A lot of words and phrases tend to get tossed around when it comes to defining company culture. Shared values and goals. The environment. The ethos. The characteristics and personality of the place …
And they’re all accurate. But what it all comes down to as you decide if an organization is the right place for you to further your career is whether or not you’re going to like it there. Will you feel as though you belong? Sure, this isn’t middle school, but fitting in is still critical. You’re going to spend a lot of time there. So, you want to do your best to find a company culture that makes you feel secure, inspired, and excited to come to work each day.
Here are three ways to ensure you find a culture match before you accept an offer:
- Do your research.
As a savvy job seeker, you’re doing research on potential employers anyway. As you dig deeper, strive to get a read on company culture.
- What does the organization’s website say about its culture? What are their stated values? Do they emphasize work-life balance, collaboration, advancement and growth, or other priorities that matter most to you as well? And if culture isn’t portrayed on the site, make note of that, too.
- Don’t stop there. Research online, check traditional and social media, and talk to current employees and pay a visit if possible. Culture is something you can feel. Do people look and sound excited to be working there? Are they naturally interacting, collaborating and generally enjoying the experience? Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert or somewhere in between, try to get a gut sense whether it will work for you.
- Make connections.
If you don’t already know anyone employed at or affiliated with a potential employer, look for connections on LinkedIn. Ask if they’d mind sharing their thoughts and perspective with you.
- Keep things professional. Remember, whatever is said in your conversations may get back to the hiring manager. You might start the dialogue with a simple request such as “I’m considering an opportunity at XYZ Company and was hoping to learn a little more about your experience there.”
- Ask about culture during your interview.
As part of your interview prep, you should have some questions prepared to ask. This generally happens towards the end of an interview. If your interviewers don’t offer it, bring it up yourself in a cordial manner. You might ask something like “What do you think makes the culture here unique?” or “What’s your favorite part about working here?”
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