impacts everyone. There isn’t a single employee who can avoid the atmosphere that’s been created within an organization.

Employees who fit in with the culture tend to develop better relationships with their co-workers and are often more productive. There is an eagerness in employees who believe in their organization to contribute to its mission and goals.

You may also have an idea of what type of company culture you work best in. Maybe that organization supports continued education initiatives or supports a healthy work-life balance. You would not knowingly take a position with a company that demands 14-hour days and refuses to pay for training courses.

Instead of making the mistake and joining an organization you dread going to everyday, make sure it’s a good fit before you accept an offer.

How Can I Be Sure About A Company’s Culture?

When we are looking into other employment opportunities, we definitely risk not being able to make an informed decision about the organization. Ultimately, we want to make career moves that are right for us, both in terms upward trajectory and in terms of our happiness.

As you are interviewing with an organization, there are a number of things you can do to be sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

1. Review The Company Website

Most organizations provide a great deal of information about themselves on their own websites. Make sure you visit a company’s site and to gather as much as you can about the culture there.

Pay attention to the company’s mission statement if they have one. You can also specifically visit the employment section of the website.

Many companies will provide basic details about the employee benefits they are proud to provide. A company culture can be easily defined by the investment it makes in it’s employees.

2. Ask Around

Try to determine if you already know anyone that works from the company. Maybe a past colleague or an old friend is now employed there.

See if you can arrange a time to meet up for lunch or coffee and ask them questions about their experiences. You may even be able to reach out to a high school or college alumni office if you have one to connect you with other alumni who work there.

3. Do Your Research

In addition to the company website, you may be able to find a good deal of information about the company online.

Websites like Glassdoor allow current and former employees to review organizations. You should be able to develop some insight as to what the pros and cons of the organization are.

You can check out local or regional “Best Places To Work” lists. These often have a lot of information about a company’s culture. Don’t forget to simple Google the organization and look at recent news articles.

4. Ask Questions In Your Interview

The best way to determine if a company’s culture is right for you is likely from the company themselves.

When being interviewed, you have an opportunity to ask any multitude of questions to your interviewers. Make sure you are asking the right ones. Some great examples are:

When The Company’s Culture Not For You

It’s one thing to try to find an organization whose culture is right for you. But what if your current company culture doesn’t mesh with your values?

Depending on how open your organization is to change, you may be able to lead some initiatives to make adjustments. If there is a consensus among employees to see change, talk to your supervisor or management to see if it can be done.

Companies change and evolve over time. Sometimes they don’t even know that the culture is becoming difficult or toxic to their employees.

If there is no supportive management to help you see that changes are made, start following the steps to ensure you are finding a new company whose culture is the right fit for you.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
LinkedIn

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees.

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