How to Learn More About a Company’s Culture

How to Learn More About a Company’s Culture

Whether you’re thinking of applying for a job or you’re considering an offer, knowing what a company’s culture is like is a crucial part of your job search. Fitting in (meaning you feel comfortable, supported, and a part of the team) can improve your productivity, reduce the chance of burnout, and help advance your career. 

But, how do you learn more about a company’s culture? Where do you even start?

Check out these tips that can help you dig deep into the company culture and learn more about what it’s really like to work there.

Review the Company Website

Start by looking over the company’s website. How does it present the product or service it’s known for? Formal and technical or loose and conversational? Do the staff bios use formal headshots, or is everyone wearing fake mustaches and oversized glasses? These hints can help you figure out what the company culture is like and whether or not you’d fit in.

Check Other Sites 

While the company website is a great place to start your research into a company’s culture, don’t end it there. Expand your search beyond its website to see how others perceive the company and its culture.

Seek out news stories about the company. How is it covered in the press? Favorably? Unfavorably? Also, look for information about charitable work, community involvement, or even employee satisfaction surveys. All of these can give you a deeper insight into the company’s culture.

Then, check out employee review sites like Glassdoor to get the “inside scoop” of working at a company. Evaluate these reviews with caution, though, and don’t solely rely on them to help you understand company culture. Use additional sites like the company’s social media pages, for example, to see what the company shares and how they respond to customers. 

Network and Conduct Informational Interviews

Once you’ve done your online research, take your efforts offline and tap into your network. You may know someone who currently or used to work for the company. Or, they may know someone who has a contact who can help you out.

Let that person know that you’re considering working there and want a behind the scene look at the company. This kind of informational interview can give you insights you likely won’t find online.

Ask the Right Culture Questions 

The interview is a great time for you to assess and learn more about a company’s culture. While you can ask a direct question (“What’s your company culture?”), you may not get a complete or detailed answer. Instead, ask some indirect questions that can help you determine what a the culture is like:

  • How do you make remote and flexible work successful for the company and staff?
  • What kind of team-building activities do you do? Are they all virtual, or are they ever in-person?
  • How does the company support professional development and encourage career growth?
  • How do you measure success in this position? What happens if I’m struggling?

Read Between the Lines 

Sometimes it’s not what people say that matters. It’s what they don’t say that’s most revealing.

When you’re trying to learn more about a company’s culture, make a note of what’s left out of documents and answers. For example, if you ask your interviewer, “What do you like most about working here,” you would hope they would come back with an immediate and positive answer. If the interviewer takes a long time to come up with an answer or, worse, can’t come up with one thing they like about working there, that tells you a lot about the company and its culture.

Also, pay attention to the job description. The words that are used and omitted can help you understand what’s really important to the company, even if they aren’t directly saying it. For example, if the job description is looking for someone who loves multi-tasking, you might be expected to juggle too many tasks for one person to handle or perform tasks that are well outside your job description.

Find the Right Fit

Fitting into a company can impact how you feel about coming to work every day, how well you perform your tasks, and how long you stay in the role.

While you won’t know for sure what it’s like to work somewhere until you’re there, learning about a company’s culture before you accept the job can go a long way toward making sure you’re a good fit for the company, and the company is a good fit for you!

For more expert advice, check out our articles.

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By Rachel Pelta | April 22, 2021 | Categories: Work Remotely


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