When searching for new employment, more job seekers are realizing that fitting in with a company’s existing culture is just as important, if not more so, as having the right skills and experience. However, it’s just as critical that the company’s culture is the right fit for the potential employee. Many job seekers know to target specific companies in their search for this very reason. Additionally, carefully selecting your prospective companies generally leads to higher-quality results and better potential matches.
So how can you assess if a company will be the right cultural fit for you? Here are four useful guidelines to consider before you even apply:
- Determine your deal-breakers. Figure out what’s important to you in a company culture: what you like, dislike, and cannot tolerate. These differ for everyone. Some people value work/life balance while others can tolerate being on-call 24/7. Some company cultures are more collaborative, while others are more competitive. Once you’ve determined what works or doesn’t work for you, you can look for these things when you’re researching and selecting companies. Pay special attention to the things you cannot tolerate, as these are the greatest indicator of what could drive you crazy about a company’s culture.
- Research the company online. A simple search of the company name usually yields salient results like the official company website, social network profiles, job postings, and current news. Review all of them for hints about the company culture. For example, most company websites have pages dedicated to corporate values, team members, and industry partners. These pages can provide insight into the company’s culture as well as the company’s status in the industry. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can provide information into a company’s current initiatives and projects so you can see if you like the direction the company is going in, the thought leadership they share, and how they interact with their partners and clients. These are also good sources of information for employee activities like charity events.
Tip: Company review sites can be an insightful source for information on a company’s culture, but be wary of reviews that seem overly positive or negative.
- Connect to employees in the company, not just recruiters. If you’re researching a company in your current industry, it may be useful and fairly easy to look at a company’s LinkedIn page to find the groups they participate in and to connect to current and former employees. Once you’ve made contact with them and established a relationship, you can ask for their “insider” perspectives on the company culture.
- Assess all of the information that you get. Once you’ve done your homework, take a look at the information you have and use the deal-breakers you thought about in Point 1 to determine if the company is still a good fit.
No job search is foolproof, but these tips will help you narrow down your search results and select the company that seems like the best fit for you. Once you’ve assessed a company’s culture and determined that it seems like a good fit, you can move on to the next stages: the application and interview.