5 Ways to Research Company Culture
As a serious job seeker, of course you have done your due diligence and researched every conceivable aspect of the companies that you plan on interviewing for. Afterall, haven’t we been told time and time again that educating yourself on potential workplaces is an integral part of any job search? Some of us have even experienced firsthand how a lack of thorough research can lead to accepting the wrong job offer. From Googling the physical location to determine your commute time to the type of product or service they offer, no detail about a company is too small. As you research, you will find that while some of the answers to your questions are easy to find through a search engine, others require more time, effort, and investigative skills.
One such question is regarding a company’s culture. Though we all know that job satisfaction can often be attributed to a company’s culture, it is not common knowledge how to become familiar with the company’s personality prior to actually working there.
If your Google searches are not yielding any results, the following research methods can help you to determine what a company’s culture is, and if it aligns with what you want, and ultimately need, to have job satisfaction.
- Utilize Online Review Sites
Your first stop for researching a company’s culture should be online review sites like Glassdoor.com. Simply type in the name of the company you are curious about in the search bar under Company Reviews, and scroll through reviews from past and present employees. As you read through what others have to say about working for the company, take note of any common, recurring themes. Keep in mind that these sites may be a venue for disgruntled ex-employees to vent, so unless the overall tone of the reviews are negative you can safely throw that one extremely negative review out.
- Check Online Presence
Make sure that you look at every website and social media page that the company has made available online. Read the reviews, look through the pictures and gauge your interest level based on what you see. Highlight any candid pictures taken in the office- what are the surroundings like and how are the employees interacting? Are there pictures from any community outreach programs that the company participates in? Determining what the company feels is important enough to post online can help you to determine what they value.
- Reach out to Your Network
Using your network of friends and peers can be a good way to get honest insight into what the company is like to work for. Ask around to see if you know anyone (or know someone who knows someone) who has experience with the company you are interested in working for, and ask them to meet you for coffee. Keep in mind that like online reviews, former employees may be holding on to some resentment that may come out during your conversation.
- Look at LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn to research potential employers and coworkers may feel a tad invasive and even inappropriate to those who are not well versed in the art of social media stalking; however, you can rest assured that they are looking you up as well. While a company can try to create a culture within itself, the culture truly does come from the attitudes, values and relationships of the employees. As you are looking through LinkedIn profiles, ask yourself if the people you would be working alongside are excited about their careers, if they have stayed with the company for a substantial amount of time, and the general vibe that they give off.
- Visit the Neighborhood
If you thought that all of the online research was becoming too invasive, this is going to feel way outside of your comfort zone, but bear with me. Simply go and grab lunch near where the company is located. Take a look at those around you, how they are dressed and their overall demeanor. If you are surrounded by a crowd of people who all appear stressed and rushed, consider that you may become one of those workers.
After exploring all of these methods of researching a company’s culture, you should have a more accurate depiction of what working for the company would be like. By researching a company’s culture thoroughly, you may either decide that you don’t want to work for them OR you will have a leg up on the competition going into an interview being well informed about what makes the company unique.