Your job is more than just a place you go every day and a thing you do to earn a paycheck. You need to find the environment that’s right for you. You want to work with people who “get” you – and vice versa. Unless you feel comfortable and can thrive within a particular company culture, things will turn toxic pretty quickly and your time there will likely be limited.
Check for cultural fit before you apply
You probably know by now that you should target specific companies and jobs, rather than applying for every opening that fits your skill set. The same rule of thumb applies to finding the right corporate culture for you.
Start with the company’s website. Often, you can get a good idea of the culture just by its look, tone and feel. Also, see if there are pages dedicated to what it’s like to be employed there. Are there any video testimonials from actual employees? You may have to do a little digging, as these pages may be behind others, such as current job openings or “About Us.”
Look at the company’s social media profiles. See what they share with their customers and the public. By searching for them on Facebook or visiting them on LinkedIn, you can gain insight into the people who work there, what it’s like, and what the company is currently involved in.
Make a personal contact with someone who works or has worked there. This is a great way to learn what life is really like on the inside.
Find out more during your interview
If you’ve done your homework and the company still looks like a great place to work, plan to continue your research into its culture during your interview.
Just put it out there. Ask your interviewers to describe company culture. What’s their favorite – and least favorite – thing about their job? How many hours a week do they spend at work? Do people hang out together after working hours? Try to find out exactly what you’re getting into.
Don’t hesitate to ask the same question twice if necessary. Make sure you’re satisfied with the response and have all the information you need to make the right decision. Put together a mental picture of what it would be like to work there. Not just in regard to the work you’d be doing, but also such details as what the environment would be like, when and where you’d take lunch and breaks, and how long you’d spend commuting. The more complete your picture is the better.
Take a tour
If your interviewers don’t offer a workplace tour, ask for one. At the very least, ask to see the area where you would be working.
Pay attention to how people interact with each other. Are they smiling and talking? Do they acknowledge one another? Be realistic regarding how you could see yourself fitting in – or not.
Deciding where to continue your career is a huge decision. Just as a prospective employer is evaluating you, you need to assess whether or not joining their team would be the best move for you – personally as well as professionally. For additional guidance – from resume prep, researching employers and interviewing through negotiating your offer and transitioning into your new role – read our related posts or contact the TRC Professional Solutions team today.